On some Holga models there is a black foam pad that sits between the film and uptake spools and the camera. The pad is rectangular in shape and serves to provide tension to keep the 120 film firmly against the mask. These pads are sometimes affixed rather lamely, and, in the case of my first outing with my Holga GFN 120, will come loose and wind up in your film uptake spool the first time you use it. (I took mine in for processing anyway, but warned the photo techs at the lab that there was little square sponge like pieces of foam that will be falling out of the film roll.)
What happens when you don't have anything to create a little tension and your film roll is just loose inside the camera? Fuzzy pictures happen. When the film doesn't stretch somewhat snuggly against the mask, the focus will be ultra bad and vignetting will be skewed. We know that Holgas do not always have awesome focus, but if it is over the top fuzzy, you will know something isn't right. We are going to permanently fix this problem so you don't need to be continually messing with folded cardboard, match books or whatever pain in the ass solution some of us have messed with. If this were an infomercial, this is the part where the voice over would say something like, "And who has time to fold cardboard? Throw all those messy boxes out forever!" Point is, if something you have come up with is working out for you, then far out. But if you are wondering why you may not be getting the results of others, give this a shot. Its easy.
Step 1: You Will Need....
Hot Glue Gun - (the kind used for general crafting, some consider this a cool gun)
Hot glue stick
Fun Foam (Black 2mm thickness, comes in 12 by 18 inch sheets for .99 cents. www.westrimcrafts
www.westrimcrafts.com , although I picked mine up at Ben Franklin's on the West Coast.)
Step 2: Get Your Glue Gun Going
1. Insert your glue stick into your hot glue gun according to manufacturers directions and heat up. This should be craft glue and not some sort of molten industrial strength glue that is going to melt through your Holga.
Step 3: Remove Back and Assess the Situation
2. When the glue is heated and pliable, remove back of Holga like you would when you are going to change films. Remove uptake spool. If the pads are intact, give them a pull to see how loose they are, if they come off pretty easy, then proceed. If not, you may not need to tweak this part of your Holga. If one pad is missing, pull the other one out. Notice that there may be tape residue or adhesive residue where the former pads rested. This is where you will want to place your new pads. (photo)
Step 4: Cut Some Foam
3. With scissors, cut two pieces of "Fun Foam" into a 21/4 inch by 3 inch strips.
Step 5: Fold and Glue
4. Fold one of the pieces 3/4 inch lengthwise onto itself and using several thin strips of hot glue, press it together.(photos)
Step 6: Fold and Glue Again..
5. Cut excess to form 3/4 inch wide pad. Folded seam will go towards the mask, the glued edges will face the left end wall of the film compartment.
Step 7: Cut Away Excesses
6. Cut excess foam away from the piece.
Step 8: Glue and Position
7. We start from the left hand side, the unexposed film roll side. The smooth rolled part will go into the film roll compartment facing up toward you and laying against the part where edge of the mask is. (See photo) You don't want the cut, exposed edges of the foam piece going against the flow of the film.
8. Carefully and somewhat quickly zig zag thin strips of hot glue where the pad will lay in the middle of the well of the film roll compartment. Position the pad between the top and the bottom of the compartment leaving spaces at the top and the bottom clear of foam as to not interfere with the action of the ends of the film spools. (Photo)
Step 9: Press Into Place and Repeat With Other Side.
9. Press pad into place, positioning it as told in instruction 7.(prior frame) Hold firmly for a minute or until glue sets.
10. Repeat with the right hand side, the film uptake compartment side, but this time the only difference is the rolled edge of the foam pad is going to lay face up towards you and against the edge of the camera opposite the mask.
Step 10: Fin
12. Go shoot some film and be the artist you want to be.