Friday, January 06, 2012

Holga 120 Pan Review

Holga 120 Pan (Panoramic)

Manufacturer: Universal Electronics Industries
Date: 2010
Format: 120 film
Price: $89.99 US
Summary: Plastic wide angle panoramic camera

Technical Details:
 Close to 180° view angle
 90mm Lens
 6x12 sized negs
 Plastic build

 Subtle vignette and edge blur
 Wide angle view
 Big negatives

Field Notes:
  The Holga factory continues to keep churning out plastic goodies and this one is super. Super wide that is! The Holga 120 pan camera boasts an incredible almost 180° view. Following along the lines of their 120 WPC pinhole camera, this model adds a shutter and lens assembly to the mix. The camera features a pretty decent viewfinder, dual hot shoes, and a tripod mount. It has your typical Holga zone focusing and usual cloudy/sunny aperture switch. A nice touch is a spirit (bubble) level that allows you to make sure your camera is level when using a tripod. The camera back suggests ISO 400 speed film for best effects but the manual does say 100 speed is OK with sunny days. Just remember your fixed shutter speed is about 1/100 second unless of course using the bulb shutter mode. Loading your film is just like any 120 Holga camera. Make sure you leave the film selector switch on the camera back set at 12. When advancing your film after each shot, you have to advance to an odd number. This will keep your exposures from overlapping due to its panoramic format. Shooting with the 120 Pan was fun. It really is like any other Holga except for the fact of its size. You need to make sure you hold its larger body steady when hand holding. If you decide to use a tripod, they do recommend the Holga Shutter Release Set (SRS-120). For this test I loaded the camera with some expired Fuji NPS 160. The results were favorable to my lighting conditions at the time, but in the future I would probably use 400 speed film as I do most of the time with Holgas. Since your shooting panos, remember you only get 6 pictures with a roll of 120 film. The format is 6x12 and that makes for some great sized negs! If your into wide pano style photography, then I would definitely recommend getting one. Cant wait to get this baby down to the shore! I bought this unit from the good people at


Carol Mikkelson said...

Gary, Do you know if the lens is plastic? It says "optical" on the lens and I was wondering if optical meant glass or if it was just differentiating it from the pinhole version? Thanks

jim rohan said...

Nice review Gary. And I see you have the same blurring that I do on both sides of the image. That's somewhat reassuring to me.
Carol, the lens is indeed plastic.

C Gary Moyer said...

I took a quick look at a few of my other Holgas, they all say optical lens. I only have plastic lens models. Just a little piece of marketing savvy I guess. Thanks guys.

charlie said...

any idea on the near focus distance?

C Gary Moyer said...

Manual says no closer than 1.5 meters

Anonymous said...

Hi Gary,
How can I find your email address? I want to contact you about teaching a photo workshop.


C Gary Moyer said...

I can be reached at cgmoyer(@)

Matt Smith said...

Nice Holga review.
We are actually giving one away in two days on our blog:

It's good to see film coming back around. I think the 'film is not dead' book is quite popular on Amazon right now as well.

Good stuff. Good review.