X

Digital Holga SLR lenses (sample photos)

Take a look at what happens when you put a $25 plastic lens on a $1,200 digital SLR.

Joshua_Goldman.jpg
Joshua_Goldman.jpg
Joshua Goldman
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Joshua Goldman
ESB_Holga60mmwide_362x547.jpg
1 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
The base Holga lens is just a simple plastic lens with an effective aperture of f8 and a focal length roughly equivalent to 60mm with a manual zone focus. It produces heavy vignetting and even in full sun you'll probably need to keep your sensitivity set above ISO 200. The kit I tested included this base lens, three close-up, two macro, fish-eye, 2.5x telephoto, and wide-angle lenses. All of these additional lenses just slide onto the front of the base lens.
Turtle_Holga60mmwide_441x666_362x547.jpg
2 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
It wasn't uncommon that I needed to use ISO 800 or above--even with a decent amount of light--so it helps if you've got a camera that produces good high-ISO photos. I tested with a Nikon D7000 (it's available for several other SLR and ILC mounts) and it might seem a bit backward to slap a cheap, plastic lens on such an expensive camera. After all, the lens produces soft photos to begin with and then add in more softness from noise and noise reduction and, well, you get pretty soft photos. That's not what most people want from a digital SLR, so these lenses definitely aren't for everyone.
copper_pot_Holga_60mm_wide.jpg
3 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
While this photo might look like it was taken at night, the light falling on the pot is direct sunlight. The lenses can be challenging to use and you won't always get usable photos, however, a big part of the fun of using them is experimentation. Simply changing your framing slightly can get you completely different results.
lens_flare_Holga60mm.jpg
4 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
Lens flare and chromatic aberration are par for the course when using the Holga lenses. The key is learning to use them in your photos instead of being angry that they're there.
roses_Holga60mm.jpg
5 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
A pack of three close-up lenses are available for attaching to the base Holga lens. Focal lengths are 120mm, 250mm, and 500mm. They simply slide onto the lens, making it easy to switch between them.
Holga_30mm_macro.jpg
6 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
For those who want to get even closer to their subjects, a two pack of macro lenses is available with 30mm and 60mm focal lengths.
bee1_60mmHolga30mmmacro.jpg
7 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
Though I shot this hand held, it's best to use the macro lenses on a tripod or other support.
fisheye_frog.jpg
8 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
The fish-eye lens was just a lot of fun to use.
telephoto_comparo_441x592_441x592.jpg
9 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
Of all the lenses in the kit, I found the 2.5x telephoto the least interesting to use, but it can be helpful for framing as long as you don't mind the increased off-center softness.
wide_comparo_441x592.jpg
10 of 10 Joshua Goldman/CNET
Similarly, the wide-angle lens doesn't change things much, but regardless I spent most of my time testing with it attached.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos