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Focusing with String

When near perfect center focus is desired from your Holga or Diana +

So much of the Analog lifestyle involves going with the flow, the happy accident and celebrating the anomalies and dreaminess that our craft produces. Then, there are those within our lomographic culture who enjoy creating images by pushing the limits of our plastic light boxes to create works that look like they were produced by super expensive high end pro equipment—photos that make us say, “Wow, just wow.”

For instance, when I want a professional focus or at least a fine focus using my Holga GN, an accessory I don’t leave home without is simply string. Since every Holga is a little different when it comes to the exact focusing distance department, the perfect focus distances took some experimentation. I shot a roll of expired 120 film from varying distances from a sign that was marked 3 feet careful to record the distance of the shot from the subject each time in a notebook. When the roll was processed I compared the shot with the distance notes and found that 3 feet FOUR inches was the perfect distance to be when I have the focusing dial on the single person icon setting. I repeated this process for the next focus setting, the 4 to 6 feet, or the triple person icon on the focus setting. YOU will have to repeat the experiment on your own Holga, as they are all a little different. Your perfect focus ,more than likely, will be something a little different.

When I determined the proper focusing distances for the Icon settings, I made corresponding lengths of string and marked them. I would use these pre-cut bits of string to measure the distance from the lens to my subject with great results. Here, I’ve maintained the beauty of the classic Holga vignette and the soft focus on the outer edges while treating my subjects with the sharpens they deserve.

written by calidarin


  1. nigelk


    Your patience has paid off!! Now you have an inexpensive and simple solution.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. olen


    gotta get me some strings now.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. carmenism


    Wow, great idea!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. lanenaindie


    Google says: "3 feet 4 inches = 1.01600 meters"
    ; )

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. jesuisz


    nice !

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. 1minute1second


    I like this and wish I was as patient to do it.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. chucknoz


    I had wondered about this as am hit and miss with the perfect focus centre. Time to break out the 35mm 12exp films I bought in bulk, and get testing.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. deepfried_goodness


    This is very useful.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. bernardocople


    Great article, congrats

    over 3 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Spanish.