This is how to modify the aperture of your Holga and pimp it with a nice and flirty new coating in one session!
My girlfriend asked me if I could customize her Holga. She had some requests about the painting (“pink and striped please”) which was of course granted by me and while doing this, I also decided to make the well-known aperture modification for the Holga.
Most of us know that the Holga doesn’t really come out of her box with two apertures (except the GTLR that I just got)., those were the “Sun” and “cloud” remember? For a mysterious reason, the piece supposed to provide these 2 apertures is incomplete. If anyone of you has the explication, please post it here, I’m curious. But sometimes I think it is because it requires a given precision to build this piece, which would increase the camera’s price… But it’s pure speculation, so… Here are the steps:
1. Remove the lens by unscrewing it from the inside, and dismount it.
2. Remove the little arm that supposed to make the sunny setting and note the sad empty square in it. That’s where you’re going to put a piece with a hole in it, to provide a smaller aperture.
3. This is a personal step that I did and shouldn’t be necessarily done – I removed the little ring supposedly to provide the “cloud” aperture. By removing this ring, your “cloud” aperture is bigger, more light enters the camera, and the depth of field is reduced. This extra aperture is great for portraits and low light conditions.
4. In a CD box (the black side, not the transparent one ;-D), use a sharp and pointy blade to drill a hole to make your “sun” aperture. Cut a square around this hole that will fit in the little arm you removed in step 2. Just make it sure that this piece is in the arm, and the arm is in its position, also that the hole is well centered in the lens by looking through the lens from outside.
5. Tape your piece in the arm, with the tape facing the inside of the camera.
6. Re-screw the lens on the body, and see the miracle happening when you go from ”cloud” to “sun”.
I finally painted it with aquarelle and added three layers of matte varnish to protect it. Afterwards, I was rewarded by an irresistible smile, but sadly I am sure that the paint will not stay in place and It’s already kind of falling apart. I guess I’m going to offer my girlfriend a real pink Holga instead and make her forget that this Lovely Holga is going to look pretty ugly after a few days of use.
Here is a gallery of shots that were taken with other Holgas that have been trough the same aperture modification:
When shooting with a modified aperture, do keep these in mind:
Sun aperture setting
- Shot something against the sun. You’ll get a super sharp silhouette, and a great vignette.
- In conditions of high light, you’ll get an insane sharpness, great contrasts, and again a nice vignette.
- Daylight long exposure is even possible (with a 25 asa film).
- Long exposures in low light conditions will come up with a shocking sharpness and a reduced vignette
- Triples aren’t over exposed.
- The increased depth of field allows sharper macro shots.
- Underexposure is sometimes wanted for X-pro (asa 100 + green filter).
Cloud aperture setting
- The focus is really narrow in the center because of the reduced depth of field thus attracting the viewers eye to the center of the photo.
- Water absorbs light, you’ll need this aperture if you dare to go for underwater shots with a 100 asa.
- Long exposures can be shorter, 1-2 seconds can be enough.