So, as you can see I went out and did a little more exploring with the Holga HL-N. The impetus was finally getting my Nikon D700 back from the repair shop. As you may notice in each of these shots the vignetting of the Version 2 HL-N on a full frame sensor is much more pronounced than on the crop sensor D300.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned that might help you get the most out of your copy.
Overexpose the shot by a stop or two on your D700 and then pull it back in post. Some vignetting is good, but underexposure will lead to excessive vignetting and also a strange pattern as you see in test III. That comes from the way the hole that lets in let is constructed on the HL-N. If you look at the rear of the lens you’ll see that around the larger center hole are several smaller perforations. This, I’m assuming increases the vignetting affect for 35mm and cropped sensors and solves some of the early complaints regarding the lack of Holganess of the Version 1 model.
Another thing: if you are shooting with a current generation body with live view you can actually compose with much less squinting. You see, in live view, you can avoid the incredible darkness of the viewfinder and actually focus in something approaching daylight. Of course most of us like composing through the viewfinder, but it’s a good option for when the situation just doesn’t let that happen.
Also, don’t expect your lens to actually be at f/8. From what I can tell I’m shooting primarily and f/13 lens. With my regular 120 Holga I can slap in some 400 speed film and all is well. When I’m shooting the HL-N I lock the ISO in at 800 and call it good.
So, anyway, get out there and shoot. The potential for some great results is out there and while it takes a little learning to really use the lens along with all of its quirks I think the results are worth it.