My Holga 135BC Review

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A massive difference from the 120 version is the pressure plate, a spring loaded black plate that presses the film gently over the film chamber. That keeps it flat during exposure and is often left out for cost.

Technical Specs

The manual states the lens to be a 47mm, which means it’s wide-ish for a 35mm camera. It looks just like the 60mm lens from the 120 version though, but judging by the results (see below), 47mm sounds about right.

Size Comparison: Holga 120GCFN vs. Holga 135BC
Size Comparison: Holga 120GCFN vs. Holga 135BC

The Leaf Shutter speed is 1/100th of a second, which I can’t confirm or deny. The one stated aperture is f8, which is true for both the sunny and the cloudy setting.

An external flash gun gets triggered on either setting (I’ve tested the camera with a Canon 580EXII), but interestingly it triggers both the first and second curtain. It’s an important detail if you’re out for some bulb-flash experiments.

Let’s take some pictures

I couldn’t wait to try my brand new Holga out. After all, it’s the 6th in my collection, but I didn’t know what to expect for results. Would the 35mm version deliver pictures just as cool with an otherworldly feel to it? I paid my ÂŁ39.99 at the Photogrpaher’s Gallery Shop (just off Oxford Street) and picked up my wife from a osteopathy session. There’d still be plenty of time left in the afternoon.

To my disappointment, it was a rainy cloudy day over Marble Arch that afternoon, but I decided to give it a spin anyway. I grabbed a roll of Ilford HP5 and finished it off in Camden the next day.

I knew I had to help matters a long a bit, so I developed the roll at 3200 ASA. Here are the results from my first ever roll in what could well become one of my favourite cameras.

[singlepic id=416 w=500  float=none]

The grain is not artificial, it’s due to the higher ISO setting I’m using. Although I’m not heavily into black and white photography, this could just convince me to keep going that way on cloudy days.

The slight sepia tone was added by Adobe Lightroom, I like it a bit warm – it certainly helps make black and white pictures look their best on non-calibrated monitors.

[singlepic id=403 w=500 float=none]

[nggallery id=23]

You can also see the full set on Flickr. Enjoy!



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75 thoughts on “My Holga 135BC Review”

    • That’s a difficult one, Nicolas. I would perhaps go with the Diana Mini and shoot the square format. It’s a bit smaller than the Holga 135 – it reminds me of the Holga 120.

      Why not get both 😉

      Reply
  1. Hi Jay, thanks for the review.

    I just want to be sure snapping multiple exposures is possible before I buy it. You mentioned it, but I read somewhere that it is not possible with the Holga135. Have you snapped any multiple exposures?

    Also, is it possible to crank a little less than normal so you end up with an “endless panorama”?

    And it seems like the camera cannot project the image over the film sprockets, correct?

    Reply
    • Hi Robert,

      Yes you can definitely shoot multiple exposures on the same frame. The shutter button and the film winder are not linked so you can go crazy, just like on the Holga 120.

      I’ve never tried to half-forward the film to create endless panoramas, and I haven’t got my Holga with me right now so I can’t test it for you. My guess is it’ll work though.

      The Holga 135 does not expose the sprockets as you said, it creates proper 24x36mm pictures per exposure.

      Hope this helps 😉

      Reply
  2. I really liked the review! I really want to get a Holga 135bc but do you think this would be a good camera for a beginner? I have no experience AT ALL when it comes to cameras but the results just look so good and the camera is cute too. I know the film is easy to buy so that’s a plus, but would this be the right camera to get?

    Reply
    • Hi Katy,

      Glad you liked the review – I can’t believe it’s over 2yrs old. Time melts away like the snow in the sun…

      I think the 135BC is a superb camera for a beginner. There’s no other camera I’d recommend for you. There are literally no controls (other than focus guesstimate and the sunny/cloudy slider) and you can’t really make mistakes in Regis to the film or processing. As long as it’s a bit sunny outdoors, and the sun is behind you, you’ll get some quirky results.

      I’ve seen some great colours the other week at Urban outfitters, like mint green or purple, but I resisted because I have so many cameras already…

      Use 400 ISO film or higher and you’re good to go. Go for it and most of all have fun 😉

      Reply
  3. Hi Jay,

    Great review – thanks 🙂 you have inspired me to buy a Holga 135 BC and would love your advice on accessories…filters, self portrait attachment, colour filter flash etc etc…what would you recommend? I’m off to NYC next month and would love to take this in my handbag to take some special shots over and above my digital camera…also, what is the cable release adaptor used for? (apologies if this is obvious!!) Thanks – I have so many questions but maybe need to start with this lot lol!

    Reply
    • Hi Carol,

      Glad I could inspire you 😉 Well accessories are plentiful indeed, but to be really honest I wouldn’t use any of those you’ve mentioned. Apart from filters perhaps, but a well placed Quality Street wrapper s as good a Holga filter as one that you can buy as an accessory. I’d say get the camera and shoot a few rolls with it plain, see what you think. I love what the 135BC can do with black and white film.

      The cable release is for long exposures, and hence to avoid camera shake. It means you don’t have to touch the camera to press and hold the shutter down.

      Enjoy your trip, say hello to NYC for me 😉

      Reply
  4. Hi!!

    Thanks for the review!

    I’m from Brazil and I’m going to Miami next week. I wonder where you bought it or if you can indicate a store where I can find a Lomography Camera.

    Thank you!!

    Reply

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