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Holga Buyers Guide (FAQ)

group of holgas

If you are undecided about which Holga you're going to buy then there are a couple of questions you might want to ask yourself before you decide. We have tried to answer these as straight forwardly and simply as we can

if you're still unsure please feel free to contact us at sales@holgarama.co.uk or (023) 929 888 60

What does the model number mean?

HOLGA 120TLR Corner

Although they might seem a bit technical, they are just a combination of letters and numbers that relate to the features of the camera. They are:

120 Takes 120 Medium Format Film.

135 Takes 35mm Film.

G Glass, has a glass lens, if the model number doesn't contain a G the camera has a plastic lens. .

F Includes a built in flash.

CF Includes a built in colour flash, which can be set to white, blue, yellow or red.

PC Pinhole Camera.

TLR Twin Lens Reflex, has a top down view finder, please note that these cameras aren't true TLR and the viewfinder lens is not focusable.

BC 'Bent (or Black) Corners, Includes a special mask to mimic vignetting .

TIM Twin Image Maker, produces a split image. .

So a couple of examples are

  • 120N - Base model of the 120 camera, no flash, plastic lens
  • 120GN - 120 Film base model, no flash but with glass lens
  • 120GCFN - Glass lens, colour flash.
  • 135BC - 35mm Camera with 'Bent Corners'

The N is just the manufacturing version of the Holga, the previous version was the S so a 120N is comparable to the old 120S (except it has some improvements).

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What is the difference between Glass and Plastic?

holga lens

From our experience there isn't much difference and it varies from camera to camera. We have had plastic lenses that were sharper than glass ones, and glass ones that produced a more dreamy effect than other plastic lens cameras.

As with everything 'Holga' it's all about experimenting, so don't get too hung up on the material the lens is made from.

Check out our Glass Vs Plastic comparison to see some sample shots and draw your own conclusions.

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Should I get a 120 film or 35mm version?

holga film

Most Holgas take 120 medium format film, which is a roll film preferred by professional film photographers, most Holga cameras can be adapted to take 35mm film and there is also a range that are designed to specifically just take 35mm film.

We love shooting both 120 and 35mm film in our Holgas and we recommend getting either a 120 Camera with a 35 mm conversion kit or getting a 120 and a 35mm camera.

But obviously this might not be an option for you, so we have broken down the pros and cons of each:

120 Film


  • The original Holga Format: 35mm Holgas are reasonably new to the market, 120 is the 'True' holga format.
  • Professional Film: 120 Film is a professional film format so you can get some interesting film in 120 format that you might not be able to find in 35mm Format
  • Square: 120 Film gives you the option to shoot in either square or rectangular format.


  • Developing: Most high-street labs no longer develop 120 film, so you'll probably have to send it away.
  • Supply: 120 film is a little harder to get hold of than 35mm film, but it's still readily available online.

35mm Film


  • Developing, you can still get your films developed at your local lab or chemist.
  • Supply: 35mm Film is still readily available on the high street
  • More Shots: 120 Film can either shoot 12 or 16 shots per roll, 35mm you can get up to 36.


  • 6x4: With 35mm Cameras you're limited to 6x4 shots so no wonderful square format
  • Less vignetting: The 35mm don't have as much natural darkening of the corners, although the BC version has a filter that does a very good job of replicating the distortion from the 120 version
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Should I get one with a inbuilt flash?

The built in flashes on the F and CF versions are a little more powerful than those found on disposable cameras. These are fine for indoor 'party portraits' and a bit of fill in lower light situations. The colour wheel on the CF version is a great way to add an interesting colour element to any of your photos.

If you are looking for full flexibility and the most creative option you will want to use an external flash. The 120N and 35mm cameras have an inbuilt hot shoe that will allow you to fire most external flashes, but that will obviously add extra bulk to carry around.

You can also get flashes that work as 'slaves' that can be used with the cameras with built in flashes to add extra light, these flashes work by using a light sensitive trigger and flash when the built in flash is fired.

We're produced a comparison between the flashes we have available so you compare and contrast. Have a look here

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Should I buy one of your Kits?

holga kit

We sell a number of Kits that allow you to get started with all the stuff you need for whatever you want to use your Holga for at a great discount. Our kits are hand picked by us and are not the same as other shops sell. We feel we have put a little more thought into ours, as we are long time Holga fans we know exactly what you are going to need. We have the following Kits available:

  • Starter: These kits provide you with a Camera, Film, Electrical Tape and Batteries if the camera needs them. Everything to get you started with your Holga.
  • Super: These contain all the good stuff that's included in the Starter pack but also includes some filters to help you get that little extra bit more creative. These make great gifts.
  • Ultimate: These contain pretty much anything you'll ever want for your Holga. With a little bit of practice and some skill, you should be able to produce an amazing array of types of photos with this kit.
  • 35mm: These kits contain everything you'll need to run both 35mm and 120 film in your Holga, but 4 rolls of film. B&W and Colour in both 120 and 35mm film.
  • Fisheye: Interested in Fisheye photography buy don't want to tie your self down, then these are the kits for you. They contain a Holga and a Fisheye lens, allowing you the flexibility to choose, and for around the same money as a lo-fi Fisheye camera.
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Do your cameras have lead in them? What is RoHS? Should I care?


Wether you care or not is entirely up to you, but let us at least give you all the facts before your decide.

The company that manufactures Holgas use Lead solder in the electronics that fire the flash. Lead solder is poisonous if ingested. However under RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) it is illegal to import these cameras into the UK.

We pay the manufacturer an additional 10% on the standard wholesale costs for them to make cameras compliant with UK laws that use non-lead based solder.

Also be aware that you can't be 100% sure even if you order from another UK company that their products are also RoHS compliant as some import from wholesalers in Asia who are completely unaware of these regulations. The cameras are identical in every way other than the solder, there is no markings to differentiate them.

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Why should I buy one from you?

There are lot of reasons why buying a camera from us is a good idea, lets just pick some of the main ones:

  • 2 Year Warranty - All cameras we sell are covered by a 2 Year Warranty, this is something that we have to provide by EU laws, all cameras that break in that time due to manufacturing issues are repaired or replaced, about 80% are simply replaced with a completely new camera.
  • Quick Delivery - We dispatch within 24 hours via Royal Mail who we believe, despite their many failings, are the best company for residential deliveries.
  • No Questions Returns - As well as you being covered by the distance selling regulations (free to return anything unused in original packaging within 7 working days for a full refund) we have a 30 day money back guarantee, if you're not happy with the camera just return it within this time in a re-sellable state for a full refund.
  • Great Customer Service - We really hate to blow our own trumpet, but we really try our hardest to help out our customer (and potential customer) as much as possible, drop us an e-mail or phone us to test us out!
  • No Hidden Costs - We've paid all the import duty and VAT so you're not going to be stung with that when the delivery mand knocks on your door.
  • Supporting our Economy - In our view the only way this country is going to get back on it financial feet is by supporting UK business, ideally we should all be buying our lofi cameras from UK manufacturers.. but that is never going to happen because there don't exist. But other than the money we invest in stock from Hong Kong we spend all our business costs in the UK, Hosting, Banking..etc.. all our bills are in £'s. Buying from us is doing your little but to help the UK economy. And as a UK company we pay all out tax and duty, this doesn't always happen when you order a cheap camera from Ebay
  • Guaranteed non-Poisonous - See the above questions
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