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LENS HACK: Holga HL-N 60mm f/8

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 Lens Hack
Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 Lens Hack

Holga's medium format 120s came out as a poor man's camera in Hong Kong, 1982. It was followed by the 120n, which came with a plastic lens, from which this Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 was originally attached as a fixed non-removable lens. Due to its popularity, this lens is now available for cameras in different mounts.

The Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 creates a surreal lomo effect. However, the problem with this lens that it was built for medium format. The aperture of this lens is very dark, and when I did a comparison with my Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens, it's actually an f/22, not an f/8 (maybe it is an f/8 on medium format).

My second problem with this lens is that the focus ring was too stiff, as if you need a wrench to turn it. That was already taken care of when I opened up the lens and removed the sticky stuff they put on the focusing helicoid.

Oh, by the way... this was my first ever lens hack which dates back to 2015.

The mechanism of this lens is very simple so if you have one and want to do this, you won't need any madskillz to succeed.


The first thing you will need to remove from the lens is the 'sieve plate' (refer to #2 in the photo below. This is what gives the lens a vignetting effect. After removing it, you will notice that the lens brighten up to about f/11.

In image #4, removing the screw will let the lens split into two parts -- the first half is the mount, the other half is the focus ring that holds the front element.

Image #5 shows an 'aperture plate' that was removed. It just fits tightly and is not glued, so you shouldn't have problem taking it off. Use a stick to gently yank it out.

So there... you're now done and the lens is now an f/8! There's nothing else for you to do after this point but to put the lens back together. But for the sake of curiosity, I took it a step further and removed the other parts to show you the plastic concave lens.

Thing is... this will make it brighter to shoot indoor. When shooting outdoor, you will need to put the sieve and aperture plates back together, or else you will get overexposed images.

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 Lens Hack

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 Lens Hack

Holga HL-N 60mm f/8 Lens Hack


Further Reading:

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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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