Want a break from the latest and greatest? Let me take you to back to a simpler time. Where men were men and lenses were… very small holes in a box. That’s right, pinhole photography! Want to hear about it? I’m sure you really want to, you really want to, you really do.
Behold, the Holga 120 WPC and all it’s plastic glory. I swear my pair of blu-blocker sunglasses weigh more than this camera. Unfortunately, the weight savings are offset by the need carry a tripod in tandem. At a constant f135, you’ll need to lock this thing down even on sunny days. The shutter button is on the front of the camera and it does accept a screw-in remote release cable. Be careful though because the shutter button basically just slides a piece of plastic out of the way, exposing the pinhole. If you don’t push the plunger enough to move that bit all the way, parts of the frame will not be exposed or there will be a thick vignette on one side.
As the small aperture drives longer exposure times, you will need to account for reciprocity failure of whatever film stock is loaded. Basically, reciprocity failure means that as you go into the ‘whole seconds’ range for shutter-speed, you must add incremental time to the metered shutter-speed value in order to expose properly expose the film because SCIENCE!! There are many discussions on this out on the net and many film manufacturers provide charts/guides as to how to factor this in to the exposure time. Chances are there’s a resource out there that can help you calculate the appropriate time for whatever stock you want to shoot.
Word on the street is that Holgas are prone to light leaks due to the plastic bodies and build quality. To get around this ‘feature’, some people tape the bodies. With this thing, I stuck a layer of yarn in the channels on the back and put some opaque tape over the red film advance window. After a shot, just peel the tape back, advance, and lay it back down. So far, there haven’t been any leaks in the rolls that have been run through it. I’m sure at some point the latches that hold the camera back on will break and I’ll end up rubber banding and taping the whole thing though.
The 120 WPC comes with 2 masks. One is 6×12 and one is 6×9. The picture above shows the 6×12 mask. In this format, a roll of 120 film will net 6 shots. At 6×9, a roll of 120 will net 8 shots. Obviously, you cannot switch between them mid-roll. There is a bubble-level on the top and 3 guide lines to aid in framing. They each have pegs at the end and show the field of view that will appear on the film. That’s it. You can line up the left and right edges of the scene, but the top and bottom will always be an educated guess.
Shooting with this thing takes a lot of time, but that’s the point. It’s pretty liberating to shoot with an extremely basic camera. Maybe, someday you will take like I take.
Thanks for reading!