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Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Review

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Review - A review of the Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye lens converter that fits over a Holga HL lens on a Micro 4/3 camera.

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FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens in Convertors and Other Adaptors


The Holga FEL-HLW is a lens that slips over one of the Holga HLW Micro 4/3rd lenses to give a fisheye angle of view - well that's what it says on the box! It's available for £25 from HolgaDirect. We tried it on the Holga HLW-OP lens that we reviewed last year.

Holga Fel Hlw

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Features

The Holga FEL-HLW is of plastic construction and slips over the Holga HLW lens when it's mounted on a camera. There are no focus or aperture controls. Anything that can be set is done with the lens hidden behind it. The front is approx 70mm diameter tapering down to 55mm where it clips over the camera mounted lens and it's about 62mm in length.

The attachment comes with soft plastic front and rear lens caps and a pouch case.

FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens 

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Handling

The lens is easy enough to attach and remove - you just push it on or pull it off. The mounting end is just tight enough to prevent it from slipping off when the camera is pointed downwards. It's recommended that focusing is set to infinity and this has to be done on the camera mounted HLW lens before the FEL-HLW is attached. It would be better if the adaptor had ridges or rubber and gripped onto the camera lens so you could focus using the FEL-HLW.

Holga Fel Hlw Front View

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Performance

The first thing to note is that the view on the LCD when the FEL-HLW is attached is no where near what appears on the box. Wider angle, yes, but not fisheye! What you get with it attached on the 25mm is a lens around 12mm with loads of fisheye style full frame bending, but not a fisheye style circular view as ilustrated on the box.

The photos below are taken using the Olympus OM-D. The left side are with the Holga HL(W)-OP and the right side with the FEL-HLW attached.

Holga lens - Path

Holga lens - Church
Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Path

Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Church

Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Puddle

I did try holding it on the front of the Olympus 17mm lens and that gave the fisheye style effect I was expecting. Below is the attachment on the Holga lens (left) and held over the 17mm (right).

Holga FEL-HLW on 25mm Holga Holga FEL-HLW on 17mm

We mentioned the quality of the Holga 25mm was pretty poor in our original review. Attaching this lens just goes to amplify that lack of quality, and control of flare is incredibly bad.

Holga lens - Flare Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Flare

What you have to do with this converter is play to its strengths - and that's poor quality. Yes you can turn that around and shoot specifically to get flare, bendy edges and soft focus.

I purposely shot into the sun and moved around until the flare patterns were controlled and made a creative addition to the photo.

Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Sunburst

You could also use the lens to shoot backgrounds for composite photos. These trees look pretty poor as a stand-alone shot, but digitally place a model in front, shot from a similar angle using a sharp lens, and the trees will make a great uniquely soft focus background.

Holga lens with FEL-HLW - Trees

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Verdict

Don't expect anything better than a milk bottle bottom with this accessory. It's a fun lens that cannot be taken too seriously. If you like messing around and being creative you may find it an interesting item to add to your kit. I certainly won't be using it again though!

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Pros

Easy to attach
Dramatic flare - if you like that sort of thing

Holga FEL-HLW Fisheye Lens Cons

Aweful imposing flare when the sun is in the same direction
Not as "fish eye" as the box shows
Not very sharp
Introduces additional distortion
Blocks focusing from lens below

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