It sounds like a B grade epic theatre type movie about old testament life, but the 135 BC is a new Holga camera that takes 35mm film. The bc stands for (I think) bent corners which refers to the vignetting you get on your photos, probably produced from the curved corners mask inside the camera body. *addit (April ’08): the lomographic society is now selling these cameras and marketing them as the Holga 135 BC black corners and that makes sense too. Mind you I notice they (lomo) are bundling them with 200 iso film in some cases, I would suggest that 400 iso film is a better option.
The deal was this – Powershovel sent a few lucky people worldwide a 135 BC camera with 5 rolls of film. You shoot the five rolls of film within a certain time, post the film (undeveloped) back to the nice people at Powershovel and keep the camera. Later on, the developed negatives and photos from the 5 rolls you shot will be posted back to you.
I had fun using this camera. It has a typical Holga lens mounted on the front of a plastic 35mm camera body, the difference between this lens and the lens found on the 120 format Holgas is that this is labelled as ƒ = 47mm instead of the 60mm of the 120 format cameras. Also the shutter release is on the top of the camera itself and it is threaded to take a cable release with standard shutter speed selection is ‘B’ and ‘N’ (1/100sec according to the documentation). With an uncoupled film advance multi-exposures are possible and with the “b” setting long exposures are easy too. A tripod thread is there to attach a tripod to steady your camera for your long exposures and a hotshoe for flash photography. The viewfinder is centrally placed right above the lens. There is an aperture switch on top of the lens housing, identical to the Holga 120 cameras for cloudy/flash or sunny. I thought the aperture may have been slightly smaller with the sunny setting, there seemed to be a smidgen of square masking at either vertical edge of the aperture, but it wouldn’t have affected the ƒ-stop by that much.
The main challenge for me using this camera was thinking in non-square format, as that is the usual mental/visual compositional template lately – but that really wasn’t too much of an issue. Another (perhaps greater) challenge I faced was not seeing the results of different shooting conditions with the camera, as I had to send the undeveloped film (results unseen) back to Japan at the end of the project. Being a control freak I just had to get an idea of what conditions produced what visual result on the negative, so I ran a roll of film of the same speed as the project ones (400 asa) through the camera after the first roll I took for Powershovel.
I was pleasantly surprised by the look of the shots. With the black corner vignette effect around the edges, they reminded me of Lomo LC-A exposures, but the Holga has a lot less latitude as far as different lighting conditions and slower film speeds of course. The provided lens cap fits so snugly to the front of the lens that in a couple of exposures I had forgotten to actually take it off. This never happens with my Diana cameras as you have to set the subject distance by rotating the lens within the confines of the plastic lens barrel, whereas with the Holga lens you rotate the whole barrel for distance settings.
All in all it was a fun experience, but it will be strange to see the negs a couple of months after I actually took the shots! In the meantime, here are a few from my test roll (click on the thumbnails to bring up larger images)
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