Holga f=60mm 1:8 Lens (f/8)

Review of the Holga f=60mm 1:8 Lens (f/8).

Overall Rating:

Holga

This made-in-China lens is 11 years old and its design is 40 years old! It weighs an ounce and comes in a small box made from card stock. It is not a retrofocus design. The lens element itself is actually plastic, not glass — no ED glass here! It also lacks an ashperical element. It does not feature any form of image stabilization so getting tack-sharp images handheld may be a problem!

This lens was originally part of the Holga camera made for the Chinese market and it caught on with artists because of its unique images due to light leaks in the camera and vignetting in the lens. Plus the lens is quite soft.

Holga
sunflowers (detail)

Performance

First, this lens is not a true f/8. It's more like f/32 (the aperture hole has a diameter of 1.61mm), and it suffers from heavy vignetting and this is part of its appeal, however, the vignetting can be so severe that it blackens the edges of the frame. The aperture hole has smaller holes drilled around it causing the vignetting to be uneven. Not surprisingly, this lens does NOT suffer from focus breathing as having its focal length change as it is focused would be quite the feat at this price point. Also, an f/32 lens has a serious dust-on-the-sensor problem unless having spots on the final image is considered a feature.

The vignetting is worse at close focus than at infinity focus because the lens is closer to the sensor at infinity focus.

There is plenty of distortion.

Sharpness

Even the center of the lens is soft! This are also plenty of other abberrations present in the detail of this image.

Holga
transformer, notice the odd vignetting (detail)
Flaring

As with every other abberration, flaring is present, too.

Holga
flaring
Color Fringing

Even a lens at f/32 can produce tons of color fringing.

Holga
center
Holga
corner
Bokeh

The bokeh is non-existant because the aperture is so small. It is basically a pinhole.

Holga
bokeh (notice the heavy vignetting which happens when the lens is focused to near subjects)
Infrared

This lens works for infrared photography! And the vignetting disappears when filtering light with an infrared filter!

Holga
infrared

Construction

This lens is all plastic including the lens element itself. The lens element is neither single-coated nor multi-coated.

The aperture opening is fixed at an advertised f/8 (but actual f/32).

The lens has a choice between focus distances of a single person, a small family of people, a large group of people or a mountain range (∞).

The lens may not have any light leaks, but its fit to the Nikon F lens mount if not exactly snug. Of course, the lens mount is plastic.

There are no filter threads and the front rotates as it is focused.

Conclusion

The character of this lens cannot be denied. It has vignetting so wild and extreme that it may take a while in Photoshop to create the same effect. Its dream-like effect is quite attractive, so there is no problem recommending this $16 USD lens as a MUST BUY.

Specifications

Focal length 60mm
Maximum aperture f/8
Minimum aperture f/8
Lens construction 1 element in 1 group
Angle of view 39.7°
Minimum focus distance Approx. 122 cm/48 in
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:18 (0.06×)
No. of diaphragm blades 0 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size Slip-on
Diameter x length 59 x 26 mm/2.3 x 1 in.
Weight 28 g/1 oz.
Price $16 USD

Images

Holga
Holga
Holga Holga Holga
Holga

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