Picture of How to convert your Holga to a 35mm camera
Holgas are freaking sweet cameras, but that medium format film is a pain in the ass to get processed at anywhere but a pro shop. If you're like me and don't have any pro shops nearby, then this instructable is for you!

Sorry about the blurry pictures, I did this at night.

P.S. this is my first instructable, so bear with me.

P.P.S. This modification was based on the one available at:
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need

A Holga camera
Long, thin rubber bands (2x)
Electrical tape
35mm film
Cardboard (or any kind of padding material)

Step 2: Fix the Reel

Picture of Fix the Reel
See that the Holga works by reeling the 120 film into the spool? We want that to reel 35mm film, so we're going to have to shrink the holes. Get your rubber bands.

Wrap the rubber bands around each edge of the take-up spool so that the hole is roughly the width of 35mm film. You can adjust the size by fitting the exposed end of your film into the hole.

Now place your spool in your camera. Use cardboard (or padding) to get it to fit in snugly.

Step 3: Insert Film Here

Picture of Insert Film Here
Now put in your 35mm film. You'll need to pull a bit out.

Push some through the spool's hole and twist the knob a few times to get it to take.

You'll need a lot of cardboard (or padding) to get the film canister to stay where it's supposed to. Put a bunch above and below it to get it to stay in place.

Step 4: Blackout!

Picture of Blackout!
Replace the back cover of your Holga.

Wait... what's this? Your viewing window for medium-format film is going to expose your 35mm film!

Fix this problem with a little electrical tape. Cover up the window and any other visible cracks that might let too much light in (except the shutter, we'll need that later).
There's a way to unload film in a sweater, if you don't have a light-safe bag.

Basically, fold the waist & hood portion up tight & stick your hands through the arms.

It works in a pinch!
There are any number of Holga-ish 35mm cameras out there to play with as well, I find mine in thrift stores and consignment shops. Easy to use, easier to load and I rarely give more than a buck. Holga's and Diana clones are ridiculously over-priced for what you actually get.
The only thing is that the majority of the 35mm Holgas don't have the "qualities" that most lomofans want.  The 35mm BC Holgas are probably the closest you can get to a real medium-format Holga.

But those who want to do lomography really aren't as worried about the price-for-what-you-get.
Batness4 years ago
Thanks for this! Pretty helpful, although I'm visual and the blurry photos weren't as helpful as a sharper image would have been. Ah well I sorta got the idea.

I think taping the *inside* of the viewing window helps to keep out light even more.

The following link really helps with the "34 click" rule thing as well:
chimplicker7 years ago
You've got a nice, clear and useful instructable. I completely agree that there is no point in using a Holga for Medium Format, because the terrible quality of the lens means that you loose all of the resolution that makes Medium Format worthwhile in the first place.

For the peeps who don't know, and might be thinking of going holga, I feel obliged to say something about holgas. They are crappy cameras. They might look cool, but not as cool as any ancient LOMO you can find on ebay for cheap from E Europe. They are ultra-cheap to manufacture - hence the "arty light leaks" and plastic lenses" - and heavily marketed as though they are something special. It's clever marketing, but think about what you are spending cash on. They now sell for more than you can get a decent (glass lens, variable f-stop, fully functioning) used medium format camera for.

If you like the holga-photo look, and want to use 35mm film take any cheap point and click camera (even a one-use), bash it about to introduce tiny random cracks in the frame (=light leaks), and put different bits of opaque / not-100%-transparent plastic in front of the lens. Or use a digital camera and look on google for how to photoshop the holga look.

Anyway, if you've got one already hack it!
it's not for the resolution that people buy holgas, although mine does really well, better than my other MF, it's mostly for the odd effects, ability to double-expose as much as you want, etc. it's really a toy camera that takes some amazing pics, and mine focuses really sharply.
How many pictures do you get out of a 35 mm roll? I used the 34 click rule, but I don't know when it's done. Help!
theglockner (author)  adamscarroll7 years ago
I haven't done this in a while, but i remember that you can definitely feel it when it ends. My guess is a little less than 24 because I think 34 clicks gives more room than a regular camera would.
arteagafoto7 years ago
Es una buena práctica, pero faltó la foto de cómo se ve el negativo impreso. Es esa imagen por la que vale la pena la modificación. La imagen se plasma sobre todo el negativo, incluso sobre los sprokets.
Mad Mike8 years ago
Why? I know Holgas suck but why take a medium format and change it to a 35 mm. So wrong. Just buy one of the many crappy 35 mm out there. Other than that pretty nifty.
Ohm8 years ago
That is why you unload in total darkness.
Read the instructable. It says to unload it in a darkroom
theglockner (author)  Weissensteinburg8 years ago
Darkrooms don't always have a safelight on. You turn off the safelight to unload your film, just like you would do if you were reeling any kind of film to develop it yourself. Total darkness. Sorry I didn't make that clearer.
A darkroom wont do when unloading, you cant have ANY light at all, even a safe light will expose your film.
meddler8 years ago
I thought this was very well done. The pics were a bit blurry but i got the point. I have avoided holgas in junk stors and such just because of the film issue. Next time i see one i'll pick it up and try this.