Author Topic: Holga PC 3-D  (Read 357 times)

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Francois

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Holga PC 3-D
« on: May 01, 2017, 10:39:28 PM »
I've had this camera for a bit over a year but never used it, so I thought I would take the World Pinhole Photography Day and the fact that a few of us are looking into the options for a stereo cameras as valid excuses to try out the long neglected piece of plastic.

On my first contact with the camera, I was really surprised at how big it is. It's huge piece of plastic but is yet not much heavier than a regular Holga.
In the hand, it feels quite sturdy. It has a tripod mount on the bottom and the shutter button is threaded to take a cable release. On top is a bubble level and a very flimsy pop-up viewfinder. The back sports a small and very vague exposure chart, a red window and a switch for the 16-12 frame count... though I really don't know why they went to the trouble of putting it there since the camera can only take some 6x6 pairs. The back is held by the famed Holga clips and has a neck strap. The front has two openings for the pinholes and two lens caps that can be used if you want to expose single images.

So, I loaded some old Ilford Pan-F plus in the camera (I had never tried that film so I might as well kill two birds with one stone) and headed out.
One if the biggest difficulties I found is that you have to think in terms of both infinity focus and 3D effect on every shot. This is really not obvious, but it would be common to all stereo pinhole cameras.
One of the things I just adored about the camera is its shutter. While it's totally silent, it does give some very positive feedback. When you press the plunger on the cable release, you know the shutter is open. The shutter is smooth and doesn't shake the camera when used with a cable. I would even go as far as saying that it's one of the best pinhole shutters I've handled! The film advance is typical Holga, so no problem there. But it would have been nice to have on its back a reminder that you have to advance the frames in sets of 2 (frames 1-3-5-7-9-11). But that's not too hard to do by hand. The bubble level is also a very welcome addition for those that are horizontally challenged like me. This feature was designed for the panoramic version of the camera with which it shares the main body mold, but it's a nice addition for the smaller format.
But now on to the bad points. There's the viewfinder... where to start with this one... lets just say it's worse than awful! First of all, it's flimsy beyond belief. Second is it only shows a severely cropped version of the image! The thing is that it was designed for the lensed version of the camera. But the pinhole shows a dramatically wider image. There are sight marks on top of the camera but I think they are designed for the panoramic version. So, you have to guess the field of view. Before I use it again, I will have to make myself some type of viewing card for framing.
Then, there is the exposure chart on the back of the camera. It's vague at best and would completely overexpose the film by many stops. I had a hint that it was off when I got it and proceeded to calculate the proper exposure according to the f/stop.

But apart from that, the camera is pretty good. I tried it without taping the back like I would a normal Holga and was surprised about how well the back stayed on and how lightproof it was. You get just a hint of a light leak on both sides of the film but even then, it doesn't reach all the way into the image.
On the film it produces slightly small 53x56mm images. But that's nothing to really whine about. The pictures also have some very clear vignetting, especially on the top of the image. I looked at the interior of the camera but couldn't find anything out of the ordinary so I figure that it's part of the pinhole aesthetics.

I must say that I give Holga my two thumbs up when it comes to the pinholes themselves. They are punched out of very thin and blue black metal and are extremely sharp. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they are laser cut even if the camera is so affordable. The pinholes are 0.3mm f/135.

So, all in all, would I recommend the Holga Stereo Pinhole? Definitely!
Even with the few nagging details like the viewfinder, it's still a dream to use. The stereo separation is adequate with a 65mm interoccular distance, a value that is close to the average human interpupillary distance (that varies from about 52 to 78mm) giving the camera normal looking 3D.

Here's a few examples and a view of the corrected exposure chart (reciprocity failure nor calculated).
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Francois

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Re: Holga PC 3-D
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 09:20:16 PM »
For those interested in making a custom viewfinder for this beast, last night I got my trigonometry out and calculated that the camera has an horizontal field of view of about 68° (I calculated 68.76°). That is with the eye in the center. Vertical is a bit bigger but I haven't calculated it so far.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.