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The original Holga is a 120mm film format plastic toy camera with a lo-fi “lomo” aesthetic and a remarkable cult following. Photos taken by Holga artists often feature bright colors, vignettes, and spur-of-the-moment framing. Thanks to the Holga iPhone Lens Kit, those effects are now available to those of us who don’t want all of our photos to look like hipster art projects. And, considering the price you’d pay for rolls and rolls of film, processing, filters, and an actual Holga camera to get the real deal, the lens filter kit is a steal.
While die-hard toy camera enthusiasts probably won’t consider the filter kit a replacement for an actual Holga, it does have an array of fun effects that any novice iPhone photographer can appreciate. Effects include dual, triple, and quadruple split lens filters that produce a variety of kaleidoscopic effects; a 60mm macro lens; a red filter with a clear heart-shaped center; and red, green, yellow, and blue filters that drench your photos either solidly in color, or color the edges for warm, cool, and dreamy looks. Though almost every effect can be replicated with an iOS app, it’s so much more fun doing it on the fly with Holga’s circular lens adapter. It allows you to simply rotate each filter right into place and shoot away with the iPhone’s normal camera mode.
We “heart” the various effects we can achieve with the Holga iPhone Lens Kit.
At first glance the filters themselves don’t look crystal clear, but this actually contributes to the dreamy, Holga-like effect the kit aims to achieve. They also add a small amount of vignette to each photo, including photos taken in no-filter mode. And, the included 60mm macro effectively captures the world up-close, from flowers to raindrops. The case itself is slim, lightweight, and well constructed, but we didn’t love that the filter ring added some bulk to our phone—we weren’t even able to fit it in our back pocket. The case also blocks the iPhone’s built-in flash, which could be a problem if you’re hoping to take photos in low light.
The bottom line. We might not opt to keep the Holga Lens Filter Kit on our iPhone all of the time, but we like having the option. For all the simple photo fun that it provides, we’d say the kit is money well spent.
Holga iPhone Lens Filter Kit
Fun add-on for the iPhone. Includes a macro filter. Available in a number of colors. Easy to use.
Filter is bulky and not removable. Most filters can be easily replicated using photo editing software or app. Case blocks flash.