When I bought this camera off Amazon, Twin Reflex didn’t mean anything to me. But over the course of putting this kit together, I learned quite a bit. This is our review of the Holga Recesky Twin Reflex Camera.
First thing! A Twin Reflex camera is one where there are two lenses, one for the viewfinder, and another for where light enters the black box and prints the image on the film.
The kit I bought cost $26.99. Anna and I opened it on a Saturday at my house. The initial packaging was strong, covered with tape. The camera box was itself flimsy cardboard, but as I said, it was protected by lots of tape and a strong cardboard box. Check out our video here for a visual.
The box said it would take an hour to build the camera. If we were Chinese, perhaps, but our build project took about two and a half hours. The directions were written in Chinese, but the diagrams were enough for us to build on. We searched some YouTube channels and Google for English directions. These were the best directions we found. Even still, they were for a different kit.
So we relied on the Chinese orders. The camera was pretty simple to build. The toughest part was the shutter mechanism, which Anna skillfully manipulated. It’s important to get the screws and springs just right so that the shutter works as intended. Other than that, we had a fairly easy process.
The camera has a 50mm lens, with a f/11 aperture, using the aperture plate, or f5.6 without it.
These are a few of our first images from the Holga Recesky. On the side of the camera are two knobs: one for the film advance (top) and the other for the rewind (bottom). In between is the counter. You have to rotate the film advance to one arrow, snap a picture, and rotate to the next.
The toughest part about this camera (besides the shutter mechanism) is figuring out exposure times. Using the Lightmatic app, I felt a 1 second exposure time would be appropriate. The majority of my images were blown out and overexposed. The few images Anna and I took that seemed decent (above) were snapped with the briefest of exposures. So, make your exposures quick.
Another sticky wicket is stability. Obviously, a tripod is your best best. For some reason, our build seems to have an unsteady tripod mount. Even when “attached” the camera jostles about making picture taking difficult. An absolute steady hand is necessary to capture good shots.
Lastly, there may be a light leak. This kit is made almost entirely of cheap plastic (except the screws). Don’t get me wrong, this was a really fun building project and provided an enjoyable experience snapping some pictures. However, I didn’t feel comfortable with the sturdiness of the camera. It’s a toy camera, after all. But be careful of the clips. I felt that if I held the camera too tightly, it would crumble.
Overall, this was an exciting build kit. It took some research (in English) to better understand the camera, but we enjoyed the process. Our first pictures were not great. But the second roll, third, and so on will improve. I give it a rating of 3.9/5 for fun, but difficult construction. It would be nice to have directions for taking pictures, but that’s half the experiment. Anna and I learned a lot from our first roll. Be steady, be quick, and be creative.