Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Introducing...The new Holga 135BC!

Holga has gone 35mm. Huh? Yeah, I said the same thing when I first saw this thing on Ebay. I was somewhat dubious as to it's authenticity. Maybe it was a Frankenstein camera created by someone else to capitalize (in a Communist country, no less) on the Holga name. A cheap pirate camera of a cheap camera. Plus, the 135BC moniker is actually stolen from a Russian LOMO camera. I couldn't help myself, though, and ordered one. So I'm sitting and drinking my hoji-cha, and what shows up today from Hong Kong? Duh...my new Holga 135BC, of course. I love getting new cameras in the mail. It's like a little bit of Christmas wrapped up in a brown box. So, let's open up that brown box (or envelope, in this case).




Fancy packaging, eh? I'm sure that will be spiffed up at some point.
I smell camera under that bubble wrap. Well, actually I can see it. And here she be! Purty? Purty ugly, in that cute Holga kinda way.




Okay, it looks like a camera...with a Holga lens? Yep. I'd still be dubious as to its legitimacy, but it has a UEI logo on it. Tokina is part of UEI, and they make Holgas. So I guess maybe it is real. It is an odd mix of actually built fairly well to bits of cheap. The labels are clear stickers. Even the figures on the focus ring are on a clear sticker. On a 120 Holga, the Holga logo is a sticker, but on black, but the focus ring is painted. I'm sure that at some point, there will be a LOMO sticker in place of the UEI, when Lomography starts to sell these things. I've also read that this camera is actually still in testing phase, so maybe this isn't the final version. The box and no instructions maybe lend to this theory. These might be straight from the factory before a distributor gets ahold of them.
Compare the 120 and 135:


The front lens on a 120 has raised text. On the 35mm, it's just painted on flat. At least it's not a sticker. It also says 47mm, as opposed to 60mm. How is this achieved with the same lens mount?



You can see that the lens is set deeper in the mount, using an additional piece of plastic. The lens SEEMS to be made of glass, but it's hard to tell without scratching it. Not in my plans. The aperture is a bit smaller than on the 120, also. It has the same sunny/cloudy aperture switch that the Holga has. I've read more than once that the switch on the 120 isn't hooked up to anything and does nothing. This is only half true. You can see the aperture plate slide over to another setting when you switch over...it's just that both apertures aren't any smaller than the camera aperture, so it doesn't make any difference where you set it. It kind of looks about the same for the 135BC. I can see it switching over, but I can't really tell if it makes a difference. I can see the edges of the plate on the sunny setting, but they seem to be about the same size as the camera aperture. I'll have to take a few duplicate shots on both settings to see if there is any difference.
So, what does this new camera offer? It has a couple nice features. You can see the hotshoe for a flash. Also a screw for a cable release. Why? Because of this, I assume:


It has a bulb setting! Kind of cool. On the bottom, you also see a tripod mount and the button for rewinding the film. The other hole just has a screw in it. It went through Quality Control. Wheee! You can also fire the shutter as many times as you want for each frame, but the film won't advance to the next frame until you fire at least once. Another nifty feature. Makes for easy multiple exposures...or easy mistakes.
The back pops open by pulling up on the film winder.


The inside is one piece that doesn't come out, like a 120 camera, so only one size....135. There are some metal parts here and there for added strength. Like I said, it's put together fairly well...a bit better than your basic thrift store plastic camera.
So...what does the output look like? There are a few sites that have some supposed examples. Check out Snaps. There are a few other Asian sites with examples. I will be using mine today and tomorrow, so I should have a roll done and samples in a day or two. I'm going to use black and white film, as all I've seen are color shots. I'm very curious about all that vignette! Be sure to check back soon! I'm sure that these things will be VERY popular when they appear outside of Hong Kong. 35mm is a lot easier for most people to stomach than 120.

32 comments:

  1. Mayzshon5:31 PM

    Hmmm, this actually looks kinda neat. I still can't bring myself to spend $50, but it's tempting.

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  2. Very interesting. I’m looking forward for your photos with this!

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  3. That's certainly interesting. Is it a new product? Maybe? Is it anything different to an Akira TC002 or a Cortland CX7, barring the Holga name? Probably not.

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  4. uranium99- HOLGA 135BC Seller9:46 AM

    Your comments on the camera is very detail.
    I was too busy to finish the 1st roll of 135BC yet but I m looking forward to do so.
    Your snaps are fantastic!

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  5. I just ordered mine and still waiting for it to surface. It should be worth my trip to the post office, lol. Cheers from DesignPinas

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  6. I've just ordered mine after reading your two posts on the 135bc. Been after a holga for a while, but in the UK it's a little harder to get the film developed... but this is the best of both worlds!

    A question though. Can you fit filters onto the camera? I saw the funny filter device that holds filters over the lens, but i was thinking the threaded filters i use on my SLR and digital camera, seems silly that i have a pile of filters, and will have to buy more.

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  7. Hi there

    I am interested to get the Holga 135BC as well, which online seller U got it from ebay?? I saw 4 sellers.

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  8. Anonymous9:40 PM

    i was just wondering if the lens of the older holga is about the same size as the this new one? i was thinking of getting a holga 135, but im worried that the fisheye lens for holga is not gonna fit...

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  9. the lens is the same size, but i'm not sure if focal length or whatever effects something like a fisheye. but if it fits on the front of a 120, it will fit on the front of the 135bc. exact same size lens barrel. be interesting to see if it works!

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  10. Anonymous9:58 PM

    thank you so much!!! now i will definitely buy one! its good to know that the accessories for the 120 holga will fit this new 135 holga! thanks again...

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  11. interestingly, the 135bc superheadz just sent me doesn't have that uei sticker. it just has a blank black sticker there.

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  12. Hi, I bought a Holga 135 BC and I noticed something that what you said about the holga name, the UEI logo and the focusing simbols being clear stickers are wrong, because it's just a clear skin to protect the print.
    Bye.

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  13. P.S. try to remove the clear skin and you'll see what I'm talking about.

    And thanks for your atention!

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  14. well, whaddya know, you are absolutely 100 percent correct! funny, i guess i just didn't want to go peeling strange things off and screwing it up. thanks for the tip!

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  15. Cool post, useful for seeing what the camera is like. I've just tried some 35mm in my 120n and i can't wait to see the results.

    I don't think i will be buying one of these cameras to be honest. I think they are a little over priced.

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  16. Anonymous3:42 AM

    Hey, do you know if there is anyone selling Holga 135BC skins? Or is it not avaliable? I've seen many Holga 120 with skins but not a 135BC before. Thanks in advance ;)

    Your tips were great, anyway! ;)

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  17. max aperture f8 - yuk.

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  18. dude i ordered the exact same one- from hongkong guy on ebay.
    nice to see that it's a good camera overall...

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  19. After reading this, I am definately going to get one. There's only 1 place in Kuala Lumpur (my part of the world) that sells it. I went to the shop to buy a Holga and saw this as well though I never knew Holga made something in 35mm. I'm going back to get one tomorrow.........

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  20. hello!!! I just got my 135bc straight from Hong Kong by Air Mail, and was wondering... What's the difference in those logos ? Mine doesnt have the uei mark, or a monkey... it's blank there...
    is there a real difference or just different companies selling exactly the same camera? it came in a cool pink box though...

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  21. To tell if a lens is made from plastic or glass, tap it against your tooth. You'll be able to hear the difference.

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  22. thanks for the lowdown! so glad Holga finally came up with 135. 120 was driving me nuts.

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  23. thanks for the review. does the holga always look the same... my holga 135bc has a monkey sticker on it... is this a bad sign? :O

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  24. nah, just depends on who is selling it! i think they all have monkey stickers now.

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  25. Anonymous8:50 PM

    I was searching around for a Holga with 35mm film, and this was a perfect find. A seller on eBay is selling one included with the flash. Do you know if it makes a difference to have a flash on the 135BC? I've read it makes the vignetting more intense...?

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  26. Anonymous10:29 AM

    hi!... where did you buy this?.. whats the website of the Hongkong seller?.. do you know any good distributor(lomo cameras) for reselling?.. thanks... hope to hear from you.

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  27. i just got it on ebay...more info in the comments above!

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  28. @Mayzshon I just bought one on eBay for $35.70

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  29. Anonymous9:44 AM

    thanks for your amazing review! It's so kind of you to spend all this time on your post - I'm an absolute newbie to photography and really value (and can actually understand!!!) your help here!!!
    x kat

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  30. This has got to be the better Holga 135BC reviews so far. I usually snoop around for reviews before buying. Samples photos with film names would be nice. Can't wait! (:

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  31. Part 2! http://moominsean.blogspot.com/2007/09/holga-135bc-part-deuxoutput-mania.html

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