Why use a hi end, feature rich, DSLR slaying 4/3rds camera and then strap on a plastic lens?
Well for me it’s a nostalgic journey back to my early years of family holidays and fun times with a roll of 35mm film and 24 shots. It’s unpredictable, soft focus and heavily vignetted and it reminds me of waiting for Truprint to deliver my roll of film back with 24 shots of magic (and my free film). Some had those annoying stickers on them but I kept them all. Each shot represented a part of my life and the experiences I enjoyed.
Yes a modern camera captures images and better but I feel we often get hung up on technically quality and I can certainly be my own worst critique when it comes to my personal photography and have already binned several images because I treated them like my more commercial work, striving for perfection in each shot.
The GX-1 has given me a lot more freedom already in my personal photography journey but slapping on the Holga lens has pushed it further again. Hopefully my kids will look back on the shots with the same fondness and memories I have when I see early holiday snaps from some amazing holidays I had as a child.
The lens cost under £20 delivered from Amazon and it got it’s first test drive yesterday at our local village fete.
As I said the lens is pure plastic, no glass just lightweight plastic. It’s rated at f/8 and 25mm, so high iso and grain are all there for that authentic old school feel to the images, along with some heavy vignetting at times. Typically I am using it at around iso 800 and above, but even on the GX-1 at iso6400 it copes remarkably well producing a relatively noise free image in good light. But to be honest the more noise the better I feel.
To get the lens working on the GX-1 I had to adjust a setting in the menus to say “shoot without lens” but once done the GX-1 works in both full manual and aperture priority modes. I tried it in both but preferred aperture priority and let the GX-1 sort out metering and just used some exposure comp to lighten or darken when needed. I also set the crop on the camera to 1:1 for that retro square feel and set the colour profile to a tweaked vivid setting. The images in the gallery are in camera processed jpg’s just resized in blogstomp for this article. The lens does have 4 focus settings but these are pretty vague at times. Focusing distances between 30cm and infinity is a rough guide so using the live view to adjust the focus is a doodle and apart from a couple of operator errors it was pretty good, although a soft image is a character flaw / trait of the lens so don’t expect L series glass pin sharp quality.
For the first in a long time yesterday I felt like I just went out with my family and captured some real family moments without the worry of having my work camera strapped to me or how technically correct was that last shot. For that alone the lens and body combo is priceless and long may that continue.
My advice, buy a Panasonic Lumix GX-1 for a great a family / work camera but purchase a Holga lens for it and have some fun.
Thanks to long suffering family and friends for putting up with me pointing a camera at them every waking minute or family outing and also to our wonderful neighbours, Richard and Barbree for yesterday’s afternoon Jubilee high tea.