Can you tell I have a cat!? The official Amazon listing had this labeled as the “Holga 120 WPC Panoramic Pin Hole Camera Wide Format Film Lomo Camera Black“. A bit wordy for a 120 film panoramic pinhole camera, but that didn’t stop me from clicking this beauty into my cart and to my house as fast as my mouse could run. The last time I used a pinhole camera was in my Junior year of high school. We built ours from cardboard and a piece of metal that had a very small pinhole punched into it, it was all held together with electrical tape and loaded with 1 sheet of photo paper in the darkroom. It was a fun experience to walk around and decide which part of the school to place my cardboard box to catch the best photo. I tried to find those old pinhole photos, but they are lost to time and space.
I came across this camera during a search on Amazon for a medium format camera. Since I have found a great love for medium format film, particularly the 120 film, I wanted to find something that was on the cheaper end so I could experiment. Many Holga pinhole cameras came up on the search, but I was particularly drawn to this one because of the panoramic shots! On any 120 film you will get around 12 shots, the Holga Panoramic has 2 frames that will allow you 8 frames of 6×9 cm or 6 frames of 6×12 cm. I used the 6×12 frame for both of my first rolls, and I have to say that only having 6 shots forced me to put a lot of thought into what I really want to capture.
The body was large and felt very cheap; honestly, I was expecting a ton of light leaks, but it wasn’t too horrible on that front. The nice part about this camera is that you can use a shutter release to take your pictures! I used the JJC 40cm Black Mechanical Cable Shutter Threaded Release with Bulb-Lock and it threaded right onto the Holga making it very easy to take my shots with zero motion on the camera itself. As an added note: you must use a tripod with this camera if you want crisp images that are not blurry. I used a tripod and the shutter release and found this a joy to use. No headaches. This being said, I did not read the directions…. Per my usual style! My first roll I took 12 pictures and was confused as to how I could have taken so many. When I developed, all my photos were double exposed (although they looked very interesting it was not my initial intention). So, I read the instructions. It said to wind the camera to the odd numbers when taking pictures. Well, I felt silly but I live and learn! There is also a handy little guide for timeframes on the back of this camera, but I did not use them. I entered all the cameras information into an app called Lightmatic and used that. It called for half the times on the camera, which initially made me very nervous, but it was actually almost the perfect amount of time. They were all actually a bit over exposed, which was very surprising. The Holga WPC has an aperture of F/133 and the pinhole size is 0.3mm. I used the Ilford PANF 50 on my first roll and the Ilford Delta 100 Pro on the second roll (the roll that was not double exposed).
All in all, I loved how these first photos with this camera came out. I want to do some more experimenting with it to see what kinds of art I can create. They are not perfect by any means but they are unique and it was a very fun experience all together.