It’s not a secret that the Holga is broken by design. It comes with a switch for sunny and cloudy weather, but believe it or not, that switch doesn’t do anything. Just until recently I chose to ignore this flaw, but the Holgaroid changed my mind. What annoyed me was that it needs insanely good light to get decent results.
After Kai reminded me that I still could do the aperture mod, I gave it a go, and gave the Holgaroid another extended whirl yesterday. My word, that rather simple mod does make quite a big difference. If you don’t believe me, have a look at these two photos, shot within 30 seconds of each other.
The left one is brighter, and that’s the one taken with the cloudy setting, which now actually works on one of my Holgas. It’s really nice to suddenly have this additional 2/3 of a stop to play with. Yesterday it was extremely bright outside as you’ll see on some of the other Holgaroid shots, but for this scene I chose a scene partly in shadow, so I can see a potential difference.
The modification itself is pretty easy, you don’t even have to do the whole thing, if you just want a slightly wider aperture, just pop out the ring on the lens as described on by Nicolai on his “facts about Holga apertures”, or you can do the whole deal, if you have some superglue at hand. The additional step of glueing the ring back on the aperture arm is pretty easy. Of course it’s also quite interesting to see how the innards of a Holga work, they’re amazingly simple, and it’s quite easy to figure out how you could for example disable the bulb mode altogether.
Believe me, it’s so worth it. That additional step comes in really handy when you’re shooting with 100 speed film. But yesterday in some scenes it was so bright that I could safely use the sunny setting with the Holgaroid. The cool thing (if you think that way) is that the additional 2/3 of a stop bring you to closer to a real stop f/11 than you are with the Holga’s default aperture of f/13.
Personally, I don’t care that much, because even with the default aperture I managed to get nice exposures on 100 speed slide film, but a time may come when it suddenly becomes important. I’d suggest you read the facts page about all the nitty gritty details.
I have the original Holgaroid by Polaroid (yes, they really made it) that only takes type 80 film. I do like the square a lot, so it’s no big deal, but the fact that there’s only the low-speed Viva film left to shoot threw me off a bit. I do think we’re back on now, and I might just have to order some more of that film.
Another thing I noticed with the Holgaroid back is that it makes for a lot wider angle than the standard Holga lens. Anyone can confirm this? It felt like I could get a bit closer to things, and that I even had to to have them fill the frame.