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Shooting with a Holga attachment

From: Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

Video: Shooting with a Holga attachment

After you've spent hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on a really nice camera body, I really can't recommend enough putting a really cheap plastic toy lens on the front. Now, I'm actually being serious here. You're probably familiar with a Holga camera. It's a Russian cheap kind of toy camera with a plastic lens and a lot of light leaks and a lot of other optical problems. It shoots medium-format film and has become very popular over the last few years because it shoots these really nice kind of randomly beaten-up images. There are companies that sell Holga lenses that you can attach to your SLR.

Shooting with a Holga attachment

After you've spent hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on a really nice camera body, I really can't recommend enough putting a really cheap plastic toy lens on the front. Now, I'm actually being serious here. You're probably familiar with a Holga camera. It's a Russian cheap kind of toy camera with a plastic lens and a lot of light leaks and a lot of other optical problems. It shoots medium-format film and has become very popular over the last few years because it shoots these really nice kind of randomly beaten-up images. There are companies that sell Holga lenses that you can attach to your SLR.

It's a Holga lens attached to a modified mounting system for Canon or Nikon, or other cameras. Attach it to the front and you actually have a Holga-equipped SLR that you can use to shoot digital Holga images. Now, these images are very, very beat up. The Holga lens that I got has extreme vignetting. The focus is pretty soft. Your focus mechanism--there is no auto-focus on a Holga--your focus mechanism is sketchy at best. There's not a lot of focal range on it, and trying to see focus through the viewfinder is difficult.

This is not a lens for the person who's a real perfectionist about image quality. You're just simply taking a lot of the image on faith when you shoot with the Holga, and you kind of need to shoot around your house some and get the images into your computer and look at them before you really head off to seriously shoot with it, to try to get an understanding of exactly how well focus is or is not working. You'll see a lot of variation from one Holga lens to another, and some people then go further and potentially trying to beat up their lens and get more of that toy look. You can see that it is a fixed f/8. So metering--obviously there's no automatic metering on the Holga either--metering is always going to be about shooting manually so you need to know how to use the manual meter on your camera.

Other than that, there's not much to it. You still need to worry about focus. You still need to work to compose your images, and you've got to keep a very close eye on your manual metering while you're shooting with it. There are some cool attachments for your Holga that I got with mine. I've got here a wide-angle lens attachment. This is another actual optical lens that just sticks over the front of the Holga, and that's it. Now I'm ready to shoot wider angle. It's a little bit wider. There's still a whole lot of vignetting, so you're not getting the full width of what this can do, and it's not a huge wide angle change.

There are also telephoto adaptors. Here's one. This is a two-and-a-half X adaptor that also just slips over the front. If you like one of these, it's easy enough to just leave them on all the time. It just comes right off with the lens. So this is a fun way of getting a really random analog kind of look out of your SLR. Again, it takes some practice to really figure out what it can and cannot do. A big part of working with a lens like this is managing your expectations. Try to get a solid idea of the type of effects it produces before you go out and shoot with it.

That way you'll be able to work to its strengths, not fall prey to its disadvantages, and have a better idea of what you're going to get when you get home.

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Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

50 video lessons · 18291 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

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