Holgaroid: A Review!
The Holgaroid is an attachment for your Holga camera that converts it into a Polaroid and costs around $200. The original attachment used Polaroid film that is no longer available however its easy online to get Fuji FP-100C and FP-100B instant film which is black&white or color respectively. I got my Holgaroid attachment this summer locally and used. I have always wanted to get this attachment for my Holga, so I picked mine up used for $100 including a Holga 120N camera and the shutter release attachment included. It was a really good deal considering, even though I already had a Holga camera. I’ve taken about 3 rolls of film with the Holgaroid however, and I am not really satisfied with the results. The best way to show you what this camera can do, and what it doesn’t do very well is with examples.
The Holgaroid attachment will turn your medium size Holga camera into a monster. Its almost the same width of the Holga excluding the lens and it taller then the Holga so the Holga hovers if you have it sitting on a counter. The attachment will also make your Holga much heavier. Personally though I don’t mind the size unless I have to carry it in a bag, as its almost larger then my NikonD7000.
Its really…really dark. This shot below was taken in the shade, but on a really bright summer day. I wasted about half a roll trying to figure out what lighting works with the Holgaroid. The lighting from what I found is no shade, no overcast, and no indoors shots, only on bright sunny days otherwise you will get very dark shots or completely exposed film. And even once you figure out what lighting works you still end up wasting film with shots that are too dark to look any good, and this is not cheap film. For every shot that worked, I got one that was black. Even on the bright days, the shots that came out were still dark in appearance.
3. Light Leaks
Now for some people this will be a pro. And definitely on some shots it looks cool but for others this will be a con. I like the light leaks but on some shots its definitely very distracting and I got frustrated that its completely random and I cannot control it. Another thing to note is that you CANNOT leave film in this camera. After the summer, I put away the Holgaroid for a few months because it was much darker outside and I was worried about not getting any shots…..well the light leaks exposed all of the film that normally would be protected. Wasting a whole package that I had just put in.
This is another thing that some people may consider a pro instead of a con. Because the Polaroid back was made for another type of film that is square and the Fuji film is larger then the square image of the Holga, you will get a whole section of your film that doesn’t get an image. I’ve cropped certain images shown below to show you the different but this is what your images will come out as. I really like the cropped images more and from what I’ve seen of people who either had the Holgaroid before Polaroid stopped making the film or purchased expired film it looks really different in its intended square form.
5. Flash Shots
Flash is really tricky with the Holgaroid. If your too close, its usually over exposed and if your too far away the shot will be too dark. You’ll also get the circular exposure. I don’t know what causes this but all my flash shots had this when my regular day time shots did not. It is nice that you can use the Holga flash with the Holgaroid though considering most lighting situations will require this.
These are the common features and concerns with the Holgaroid attachment that most people have so I thought I’d share my experience with it. I think I am going to retire my attachment as its not very fulfilling even when it does take good shots. For $200 and $10 a pack of 10, you’d probably have much better luck just buying a Fuji Film Instanx camera (one version even has a Holga lens attachments) or if you want that vintage feel what I suggest is looking on Etsy, or your local vintage store for an old Polaroid camera. This isn’t to say the attachment doesn’ t take good photos, its definitely possible but the amount of work I had to put in, and the amount of film that was wasted fustrated me. I got my Polaroid Colorpack III for under $50 on Etsy a month after getting the attachment, and have not experience any of the fustration with it, like I did with the Holgaroid – its been love ever since (which isn’t to say there wasn’t a learning curve) . So if you want to save yourself some cash to put towards film and some grief get a Polaroid camera that’s either compatible with Fuji film or film made by the Impossible Project and make sure it doesn’t require a speciality battery to function and you’ll be on your way to getting great instant shots.
Click below at all my shots taken with Holgaroid attachement:
(and if your thinking to yourself, wow that’s only 8 shots – I KNOW.
Out of 30 shots I toke and only got 8 shots that even turned out)