Using a Holga Pinhole lens

Holga make various lenses for use on their cameras and one popular type is a pinhole lens.  Pinhole photography is an art in itself and experimentation is needed to get it right.

First I should explain what a pinhole lens actually is. To describe it as a ‘lens’ isn’t strictly correct because it contains a pinhole aperture measuring 0.25mm (that’s a quarter of a millimetre) and no actual lens inside.  Also, no focussing is necessary.

There’s an interesting description of a pinhole camera here:

There are no electronic contacts so when you mount it on your digital camera it will display an error message saying that the lens hasn’t been detected.  It’s a fixed aperture, so all you need to consider is setting the shutter speed. I’d also set the ISO speed to 100.

To obtain the best results, mount the camera on a tripod and set the camera manually on a slow shutter speed. It will involve experimenting and taking several shots, but that’s part of the fun of using Holga lenses.

In bright conditions, start with setting the shutter speed to around 0.5 (½ a second) and gradually increase or decrease the speed to obtain your desired result. Remember that a tripod is essential for very slow shutter speeds.

I would also recommend that you set the self timer with a few seconds delay, because the camera is likely to move slightly when you press the shutter release button.

RCS sells the complete range of Holga lenses here

I’m using a Canon EOS Digital SLR and here is the Holga Pinhole lens


Holga HPL-C

Lesson learnt – set image size on your camera before taking photos

I was recently asked to take some photos of various coloured foils to be used as a product on a web site.  The final image size should be 600×600.

I usually have my camera set to 1600×1200, to give a reasonably high resolution. However, when the image was reduced to 600×600, too much detail was lost.

Here is the original (1600×1200)


The following image was set to 600×600 and very few of the foil colours were included, so it couldn’t be used


I then decided to reduce the image size and set the camera to 1024×768 IMG_8748

The following 600×600 image included more detail and the image quality still looked good.   IMG_8748_600

The final example for my test was to set the camera to 640×480: IMG_8749

The lesson learnt was to set the image size on the camera in order to obtain as much detail as possible.  The other thing to consider, knowing that the ultimate image should be square is to arrange the items to be photographed with a blank area on either side and then resizing and cropping shouldn’t be an issue.

This final image is 600×600 with a blank area at the top and bottom, but the objective was achieved and included as much detail as possible, so it’s wise to consider setting the camera correctly before embarking on such a project!IMG_8749_600


Here is a link to the site where these foil pics are used: