Film Friday: A Holga Panoramic Pinhole Camera

Think about it: A Holga Panoramic Pinhole Camera. And for less than $50.

In my Photofocus post “A Photographer’s Three Phases of Development” I talk about that all important first phase where new shooters discover photography’s potential for fun and creativity. During this time, these newly minted photographers are fearless and enthusiastically explore their world. But the best part is that each and every image looks so much better than they could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, this blissful period doesn’t last long. If you want to go back to those “thrilling days of yesteryear,” as the man on the radio once said, try shooting film and for maximum effect use a Holga Panoramic Pinhole Camera. And if shooting film seems to alien to you, it’s still easy to get processed and some places will even scan the images for you.

For less than fifty bucks you can create eight 6×12 (my favorite) or twelve 6×9 panoramic images; inserts are provided for each format. The Holga Panoramic Pinhole Camera comes in classic Holga Black and its Pinhole aperture (f/135) allows for extreme depth-of-field and the tiny 0.3mm aperture produces shutter speeds that are correspondingly longer. I use the “hippopotamus” method of counting seconds: One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus… but no focus decisions are required. Holga recommends their Shutter Release Set accessory for controlling long exposures, but as of this writing I don’t have one for testing,  so I just set the camera on a sturdy tripod and push the odd, sideways shutter release button and start counting hippopotami after taking a ball park reading with my handheld meter. But hey, no batteries are required and the Holga Panoramic Pinhole Camera only weighs 7.7 ounces!

Tip: I was happily shooting my first test roll, when I knocked the camera onto the floor when having lunch. (OK, I’m a klutz.) The camera’s back popped off! And yes it was loaded with film. As luck would have it landed with the back side down, so I carefully slipped the back on and went into the Men’s room and turned off the lights to more securely fasten the back. What this unplanned test showed me was more than the exposure and the angle of coverage I could expect but that I needed some gaffers tape to keep the back securely closed in the future.

PS. As it turned out I only lost one and one-half frames from the roll of film. You can see one of the images—the last one—here.

Author: Joe Farace

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