We’re launching a new blog series of Holga Mod or Modification articles to highlight some of the ingenious ways in which some photographers have modified their Holga equipment. First up we have this awesome mod by Regular Rod who took a new Holga 120 PAN Panoramic camera and adapted it to use a high quality Schneider lens elevating what is already a great camera into something truly amazing! As this is quite a lengthy article we have split it into two parts so stay tuned for the second and final part which will be published soon!
If you have done any modification to your own Holga Camera or have anything else you would like to write about on our Holga blog please feel free to contact us using the link at the top of this page. Anyway, we’ll now pass you on to Rod:
Steve Barnett had fitted a Schneider Kreuznach 90mm f6.8 lens and shutter to a Holga 120 Pan toy camera using readily available fittings and hand tools. He lent it to me for a weekend. I was delighted with the results and decided I had to build one myself. The components were ordered (on eBay actually) and it was first a matter of waiting for things to arrive, mostly from China.
- Holga 120 Pan Camera
- M42 to Nikon adapter
- 12 -17mm M42 – M42 Helicoid
- M42 Metal Body Cap
- 90mm Lens, Shutter and Retaining Ring
- 4 off 2mm x 6mm countersunk head self tapping screws
- Black opaque PVC electrical tape
- Epoxy adhesive
- Spirit Level Accessory for Right Hand Hot Shoe
- Range Finder for Left Hand Hot Shoe
- Home-made, Plastic Springs (cut from a supermarket milk bottle)
- There were a few consummables needed:
- Masking Tape
- 1 sheet of P240 Wet and Dry Paper
- 1 sheet of P600 Wet and Dry Paper
- Matte Black Paint
- White Paint
- Contact adhesive
- The hand tools required were simple enough:
- Thin bladed table knife
- Small, long-reach, cross-headed, screw driver
- Exacto razor saw (or flush side cutters)
- Half round file (100/100 medium cut)
- 1.5mm twist drill bit
- 2mm twist drill bit
- Bead reamer countersink tool
- Dremel or similar small power drill
- Calliper or Vernier
- Thick Card
Here is what you get to start with.
After carefully removing the internal lining by lifting the sides outwards gently and lifting it out and putting it safely to one side, then unscrewing two, self tapping screws, from the inside, the lens and shutter come away easily. The wires to the flash shoes need to be removed as they will be redundant. I just pulled mine out but it might have been safer to cut them at first and deal with the bits later. The front light baffle has to be removed because a flat surface is needed on which to mount the M42 to Nikon lens adapter ring.
I used a razor saw because I had one. Steve used flush side cutters because that was what he had to hand. I immediately scratched the front of the camera because I failed to mask off the vulnerable parts with masking tape before I started the sawing off.
The dust from the sawing seemed to me to be a potential long term problem if it was accidentally retained in the camera, so I decided to completely dismantle the Holga to work on the front away from the rest of the body…
To do this the top of the Holga needs to come off. The first step is to remove the winding knob by sliding a thin, table knife blade under it and carefully prising the knob upwards until the rubbery glue that holds it on gives way and lets you pull it off. Here you can see that there is not a lot of glue to break, not a hard job if you go slowly.
There are three self tapping screws holding on the top, once removed the top simply lifts off.
This lets you get at all the bits of white tape that held in the wires for the hot shoes. It also reveals a number of holes that might lead to light leaks…
There are a total of eight self-tapping screws holding on the front of the body. Three at the top are accessed by poking a thin, long reach, cross headed screw driver through three holes at the back of the camera at the top edge.
Underneath those are two countersunk headed self-tapping screws to undo and then three more plain self-tapping screws along the bottom edge. The front lens mount comes away readily once all these screws are removed.
Lift it away carefully! There are some interesting arrangements underneath to serve as light seals.
To get the front face of the lens mount flat and smooth a sheet of P240 wet and dry paper was taped to a flat board and then holding the mount in two hands concentrating on keeping it flat to the abrasive surface, it was drawn back and forth until all signs of the cut off light baffle had gone. Then the process was repeated with the P600 wet and dry paper to make a smooth, flat, front surface that remained parallel to the rear. Then a piece of thick card was cut to fit tightly inside the lens mount from inside and pressed up to behind the rectangular hole at the front. With the aid of a straight edge, two pencil line diagonals were drawn on the card from corner to corner of the rectangular hole to determine the centre of the hole. The external diameter of the bayonet part of M42 -Nikon Bayonet adapter was ascertained by careful measuring and a pair of compasses set at half that diameter. Then, using the centre marked on the card, a circle of that external diameter was scribed onto the front face.
Well, that’s the end of the first part of this great article on Modifying the Holga 120 PAN Camera. Stay tuned for the second and final part to be posted very soon!
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