Holga Goes Digital Thanks To A Raspberry Pi And Pete Taylor’s Awesome DIY ASCII Art Hack

Nov 30, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

Holga Goes Digital Thanks To A Raspberry Pi And Pete Taylor’s Awesome DIY ASCII Art Hack

Nov 30, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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holg120d-frontPete Taylor’s Holga isn’t your ordinary Holga. It isn’t even your ordinary hacked Holga. In fact, you might say that Taylor’s Holga is one of the most unusual modifications you’ve seen done to one of the notoriously hacakble cameras. It started out innocently enough…

Taylor gutted an old, broken Holga to make room inside for a Raspberry Pi, which effectively turned the once medium format film camera into a digital model. To do this, he had to remove not just the guts of the Holga, but also the lens to accommodate the built-in lens on the Raspberry Pi’s computer board. He then added a wireless USB adapter. This allows him to have his 120d automatically upload the photos he takes to his blog. He also added a 49mm adapter on the lens to accept various filters, in addition to a 3.5mm camera trigger socket, a LED indicator which glows in the viewfinder when a photo is being taken, and a rotary switch that allows him to choose between photo, video, or program mode. It’s unarguably a pretty legit hack.

picamwithpi
Photo By Pete Taylor

The Raspberry Pi’s camera is about equivalent to a typical smartphone camera, with just 5 MP. It takes decent enough photos and since the Holga is part novelty act in the first place, the hack seems quite appropriate. Most of us would think having a Holga 120D was cool enough on it’s own. You get the look and feel of shooting a film camera (keep in mind Taylor’s Holga 120D has no LCD preview screen) with the affordability and convenience of shooting digital.

But, Taylor thinks big. He didn’t want to stop at having one of the world’s only digital Holgas. Taylor wanted to be able create photos that couldn’t be made with Instagram. He wanted his Holga to be able to produce ASCII art. That’s right. He wanted to be able to take a photograph of something and have his digital Holga spit out the photo as a piece of artwork consisting of ASCII characters. Like this…

Photo By Pete Taylor
Photo By Pete Taylor

And like this…

ascii art1
Photo By Pete Taylor

I know. Pretty wicked, right? Once he had the idea for ASCII art, he employed python tools and a script by Steven Kay, which Taylor modified slightly. Once that was in place, Taylor was in business. Now, every time he takes an ASCII “photo” and is around a wifi connection, the Holga 120D posts the image data to his Blogger account as an html document.

20141027_192526_Android
Taylor’s Holga 120D’s very first ASCII art image.

In an email exchange, Taylor noted that the positive feedback he’s been receiving from his DIY project is leading him to consider starting up a Kickstarter to allow any Holga to be converted to digital, but for the moment, we’re just going to have sit back and wait patiently.

Check out more of Taylor’s work on his website and be sure to show him a little love over on his Twitter.

[ via Reddit ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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4 responses to “Holga Goes Digital Thanks To A Raspberry Pi And Pete Taylor’s Awesome DIY ASCII Art Hack”

  1. Tomi Pohjamo Avatar
    Tomi Pohjamo

    Mitä noi on✌

  2. F-Mount-Me Avatar
    F-Mount-Me

    I thought the whole thing about Holga was the light leaks and the lens? Good for him to have him stuff all that technology in there, but seems like a waste if you can’t get an image from behind the lens. I will stick with my F mount Holga lens, but again, more power to him.

  3. Patch Avatar
    Patch

    the Holga portion of the hack seems entirely irrelevant. He could do the same hack in a project box, or some plastic POS he got for 1$ at a flea market.

    1. Tiffany Mueller Avatar
      Tiffany Mueller

      Yes, he could have, but he wanted to keep it looking like a camera on the outside and a broken Holga was the cheapest thing he could find that was large enough to fit the Raspberry Pi inside. Plus, he likes the chunky feel and look of the Holga, so the that’s what he chose. :)