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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.

written by stouf


  1. adi_totp



    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. lomosexual_manboy


    Stouf rocks the Holga house. Awesome gallery man. When I did this mod I just popped out the ring and glued it to the back of the lever so the apertures are much closer together. Not sure what they are though(maybe 16 and 11 or 11 and 8). I'll have to try your way and get a custom aperture.

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. d_i_hunter


    Really well-explained tip stouf! And a great gallery showing the results. Nice one!

    BTW: what is shot no. 12?

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  4. rater


    Great gallery my friend! And nice pink holga!!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  5. breakphreak



    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  6. migueld


    my mind is blown

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  7. day3hugger


    great gallery!! i loove 7, 13 and 15

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  8. stouf


    Thanks a lot everyone ! Now you know all my secrets ! ; ) ...@d_i_hunter : it is zooplankton, the basis of the carnivorous food web in the ocean.

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  9. breakphreak


    just a minute: why a green filter? or, in two questions: why filter? and why green? :) thanks a lot!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  10. ilovemydiana


    wow. ok then

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  11. ilovemydiana


    oh! i get it! i will try but if something goes terribly wrong. do expect a call ;o)

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  12. cheriesu


    wow!! what a great tip!
    U can bring Holga into water?!
    I wanna do so tooooo

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  13. cinzinc



    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  14. sugiyamasatomi


    wow! great stuff! and great images!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  15. azurblue


    Great, as usual !

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  16. mandi



    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  17. stouf


    Yééé thanks a lot !
    @breakphreak : filters reduce light and green is pretty : )
    @ilovemydiana : I'm sure you'll be fine ! But I'm always ready to help !
    @cheriesu: see the secret @http://www.ewa-marin(…)=83&L=2
    Lomolove !

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  18. eyecon


    The gallery is great and I think your girlfriend owe you one :)
    That´s for sure......have a nice weekend!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  19. ebolatheelectricmonk


    Stouf at his best...again!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  20. panelomo


    yep - i'll try this next time. thanks to da' man stouf!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  21. lovesmesumcake


    The explanation for why the original aperture doesn't work is that the Chinese company that originally manufactured Holgas messed up in production (the switch moves a larger aperture in front of the smaller aperture, which does absolutely nothing, instead of vice-versa). To this day that production flaw is maintained, I guess because it's seen as a quirk that makes the Holga what it is.

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  22. pauladavies


    dude, this tip will change my life! thanx!

    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  23. bandung

    no 12 amazing!! is the zooplankton that big or you modified the holga lens?
    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  24. pangmark


    Wow! You're a genius.. and so humble too!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  25. anomalyfaktory

    I'm getting the gtlr soon. so does the gtlr come with 2 real apertures?
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. stouf


    @anomalyfaktory Yep : ) As all the recent Holga creations.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam