Today’s Camera Adventure – A 35mm Holga Party!
So the other day I went to Beau Photo and grabbed the 35mm Adapter for our Holga (as well as a holga for Darren) and I ran my first roll though it.
Loading The Film
The adapter (like everything else about a Holga) is ridiculously simple to use. You replace your existing film mask (either the 6×6 for 12 Exposures or the 6X4.5 for 16 exposures) with the 35mm one. You then just wrap up the leader to the 120 spool (some people use tape, I just looped it though and then back on its self) and place the 35mm can in its slot, wind it a bit to make sure that the leader will grab, slap on the opaque camera back (the little red window of your regular holga back will expose your film) and Bob’s your uncle you have a regular 35mm holga. For panorama’s and wicked wild sprocket photography, (which I will try next) you will have to look at one of other the mods I will talk about later.
Shooting the Roll.
So you basically shoot the roll the same way that you would a roll of 120. The sunny vs cloudy and the focus all work the same; the only catch is that you need to advance the film a little different. Instead of watching for the numbers on the back like you would with 120 you need to use the winder as a guide. The Instructions for the 35mm insert suggested that you “advance the film one full rotation for each shot can be more but never less” By marking two dots with a felt marker, one on the body and one on the winder knob you can easily know what one rotation is. This will work fabulously and you can be guaranteed to not have any over lap in your photos, and will generally yield about 25 photos or so per 36exp roll. Now if you follow these instructions you will end up with negatives that look like this.
You can see that the gap between exposures is getting bigger and bigger and bigger as the roll progresses. This is because the wheel that is doing the winding is getting slightly bigger each rotation so it will wind up a little bit more length each time you advance the film, so a full rotation will eventually be complete overkill. (Hence you get about 25 exposures a 36exp roll) If you are feeling adventurous you can advance the film slightly less then the last shot to try and get the gaps consistent and closer together, as well as yield more exposures a roll, but be advised you may end up with some overlap on the edge of the frames till you get your technique down.
Unloading the Film
Now the only catch with this mod is that you need to open the camera in a pitch black environment to manually wind the roll back up! Not a big deal really, the folks at custom colour let me use their dark bag to do it or you can do it in your bathroom but you will need to block all the light coming in from the door cracks and such. Once you think you have it really dark in your bathroom sit and wait 5 to10 min to let your eyes adjust to the dark. You may just find that your dark room isn’t so dark after all! If you find that finding a darkroom to change film to be a pain, you can buy a 35mm modded Holga from HolgaMods.com that features a rewind crank for about 45 dollars plus shipping. This a little steep i think considering that it doesn’t seem to have any sort of 35mm mask and makes you find your own foam to hold the roll straight. You could get the moded holga and then add the 35mm adapter but that is getting a little bit $$ for a holga and it wouldn’t get you sprocket goodness! I personally would invest in a changing bag instead of a holga with a film rewind. Now this adapter only cost me about 12 dollars but if even that is a bit little to steep for some of you or you are looking for pano/sprocket Holga, you can mod a holga your self as per these instructions. This method will expose the whole negative including the sprocket area, as well as being a bit more panoramic. My next roll I will try something of the sort.
Developing the film.
Now the beauty of 35mm is that you can get a roll of colour negative film developed anywhere! If you get your film done at Walmart or London Drugs (shudder) you may have some interesting prints depending on the method that you use to mod the camera. the 35 Adapter will produce a regular 36x24mm exposures but the other methods including the 35mm holga from holgamods will give you around a 60mm wide panoramic exposures with the regular square film mask. I would recommend getting where ever you develop your film to not cut the negatives and scan them in your self, or get them to give you a contact print, so you can see what the sprocket area looks like. I personally always get the lab to develop only and then I cut them into strips and scan them at home. It costs around 5 bux a roll total and I can do what ever I want with it after the fact
All In All
I think that the film came out looking its usual holgalicious goodness but it was lacking something. I think that the larger 6X6 format captures that holga essence better then a framed 35mm shot can. I will be dropping off some 35mm sprocket photography film tomorrow so we will what that is like!