Instant cameras are again becoming very popular and there are a lot of cameras that you can choose from.
But for this purpose of my review, let’s just focus on three cameras.
I was given the privilege to try Holga 120N, Holga 120N Twi-Lite, and Holga 120 Color Flash Camera.
What made Holga really special is it achieved the art of fusing affordability and functionality together in their products.
If you’re a first-time buyer of instant camera, you might want to start with Holga’s line of cameras. They are cost-effective and will perform decently as well.
This post will give you a general glimpse of Holga 120 cameras. I’ll share with you my honest review with each of them.
1. Holga 120N Camera (black)
I heard so much reviews and news about the Holga 120 and finally I had the chance to try them.
At first glance, you’ll be happy to know that it is small and lightweight at the same time.
It looks pretty much like a normal camera. Here are some of its specifications.
- Exposure options
- Made of plastic
- Zone focus system
- Standard tripod mount
- Cost-effectiveness – you can buy this camera for just below $30. This is cheaper compared to other cameras and brands.
- Light leaks – for me, this is something that I always welcome especially when I intentionally want a photo with a vintage effect.
- Bulb exposure mode – I find this really interesting. When you’re using this mode, you can keep the shutter open as long as you want by just holding the button. You need to have an extremely steady hand when doing this if you don’t want to ruin the final product. Use a tripod if possible.
- Photo quality – don’t compare instant cameras with digital cameras because you’ll just be disappointed. First off, this camera is known as a “toy” camera because it is basically for fun and enjoyment. The quality of the image may not look too crisp and it’s difficult to take moving objects with this camera.
- Needs a lot of light – even if you’re in a well-lit room, you will need a lot of light to get a good shot. Thus, I recommend that you try to take pictures outside during daytime.
2. Holga 120 N Twi Lite Holgawood Collection (Silver/Black)
This camera looks classy with its silver and black color. In the same way, it’s lightweight and can be stored in purse or a small bag. The product is designed based on the Holgawood theme, which is a unique brand of Holga.
- Stands at the middle ground of light and shadow
- Standard tripod mount
- Bulb selector for long exposure
- Easy switching between 12 and 16 exposures
- Portability – if you think some digital cameras are portable, check out Holga 120N Twi Lite. It weighs only 1 lb and just as small as your fist. I was really please when it can easily fit in my small bag. Thus, I can simply bring it anywhere I go.
- Easy to use – you don’t have to be really smart or a professional photographer to use this camera. There is a user’s manual that comes with it as well for you to further study it. Loading and unloading the film isn’t a problem as well.
- Attractive look – like what I already mentioned, it is designed with the Holgawood theme. Thus, it’s really uniquely designed compared to other cameras of Holga. I was immediately captured by the classic look of Holga 120N Twi Lite.
- Lacks settings – this is a big problem for people who would like to tweak with their cameras, especially those who get used to with digital cameras. But for me, this isn’t a problem. The lack of setting is a feature unique to filmed cameras. But if you think that you can’t live without the many settings that complicate your photo shoot, then you might think twice before buying Holga 120N Twi Lite or any other instant cameras.
- Inaccurate aperture – I think one problem of this camera is the aperture setting. Even if you choose among the F8, F11 and F13, the image quality doesn’t or just have little amount of difference. By the way, the F8 is for sunny, F11 for cloudy and I’m not too sure with F13.
- Unsecured lock at the back – I was surprised to find out that after loading the film, the lock can easily come off. This is really not a good thing if you don’t want all your films to be ruined. It may welcome some light leaks, but I’m not sure if you will be happy if your image is all light leaks when the back accidentally opens. I recommend that you tape down the slide so that it will be more secured.
3. Holga 120 Color Flash Camera
Though it may look like a toy, it is truly a powerful camera. It’s color is black with a capability of the following:
- Multiple exposures
- Hot shoe for mounting of flash
- Bulb exposure selector
- Standard tripod mount
- Color Flash wheel – this is something that I really love about this camera. There are three colors that you can choose from; red, blue, yellow and white. You can use the color wheel playfully manipulate the images. I tried all colors and very impress the end results.
- As good as Photoshop – there are many people who rely so much on Photoshop when editing and manipulating images. Of course, there’s nothing wrong about it. But the Holga 120 Color Flash makes you really creative without using any photo-editing software. The chance of having light leak, vignets and the overall vintage look are something you and I will love – all that without using Photoshop.
- Chance of unexpected film ruin – this is really frustrating if ever it’ll happen to you. I noticed again, like the other Holga 120, that the back cover is not that secured. It can accidentally be opened and ruin your film inside with too strong light leak.
- Longer time of familiarity – since there are more features that Holga 120 Color Flash brings, you might need longer time to get familiar and master how to use it. In fact, it took me 20 shots to feel confident with the camera. There are many possibilities to experiment with. So you will surely need more time to know each feature.
This is just some of the information you need to know about these cameras. Each camera has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. So it’s a must that you first assess your need, preference and budget as well. Take into consideration that you need to buy films to continue enjoy the use of these cameras.