At just £15, the 60mm F8 is an economy lens for D-SLRs, designed to offer the bespoke ‘Holga look’, giving soft focus images with vignetted corners. We’d normally say these were ‘image defects’ but it’s all part the retro charm with this lens.
It’s not just the pictures that’ll turn heads, either, as the shape and colour of the lens will attract attention long before you’ve shot any; as well as classic black, there are white, red or yellow colourways to choose from.
The lens has a basic build, and just like the lo-fi images it produces, the exterior feels rather toy-like, too. Four manual focusing options give you a rough focusing distance, but they don’t make too much difference with the centre focus staying soft throughout.
With no connections for the lens to communicate to your camera body, you’ll be forced into shooting in Manual mode, so you’ll have to gauge the exposure yourself. This may sound daunting, but it’s really quite simple, and all D-SLRs give an indication of the correct exposure when in Manual. As the lens has a fixed f/8 aperture, you’ll only be able to change the shutter speed, so if the shots are too dark, then you need to slow it down or increase the ISO value. If, on the other hand, they’re too bright, then you set a faster shutter speed. This makes the lens a fun learning tool for newcomers and it produces some unexpected, experimental results along the way.
You’ll struggle to find any lens at the Holga’s£15 price point, making it extraordinarily good value for money. Yes, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony, but if you like the Holga look, and want to play with some lo-fi, retro styling, then it’s hard to find a reason against buying one. The 60mm focal length feels a little too long when used on an APS-C camera, but the 90mm equivalent is good for picking out details in landscapes, and is spot on for portraits.
If you’re a fan of arty effects and want a genuine retro look, the £15 Holga 60mm is a great buy.
- Street price: £13 (As of July 2016)
- Aperture: f/8
- Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony & Pentax
- Visit: www.lomography.com
This review was first published in the June 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.