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LENS PORN: Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon
Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon


First Published: December 2015
Revised: 01 September 2016
Revised: 26 May 2017


The Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 was originally a fixed non-removable lens on the Holga 120n, a medium format camera that had its cult following. It is a wide angle prime lens on medium format, for which it was originally made. It is equivalent to using a wide 32.7mm lens on full frame cameras.

When I bought my first DSLR in August 2015, the Nikon D5200, it came with a Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR2 kit lens that brings wide angle up to standard range, complete with digital and automatic/AF features.

Being new to this, the second lens I ever had was this Holga 60mm. It's tough and challenging to use, but I will also attribute this lens to helping me understand manual exposure even more, as a self-taught newbie.

Depending on what camera mount the lens was made for, the marking on its name ring will vary. Such as HL-N for Nikon, HL-C for Canon, etc.






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CROP FACTOR

One of the key things I missed when writing this review for the first time was the crop factor. This lens was MADE FOR MEDIUM FORMAT. The Holga 120n (sensor size of 6x6) has a crop factor of 1.83x larger than your full frame 35mm sensor.

When I first tried this lens on my camera, I thought it was too tight to be a 60mm, and the aperture was like f/22 on my kit lens when I did a comparison.

Later, I did a calculation and this 60mm prime lens is actually 109.80mm f/14.64 on full frame, and 164.70mm f/21.96 on crop sensor DSLRs.

No wonder!

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)





BUILD QUALITY

Everything about this lens screams CHEAPNESS. Dinky plastic from the mount to the focus ring and to the lens.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)



It's a very simple construction. It's made of the mount, a focus ring, one plastic lens element at the front, and inside are the sieve and apertures. That's all inside this lens. Unfortunately, there is no filter thread for you to attach a hood or UV/skylight filter.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)



When mounted on my camera, the lens locks in place, but it's loose and it rattles when I turn the focus ring.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)



There is no distance scale on the focus ring, but rather, icons. In the manual, the icons represent a designated distance: 0.7 m (Single Person), 2.0 m (Family), 6.0 m (Group) and 10 m / infinity (Mountain).

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)




The focus ring was very tight. When I opened it up (my first ever lens hack!), there's a very gummy fluid in the focusing helicoid that feels like adhesive tape. I took that off and that solved the matter.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)



The aperture plate is what makes the lens dark. The sieve plate has holes in it, which serves to create a vignetting effect. I temporarily removed them to brighten up the aperture. They can always be put back. For instructions about the hack, see my other post here: www.photojournalbyrattusyu.com/2017/05/holga-hln-60mm-f8-lens-hack.html

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon (Medium Format Lens, 165mm f/22 on APS-C!)





IMAGE QUALITY

This lens is every pixel peeper and sharpness sticklers' worst nightmare. It's very soft, very dark, and has severe color fringing on high contrast edges. But that's what people get this lens for -- the lomo, vintage 1960s color film look.

As I said before, if you don't remove the plates inside, the lens is an f/22. Seeing through the viewfinder is very difficult as it's very dark. You will need to use flash when shooting indoor.

It's crazy how it reacts to bright light sources like when going outdoor. Everything looks washed out and highlights glow like crazy. It's a matter of technique for one to overcome this, and technique/effort is what makes this an interesting lens to learn with.

Yes, the images are very soft. Sometimes I feel that I need to boost the shadows a bit in post processing just to give details of the shape. But 99% of the time, I leave them as they are.



CONCLUSION

I love the quirky effect of this lens. Those crazy soft images look like they were shot with 8mm movie film! The dark aperture is not an issue for me, but this lens was made for medium format. 60mm is wide angle on medium format. This becomes a medium telephoto lens (165mm) and becomes too tight on my DX camera, limiting my use of it. Image quality or the build quality are non-issues here. I just wished it was really WIDE!



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Samples


Shot with a Nikon D5200.

Most of the images here are unedited, some were boosted for Levels.


Photo Album
https://flic.kr/s/aHskwfRzJt



Landscape and buildings

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples
Fisher Mall along Quezon Avenue corner Roosevelt.

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples
St. Lourdes Church along Retiro corner Kanlaon Street.
Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon



Nature photography on sunny outdoor
This includes the modified and unmodified versions.

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples
Flower garden somewhere in the neighborhood.

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples
Beautiful scene on a sunny late afternoon at Rizal Park.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon



Night/dim lighting using the modified HL-N

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples
Taken in the evening with my phone's LED as lighting.

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples



Minimum distance to focus is 1 feet.
To get closer, I attached a macro extension tube.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon
Normal room lighting, modified version of the lens.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon
Unmodified version, used with flash.



Macro images with the modified HL-N
Used with macro extension tube.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 for Nikon

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples

Holga HL-N prime lens for Nikon... unboxing, hack and samples



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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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