Hit Or Miss Holga

It was back in August last year that I first posted about the plastic fantastic Holga lens that I had acquired for my Nikon D5100. Because of the unpredictability of outcomes I have come to regard her as hit or miss Holga.

Since that initial post one or two people have asked me why I put a cheap plastic lens on a sophisticated digital camera like the Nikon D5100.

Well – the answer is – it makes for cheap photographic fun. Much of the fun comes from the fact that the Holga lens has quite a range of limitations meaning there is a fair amount of guesswork needed when taking pictures, and you can always be assured of a surprise outcome.

First of all this lens is made of plastic, which in optical terms generally means image results will be not too flash (no pun intended…). It has a 60mm focal length and a fixed f8.0 – or thereabouts – aperture, and Holga uses a primitive form of zone focussing – no auto-focus here. In fact the way the lens couples with the camera is also a form of focussing in its own right as it “floats” very loosely on the D5100 mounting ring.

I call her hit or miss Holga because it is very much a guessing game when taking photographs.

Put the lens on and then adjust shutter speed and or the ISO setting to get a half decent exposure. I often find that I use ISO400 or even push it up to ISO800 because the f8.0 aperture doesn’t let a lot of light through!

The images produced by hit or miss Holga are almost always totally unpredictable. Focussing is soft; colours can be weird; and then their is the vignetting effect and occasional lens flare – you never know exactly what you are going to get.

But having said all that this type of photography is a good way to bring some fun back into your photography – and, for all their faults, images produced by Holga have a certain ….je ne sais quoi about them.






  1. Why do people ask why you put that cheap plastic lens on your camera? They just have to lookmat your great photos to know why! Very impressive!

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