Digital Lomo! A review of Holga Lens for Canon DSLR [Plus Lomography's Diana Lens]
*Updated: Lomography’s Diana Lens
I don’t know what is it about old-fashioned things that attracts us, maybe it’s the history, the richness … or maybe we just want to look cool!
One of the very popular old looks are photos; vintage, lomo or the effects produced by an analogue camera is almost considered an art form these days! With digital cameras completely pushing away traditional photography, re-creating the photos with that style has a very large fan base. From actions in photoshop, apps on your phone and using an actual analogue camera (Lomo cameras), anyone tries to have a go at this, but what if you could do the same with your digital camera?
Holga camera, initially designed in 1980s, is a low cost camera mainly made from plastic.” It usea a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity – wikipedia”. The typical characteristic of Holga is vignetting and more blur around the frame. Holga camera can still be bought and used, but what you can do now is to buy the Holga lens and attach it to your digital camera!
The result is actually very interesting and your photos look as if they were taken with a classic analogue camera (look at the three photos on the top right side). The only difficulty with Holga lens is its appetite for light! in other words, it’s only useful on a sunny day and preferably before the sunset! At the fixed aperture of 8 there’s not much can be done with this lens other than satisfying your lomo desires! which should be met with the very pleasing result. It’s very cheap as well so definitely worth checking out; I’m certainly very happy with my experience!
The Holga lens for Canon (and Nikon) is available for about £20 from eBay or similar sites. It’s compatible with some of the accessories such as the Fisheye and Wide lens converters.
Holga 60mm Lens | Shutter Speed 1/30 | ISO 800
Holga 60mm Lens | Shutter Speed 1/25 | ISO 200
Holga 60mm Lens | Shutter Speed 1/25 | ISO 100
No! These photos were not taken in 1980s! I took them last summer with a little 110 Usagi camera.
The Crop Factor
On a camera with a crop sensor (most Canon and Nikon mid-range DSLRs) this lens will actually become 96mm which in practise is a telephoto lens! This makes framing very limited, and taking photos of closer objects very difficult if not impossible (focus is limited too, about ~90cm to infinity) . This also means accessories like the Fisheye won’t give you the fisheye look but it will act as a wide lens converter which is actually a good thing! You can see from the image below that using a fisheye converter will give you a wider range (it transforms 96mm to something like 50mm) and make Holga lens easier to use.
The effect of the Fisheye; Not Fisheye! but a good wide converter
And here is one comparing a photo taken with a normal 18-55mm Lens to Holga so you can see the effect of the lens.
But what about video? Let’s have a look at some sample clips shot on Holga plus the fisheye converter recorderde yesterday in London.
See more photos taken with Holga
Lomography also has a Canon EOS mount for Diana F+ range of plastic lenses which is somewhat disappointing. Taking the crop factor into consideration (sensor size) most of the lenses will become telephoto and practically a little useless! The only lens that can actually get you some result is the 20mm Fisheye. The other problem is the hole in the mount is too big making most of the photos too blurred, so I had to make it a bit smaller otherwise most photos won’t be usable.
The photos right off the camera even with the smaller EOS mount hole still look a little blurry and flat and will require retouching. Below is a test videousing Diana F+ 20mm Fisheye lens, there’s a nice look to it and it does get better with a little grading which you can see in the same video after the raw version.