Panorama Shoot-Out – Part 2: Meet the Contestants

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5 plastic fantastic cameras are going head-to-head in my tests, all of them lomographic pieces  of low value. They all eat medium format film, although they can survive on the odd roll of 35mm.

They’re happiest in brightest sunshine, they don’t like overcast or twilight shots, unless you utilise the bulb setting. Most of them have some kind of flash, but I don’t like to use it.

I’ve collected them over the years, have used and tested them all to a certain extent, but never (knowingly or deliberately) shot any broken panoramas with them.

Meet all five of them:

Holga #1 – Model 120 SF

[singlepic id=302 w=320 h=240 float=left]My first ever Holga brings back memories. I remember reading about it on the Lomography site, or seen it in a brochure that came with my first Supersampler. I picked this one up in a shop in Islington in 2005 after haggling with the owner about what turned out to be £5 (they wanted £45 originally).

This model is the original Lomography Holga, comes in a yellow funky package with one roll of film, black masking tape and a book called “Mes vacances avec Holga” by French lomographer Frederic Lebain. The only one in my Holga fleet that comes with a plastic lens.

Holga #2 aka The Fisheye

[singlepic id=301 w=320 h=240 float=left]My second Holga came with a colour flash and a proper 6x6cm gate. I got it from a lovely Chinese chap on eBay n 2006 I believe, and it didn’t take me long to grab that Fisheye adaptor for it too. Lovely outcome on both 120 and 35mm. Comes with a glass lens for er… “sharper” images. Yeah, right!

Apparently you can tell by the letters what model this is: G for “glass lens”, C for “colour flash”, F for “flash”, N for “don’t kNow”

Holga #3 aka Pink Holga

[singlepic id=300 w=320 h=240 float=left]How beautiful it is! I absolutely love it, and it makes this highly technical instrument look like a fashion victim from Beverly Hills.

Bought from the same Chinese vendor on eBay. Shame I can’t remember his name, he would get great credit here! I’ve used this on many occasions, and although VERY pretty, I have to admit my favourite is the previous one, the Fisheye. We’ll see what this baby can do for panoramas.

Holga #4 aka Yellow Holga

[singlepic id=299 w=320 h=240 float=left]Bought it at the same time as the pink one, because I couldn’t decide. They do a purple and a multi coloured one now too, and a white one and a gold one – but before I got completely mad and collected them all, I remember that all I wanted to do was take some funky pictures… so I stopped buying Holgas for the moment.

I use this one mainly for 35mm film, either with the adaptor, or with hand rolled bits utilising old backing paper.

Diana+ aka Ugly Duckling or The Outsider

[singlepic id=298 w=320 h=240 float=left]Bought in 2007 when Lomography released their new medium format plastic camera, the Diana+ is a loving recreation of the late 60ies model. As they do, many other Dianas have now been released with external flash, in different colours and lenses, this one is the simplest of them all.

Featuring a plastic lens, and an option for endless panorama (without overlaps). The main advantage of the Diana over all the Holgas is the aperture. Whereas Holgas don’t really have one (despite the switch, it’s always f10ish), the Diana can shoot at f8, f11 and f16 – even in Pinhole mode.

What’s more is that the shutter snaps at 1/60th, which is one stop improvement over the 1/125th of the Holgas. That means I can probably get better results on lower sensitivity film, or in less bright conditions.

I have to admit that I LIKE overexposure, and it’s easier to get my hands on 100 ASA and lower expired film than on 400+, which in Holgas yields the best results.

So the question is: which one of these cameras will get the plane ticket to Miami? Which one will be fed the most expensive film? And which one will give us the most amazing panoramic results?

Will we call them Holgaramas or Dianaramas?

Find out next week, when I’ll take all those ladies for a ride 😉

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