First Shots from my Holga with Aperture Mod

This is exciting: I’ve just scanned two rolls of film shot with my modded Holga 120SF!

As I said yesterday, I always wanted a larger switchable aperture on Holga. Even in the slightest bit of shade, Holga pictures are too dark (that’s 299 days of the year in the UK).

I’ve now got a working switch in my plastic friend that will have me choose between f11 and f5.6 (or thereabout).

mod-holga-camden-11-of-22.jpgWithout further ado, let’s have a look at some of the pictures I’ve taken this week.

It was probably the last sunny day in London for a while, a sunny morning in Camden, and I had stocked up on some fresh Velvia.

I also had a roll of expired Fuji RMS with me, which unfortunately I developed in the same tank as the Velvia…

I’ve learnt the hard way they don’t mix – and Velvia won the battle for attention somewhere around the First Developer. I’m saying this because half the shots in this gallery looks a bit weirder than the other.


Here’s a good example of how the same shot looks with and without the mod.

orignal aperture (about f11)
and with modded aperture (about f4)

What we can see clearly is that the exposure seems to work OK, but we lose a hellufalot of focus!

Focusing is a gamble with Holga anyway, I mean how do I know that some thing’s “seven people” away or only “three people”? My aperture is now fully open, letting in everything the plastic lens has to offer – but maybe that’s a bit much. A tad more focus would be welcome, even if we trade off a stop of light.

What I love about this

[singlepic id=365 w=300  float=left]The “instant artwork” effect. Every picture you take, no matter what you point the camera at, becomes something weird and abstract. Much more so than the original Holga aperture would do I find.

Plus, you can do this in lower light situations, which inevitabley will happen upon us all (until of course, we permanently move to Miami Beach).

It reminds me of what Lomography boast about their beloved Diana: “A blurry-soft and dreamy-toned Diana image is more an interpretation of reality than a correct representation of it”. Now we get the same with Holga, at a fraction of the cost (and without all the marketing hype).

What have I actually modded?

I’ve removed the metal ring (i.e. the original aperture) and glued it onto the aperture arm. That way, I can switch to “Original Holga Mode” by choosing sunny, and go to “Modded Aperture Mode” by choosing cloudy.

The resulting bigger hole behind the lens would probably have been f8, possibly f5.6 (who knows really), but I saw some more plastic on the side that I’ve drilled away – making mine probably an f4. That way, all the light from the plastic lens goes in and takes the picture.

Next week, I’ll mod another Holga – this time without drilling to see if that gives us more focus.

Stay tuned folks, enjoy the rest of the gallery – and Happy Shooting 😉

[nggallery id=21]

Add your voice