The Holga 120 camera is a simple plastic camera, often
camera, which appeared late on the market in 1982, when the Diana camera and its clones were already disappearing.
Nevertheless it had great success on the Chinese market which converted
late to 135 film. It seems as if the original inventor sold the factory
to Tokina, I have a 2010 Tokina catalogue which contains all Holga
models. There is a lot of misinformation around about the Holgas and
the main seller, Freestylephoto, is trying to create mystery around it.
In 2015 they announced that Tokina had shut down the factory and
immediately distroyed all machines and molds. I doubted this
information, perhaps they wanted to boost their sales, as the Holgas
were still available from them. In 2017 Freestylephoto announced that
the machines and molds were "miraculously" refound and the production
would be resumed.
lens is simple
60mm plastic meniscus lens (wider than the 75mm Diana lens) with some
vignetting. Light leaks are frequent, you may have to put black tape
over the seams. The original model, the 120S, has only one shutter
speed of ~1/100s and 2 F-stops, sunny and cloudy, supposed to be F8 and
F11. It is said that due to production errors pre-2009 models have only
one F-stop of about F13 on both settings. 2009 and later models have 2
stops of ~ F13 and F20. The Holga can shoot 2 formats, 6x6 and 6x4,5
and has the according red windows and frame masks. The 120S was
replaced by the 120N model, adding bulb speed, a tripod socket and some
minor improvements. There are plenty of variants, G stands for glass
lens and F stands for built-in flash.
the hype of toy cameras 135 and 110 film versions appeared. There were
pinhole versions, panoramics and even a TLR-version. Plenty of
accessories were available and a Holga community of DIY enthusiasts. My
camera, a 120 GCFN, has a glass lens and a built-in flash with colour
filters, it was on sale as a white version for very little money. I
wanted a Holga because of the possbility of an Instax Mini back as I am
into instant photography. Its main features are:
60mm simple plastic menikus lens, ~F13 and F20, zone focus 1- ∞
Shutter ~1/100, B
Size 140x104x74, Weight 274 gr.
2 frame masks, 56x56mm and 56x43mm
back. Flash switch, flash ready lamp and red window.
Camera top. Flash colour selector, film advance. Not visible: F-switch near the lens,
Camera bottom. Tripod socket, speed selector.
The basic set.
The camera presented above, is a 120 GCFN. The original version was the 120 S. The 120 N (N
for new) was an updated version with an additional B shutter setting,
foam inserts for film tensioning and a better red window. G stends for Glass Lens, CF for Colour Flash. At the end of the page there is a 120 CFN version, so it's a plastic lens with colour flash.
camera is heavier than the Diana and feels more solid. As the Diana it is a basic plastic camera
with only one speed, no automatic exposure, no automatic film advance,
no autofocus, not even a rangefinder, cheaply made plastic lenses that
produce heavy vignetting and random results.
because it's more solid than the Diana, it has attracted more DIY
people, Holga-mods are famous. There are plenty of discussions across
the forums worldwide about the Holga. You shoud read some of them, they
are interesting. As for the Diana, I don't
think about measuring, I guess and I try. So for me the Holga is a nice find.
A Holga with plastic lens and its original box and accessories.