Holga Modifications

Sunny and Cloudy setting...For real

Despite the two position setting, the unmodified Holga has only one aperture. The smaller aperture(f/11?) is fixed to the lens (shown here). 
  The swinging arm activated by the sunny/cloudy switch has a larger, rectangular aperture (f/8?) which is useless because the smaller one is fixed. It's like installing a window in front of a peephole...despite having a window you can still only see through the peephole.
Alas, the Holga is easily hacked to give two useable apertures. 

You must disassemble the shutter/lens assembly. On the inside rear of the lens, a small plastic washer-like ring serves as the smaller aperture. Gently pry it out with a small screwdriver. 


Next, I used some epoxy from the $.99 store... a type similar to JB Weld that you must knead by hand. I mixed a very small portion and squeezed it into the larger rectangular aperture of the swinging arm, so that the epoxy completely filled the opening. Let it harden overnight. When the epoxy has set, file it flat, flush with the plastic and drill a hole in the center (I made the hole the same size as the aperture in the small plastic washer-like ring removed earlier from the lens). Reassemble everything. Now the sunny position will be the same aperture as the original, and the cloudy position will be almost twice as large. 
The big aperture can be made even larger, if you wish (as shown here). Simply pry out the remaining plastic from behind the lens. This piece actually holds the lens in place, so be careful not to let the lens fall out and roll under the fridge. Not to mention scratching the lens all up with the screwdriver. If you go this route, use a couple SMALL drops of model glue to hold the lens in place. Also be aware that this larger aperture will also let in more diffuse light from the frosty  periphery of the lens (normally covered by the platic retainer you just removed), resulting in a more hazy image on film.

Close focusing

This mod allows the Holga to focus as close as 2'. You must remove the old stop from inside the lens barrel. A new stop is fashioned from a screw installed through the front of the lens. Where to install the screw can be tricky. You want the new stop to allow focusing about 1" past the head and shoulders mark, yet not so far that the lens comes unscrewed.

6x6 format

Prefer the 6x6 format? So do I. Most people say to simply remove the 6x4.5 insert. However, some problems crop up with this method.
  • The sharp edges left behind can scratch the film. 
  • The film is under less tension making for loosly wound spools.
  • The film plane is shifted slightly foreward, throwing off focus.
This is a simple modification that helps solve these problems.   I took the stock 6x4.5 mask and cut out a square section of the mask (approx. 58mmx58mm) using a Roto-Zip tool. A Dremel would do fine. Important considerations when doing this are:
  • Keep the mask securely fastened down or clamped while cutting. This can be tricky because the plastic is not very rigid.
  • Use sharp tools. Dull tools tend to melt the plastic while cutting, making for more work.
  • Leave enough plastic so that there is still a rail left to guide the film.