This is a version of the classic Holga re-made for 35mm film. It has a smaller squarer body, with what looks like the original lens mount on the front, which has been relabelled with a focal length of 47mm – this has been commented on a few times, but seems to be accepted that this is the correct focal length – I would guess the meniscus lens differs inside the mount.
Focusing is done through a continually adjustable zone focus system – or guess the distance and hope for the best, as I suspect the symbols to not be very accurate. Close focus is about 1m.
Shutter speed is the standard 1/125s, and there is a bulb setting. Oddly for a toy camera it has the welcome inclusion of a cable release socket and a tripod bush, making long exposures easier. You can also double (or more) expose, which is perhaps the best thing.
Holgas are something you either love or hate. Used carefully they can produce some brilliant effects and quite stunning images. Or you can fuck up entirely, focus wrong and forget to take it off bulb, and also manage to make some amazing images.
Two pieces of advice: The viewfinder has atrocious parallax error, and will cut the top off your frame, so aim up a little. And lose the lens cap, you will just keep forgetting to take it off.
The aperture setting on the Holga is a matter of some contention. It is widely argued that although the aperture selector moves and has openings equivalent to f/8 and f/11, the actual opening behind the lens is only approximately f/13, i.e. smaller than the openings on the selector. This is calculated by This Site based on the size of the opening, though this is unlikely to be 100% accurate as the effective aperture is not the size of the hole behind the lens, but the size of the image of the iris on the front element. The difference will be small with a meniscus lens, but it depends exactly how far the opening is behind the meniscus. In any case, on newer 120 Holgas this has apparently been fixed, but not on the 135 series. In terms of the 35mm Holga this aperture of 13.3 is also widely discussed on the Flickr group, based on a diameter of 3.5mm.
In general, I think it is safest to treat the Holga as a Sunny 16 Camera, with the caveat that in the north of England that needs at least ISO 200, if not ISO 400 film to be safe. I have used ISO 200 in hazy sun in the winter and been very under exposed. ISO 400 in the summer was a little over.
Type: 35mm viewfinder camera
Lens: Plastic 47mm, f/13 meniscus lens
Focus: Manual continuous zone focus with four distance guides
Shutter: Single speed simple leaf shutter, 1/125s, and bulb setting
Flash: Standard hotshoe
Transport: Manual, uncoupled advance & shutter release for multiple exposures
Accessories: Standard tripod & standard cable release threads, film plane mask for enhanced vignette
Dimensions: 115 x 75 x 65mm; 170g
*(published aperture figures f/8 and f/11, see text above)
My Sets on Flickr taken with the 135BC
Holga 135BC Review on The Plastic Lens
Holga Aperture Mod
Holga 135BC Flickr group
Holga 135BC Lomography Microsite (which is full of shit, and they are asking £49 for it in the shop, when it is about £35 most other places…)