Okay, maybe it doesn't suck that much


220px-Holga_120_GCFN.jpgWhoah, it’s a long time since I’ve heard opinions quite as strong as the ones fired up by my The Holga and why it should be avoided post. My opinion on the matter is clear (Short version: I love the Lomo, but I think the Holga is a waste of space).

I’m not one to push my opinions on people ruthlessly, so here is the other side of the story from the Holga-loving Photocritic readers: 

Phil explains:

I think that you’ll find that pretty much all of those who use Holga’s use them for exactly the reasons that you hate them….so we kinda know what we are gonna get.

Perhaps it was just your photos that were bad….with a little searching there are plenty of photographs out there that show very well the merits of using these cameras. There are times when sharpness and control are desireable and times when that is not required. I think that you will also find that those who shoot with Holga’s also shoot with other cameras where they are getting sharp images. I guess it’s about using the right camera for the right job.


Adrian (of Found Photography fame) muses:

Who buys a Holga expecting results like a Hasselblad? If they do, then like you, they will be disappointed. Control over a camera isn’t always a good thing. Think about how many cameras are sold for hundreds and hundreds of dollars a piece – and the majority of the photos are garbage.

Technically these “state of the art” cameras can produce perfectly exposed, perfectly in focus pictures. That doesn’t mean they are good photos, though. I think there is too much emphasis on camera gear by photographers. Learn the basics of photography and you can produce a great photo with anything from a Hasselblad to a pinhole camera.

I like the Holga because it introduces an element of risk into my photography that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I happen to like not knowing what I am going to get because when I plan a photo out meticulously and obsess about getting the exposure right, I rarely am impressed with the results – no matter how technically perfect the image may be.

Markus agrees with the two previous speakers, and offers some of his Holga photos to back up his claims:

Holga is a toy but that fact shouldn’t be a reason to avoid it. The whole point of photography is to experiment with different kind of equipment and have fun and Holga is a cheap way to do it. It is also extremely lightweight so you can carry it with you all the time which makes it perfect for street photography. It is also very versatile so you can use it anywhere anytime if you know how to use it.

My favourite comment, however, wasn’t even made on Photocritic – it was made by Scott Richey (see his website), over on Brian Larter’s excellent blog.


In this age of digital control, your average professional photographer will carry something like a Canon D30, or Nikon D2h. (…) These instruments are amazing. Designed by hundreds of genius’ standing on the sholders of genius’. (…) There is no guess work.

Holga denies it all.

I warmly recommend you go have a look at Brian’s blog to go read Scott’s full comment, which also offers up an ample helping of links for further reading.

I guess the conclusion is that the Holga is good for some people, and not for others. Myself, I still don’t see the point, but ultimately, you use the tools you need to get the results you want – if you like what the Holga does, use it. If not, well, don’t.

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