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Review: Holga Digital Retro Vintage Camera



Overview : Holga designed the Holga Digital for everyone from the first-time Holga user to the photography enthusiast. You’ll be snapping beautiful images in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to fiddling around with shutter speed, aperture, IOS, or white balance. But it gives you the freedom to experience Holga unique image style; different lenses or you can even mount external flashes onto the build in hot shoes.

Features :
  • 8MP 1/3.2" CMOS Sensor
  • 4:3 or 1:1 Image Ratio
  • F2.8 or F8.0 Aperture Selection
  • Hotshoe
  • SD card support
  • Tripod mount
  • x2 AA Batteries

Quality/Usability : The Holga camera was a analog 120 film camera from the 1980s filled with lo-fi (quality) photos is getting a digital makeover. Holga Digital of Hong Kong launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the classic camera back with a few modern upgrades and snazzy colors (pink, white, black, and a Kickstarter only multi-color edition).

Holga designed the Holga Digital for everyone from the first-time Holga user to the photography enthusiast. You’ll be snapping images in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to fiddling around with shutter speed, aperture, IOS, or white balance. But it gives you the freedom to experience Holga unique image style; different lenses or you can even mount external flashes onto the build in hot shoes.


The review unit we received was just the 8MP 1/3.2" CMOS sensor Holga Digital Retro Camera. No other accessories was included such as lens adapters, flash or even a manual. The moment I first touched the Holga Digital was that it felt like a plastic toy. It was light in weight and any of the labels felt like they were printed on regular home printer and just glued on.


Majority of all the functions can be found on the front/top of the Holga Digital. On the front, you have the shutter button and aperture selection. On top, you have a hot shoe and mode dial. The dial lets you turn off the camera or switch between 4:3 or 1:1 image. The review unit had a "135" and "120". Unlike the technical specs image, it didn't show an icon of the image size which would of made things easier. There is also a red LED indicator to let you know that the camera is on and when the camera is ready to take a picture. When you press the shutter, the LED turns off. When it turns back on, it's ready to take the next picture. There is also no shutter sound or anything to let you know that it took a picture other than the LED.


On the underside, you have a SD card slot, microUSB port, a tripod mount and battery compartment. The battery compartment houses two AA batteries. It closed well but felt a little cheap as if it was going to break off.

I had an issue with the microUSB port. I contacted Holga and was told all the prototypes was tested before being sent out for review but I still couldn't get the microUSB port to work. I plugged it into my Macbook Pro and Dell PC and nothing happened. If it was working, it would allow me to view my images on my computer without having to remove the SD card.

Even the SD card slot gave me issues. It works fine but in order to get the card to lock in place, you have to push the card all the way and I mean all the way in. You need thin fingers and nails to help insert and remove the SD card. I had to give it to my wife to help me insert and remove since she had longer nails and she even said it was hard to get in and out of the card slot. There were times where my fingers started to hurt from having to force my fingers to push the SD card in and trying to get it out.


The back of the Holga Digital gives the look of a old film camera where you can open up the back but its pretty much just a case. The only thing on the back is a small viewfinder hole.


Above the lens and near the viewfinder, there is a switch. This switch is a f2.8 or f8 aperture selection.

As stated in the beginning of the review, I didn't receive any other accessories but with the new Holga Digital you can use your flash and lenses from the old Holga camera and pop them in by using a lens adaptor. This way you can share lens between your analog camera and the new Holga Digital. Since I didn't have any of the accessories, I couldn't test out the flash or fisheye viewfinder. I saw a video by Digital Rev and the lens adapter kept falling off and the fisheye viewfinder didn't even stay on.

 


The image of the toy horse is what I took a picture of (taken with a Canon G1X Mark II). The images below are from the Holga Digital by looking through the viewfinder. Even though the horses face was in full view in the viewfinder, the actual image taken was off.

The image quality didn't come close to what was being shown from Holga. They were blurry and there was plenty of light. The first shots I took didn't even have the image of the toy. There was a delay from the moment you press on the shutter to when it actually took the picture. You would only know by looking at the red LED indicator.

When I first played with the Holga Digital, I pressed on the shutter button and there was no sound or any indication that the image was taken except for the red LED light turning on and off. I didn't know if it took a picture or not but I went on to the next thing. When it was time to take a look at the pictures that I've taken, none of them had pictures of what I was taking or was blurry. So with the images below, once I pressed on the shutter button, I stayed still for a few seconds to make sure that the image was taken or took a peak at the red LED light to see if it turned on.

Images are of both 4:3 and 1:1:


The following images was me having to adjust where I was looking through on the viewfinder. I had to look more at the horses ear in order for me to get the face and rear. It was a little better but not by much.



I was informed that because that the review units are prototypes, there are issues and adjustments will have to be made but the units shipped to backers and customers will have these issues resolved.

Conclusion : Overall, the Holga Digital Retro Vintage Camera is let you take images and give it that retro/vintage and the camera felt like a toy. Most importantly, the image quality and wasn't good or even usable. The delay in taking a picture is a hassle. After pressing the shutter button, I would have to stay still for a few seconds or else the image would be blurry or take a shot of something else. If you were using it for the first time, you wouldn't have known unless you tried and saw the pictures

The Holga Digital camera brings back the vintage style but the prototype definitely needs work. I don't see it being used for anything too serious but more of just something to get artsy with. As it sits now, this is something I would give my 9 month old to play with swing it around and drop it.




Manufacturer: Holga
Site: Buy from Holga Digital
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