The Holga 120 Wide Pinhole Camera slows your photography way down, giving you time to think, compose, and shoot with patience. Read more about what I think after the jump!
Since getting back into photography I have tried my hand at the SLR with interchangeable lens, multilens like the Actionsampler, fixed lens cameras with either glass or plastic lens of various sizes, but what has really caught my attention are cameras without lenses: Pinholes
I found the Holga 120 (WPC) Wide Pinhole to have so many great characteristics for such a simple concept.
Some of the basics:
- Uses 120 film, all who have tried to scan 120 know how great those big negatives are and how much detail you can get from them.
- Wide Angle, the camera uses 2 frames of either 6×4.5 or 6×6 to make a HUGE picture! There is no eye piece but rather a series of tabs that form a triangle to proximate your cameras field of view. I often feel it is wider that even the guide. Depending on the mask, you have either 8 or 6 pictures per 120 roll.
- Pinhole, a lens-less approach to focusing your camera. The oldest method of recording images through cameras. The aperture of this camera is f/135. Focal lengths is extremely close to infinite.
- Spirit Level, a bubble level that lets you line up your vertical and horizontal planes of your shot with some accuracy.
One thing I appreciate about this camera over say other pinholes would be the exposure times. Not that I am complaining, but living on a subtropical island, my exposure times are very short. I work with lots of ISO 100 film due to the sun’s strength. Compare the directions for ISO 100 where the Holga 135 pinhole calls for exposure times of 1.5-3 seconds, I am often only exposing for about a second. The 120 Wide Pinhole exposure time for the same conditions calls for 7-9 seconds, but real use is about 6 seconds. This lets me capture the slow lapse of waves turning an active ocean into a calm pond. Waterfalls become curtains of soft white ripples. I really enjoy using 50 ISO and taking even long exposure times.
A few items that are not essential, but feel like they will be: a cable release, tripod, and timing device. You can do with out any one of these in a pinch. I often use a table or a fence to steady the camera. I have counted the " 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand…" to keep time, my best pictures often are with a small kitchen timer or a good wristwatch, but I am almost never without a cable shutter release cable in my bag when using pinholes.
As you can see landscape photography is some of the best subjects for pinhole but sometimes you can get someone to be really still.
Pinhole is an experience unto itself. I have so much to learn about techniques. Shooting from the hip is fun, but pinhole is challenging and often unpredictable too.