Sunday, February 7, 2010

Holga – 35mm mod

The first of many modifications that can be made with a Holga is using some basic household supplies to make the camera a 35mm camera.  Doesn’t sound that exciting, but since Holgas are made to use 120 film – which is taller than 35 mm film – that means the sprocket holes of 35mm film becomes usable space for recording photographic images.  Example:

0113 copy 

What’s more fun, is that achieving this is really simple.


Electrical Tape
Packing Peanuts or Foam
A darkroom or film changing bag for unloading film


Get ready to use a lot of electrical tape.  First, the red counter window needs to be taped shut from both sides, since 35mm film has no paper backing.


Next, tape the leader from the film onto the take-up spool in the Holga.


Use the foam or peanuts to center the film on the left side of the camera so that the film is basically running across the middle of the frame.


Now, since 35mm has no paper backing, I like to tape the back shut really well to protect from extra light leaks and fogging.


That’s about it.  Unfortunately, you have to guess on how much to wind before each shot.  There are guides on the internet where the number of clicks is counted out, but I usually just go once around the wheel.

Now that I’ve got my camera loaded, there are a lot of shots to play with.  Since you can press the shutter on a Holga independent of the winding mechanism, that means you can do double exposures or you can wind the film less than normal to create panoramic shots.

Finally, when the film is done, there is no way to wind it back into the canister from outside the camera.  This means getting into a light free space to unload the film.  You can either take it out of the Holga and load it right into a film reel and developing tank, or use the wheel on the film canister to wind the film back into the canister for later development.

Here are some examples from 35mm in my Holga from the past, but I’ll be sure to update once this roll is shot and developed.  Enjoy :)


Light leaks in all their wonderfulness!




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