I’ve had an original Holgaroid back (the one originally made by Polaroid) for a while now. It’s a great accessory, but unfortunately can only use type 80 film, which is almost impossible to come by these days. Unfortunate, because I like square. I realised that shopping mistake only when it was too late, when I already won the auction. Oh well, it’s still a nice toy to have in your collection, it’s an original! Here’s how the photos taken with it look like, a sample shot using Polaroid Viva film (a great film, by the way).
Anyhoo, this year I decided I like the combination of Holga and instant film way too much to just leave it be with the Holgaroid back I had. So I went out and bought one of the newer ones, produced by A-Power in Japan, and sold by folks over at The Impossible Project. These are almost sold out, so I went ahead and bought me an early birthday pressie.
I have a lot of expired 664 film left in my fridge, so I went a bit nuts with it, with mixed results. First of all, I’m happy to be able to shoot with Holga and peel apart film again. Black and white film goes really nicely with the Holga I think. I was a bit skeptical at first, because obviously, using a type 100 film with a square format camera like the Holga leaves an unexposed area on the photo, but I figured I can live with that, and it’s really not a big deal. The overall exposure is larger than with a Hasselblad Polaroid back.
First things to notice: compared to the original it just looks cheap and poorly manufactured. That’s sort of okay, because well, it’s for the Holga, and it’s good enough. Judge for yourself if it’s worth the money though. The original Polaroid back was quite nice that way, it felt sturdy and not cheap, and was just nicely designed for the Holga. The quality just felt really good, it came with a proper dark slide, and it didn’t leak any light. Which isn’t what I can say for this one.
The package already comes with a note from the folks at The Impossible Project, saying that it leaks light. When you take out the dark slide, all bets are off. The note suggests to leave the dark slide in about one fourth of the length, but even that doesn’t help. Depending on the sun’s angle there’s still a lot of light coming in through the side.
I ended up covering the slot with the dark slide instead, which helped in some cases, but I’ll have to figure something out to properly cover it in the long term. I can live with some light leaks, but this is pretty insane. I’d rather have the option of working with or without them as I see fit. Here’s some examples of what you may end up getting as results. The leaks and streaks depend on the sun’s angle as you can probably tell, and sometimes trying to cover the slot with the dark slide doesn’t do anything.
The back costs somewhere between $150 and $180, which is quite a lot, but I really like the combination, so it’s worth it to me. Also, the ones sold by Freestyle Photo don’t even support type 80 film anymore, but as that’s very hard to come by, that’s probably no big deal.