The Holga 135TIM – it’s that smiley face camera that has been popping up around and about the internet. Purportedly, the TIM stands for Twin Image Maker, and it sometimes comes with a matching, grinning Holga 12MFC flash. What lies behind grinning façade? Function, function, function.
The camera’s grin is really how one sets the aperture, with the settings rotation on a wheel. The slight misalignment of the aperture settings – f/8, f/11, and f/22 – often creates some artificial vignette, which can be very nice. Each “eye” is a lens, and both shutters fire at the same time, so it takes a specific technique to make the camera shoot half frames. It goes something like this: open one eye, shoot, use the MX (Multiple Exposure) slider, close eye, open other eye, shoot, advance. While this may sound confusing and difficult, a little care and some practice makes this procedure easy. Otherwise, you can have both eyes wide open for stereo camera action without the cost of using that 120 film we love so much.
Other than the slight difficulty of making the TIM give you half frames, the only other drawback of the TIM is its size, due to the fact that its body is identical to that of the Holga 135 and 135BC cameras, but at the same time you get the full range of color options afforded to you by the Holga 135BC. If you love either half frames or stereo images and don’t mind a camera with a little size to it, this may just be the camera for you!
This camera is equal parts adorable and creepy, but it works like a dream. I took it out for a test drive with me around my neighborhood and to a bowling alley with some friends, and it resulted in pictures that were equal parts fun and every bit in the visual style one would expect from a Holga camera – dreamy, not too sharp or blurry, and exploding with personality and a sense of mood.
Even with the protocol required for half frames, the focus free lens allowed for fast shooting for capturing special moments (or you friends by surprise). In my humble opinion, if you’re looking for a half frame camera or a stereo camera and don’t have the money for using 120 all the time (or you already have a Holga 120 3D camera), you should at least give great consideration to the happiest camera you’ll ever meet.