Holga Cameras were manufactured in the 1970s in China and it started as a cheap medium format plastic camera that was mass produced. Due to it's low cost manufacturing process, it used a plastic lens and there were many defects like light leaks within the camera film compartment.
In the current age of ultra sharp images and ever increasing megapixels in digital camera photography, Holga toy cameras are enjoying a revival of fortunes. A characteristic of the Holga Camera is that it produces a vignetting effect around the edges. This are dark corners that appear at the edges of photographs due to the light leak issues. In addition, the rich contrasts of colors captured by the plastic camera lens is now viewed as artistic and reflective of the person who had taken the photograph. In essence, the drawbacks of the Holga camera is now it's signature advantages over other run of the mill cameras.
As a medium format camera, the Holga uses 120mm medium format photography film which is larger than the standard 35mm. This are used by the Holga 120 series of cameras, of which the basic model is the 120N. Additional features exist in other camera models with built in flash and color filters. A variant also exists that uses a glass photographic lens instead of the plastic lens in the camera body. To date, the most complete camera model that is popular would be the Holga 120 GCFN camera, which has a glass lens, color filter and built in flash. The Holga 120 camera can be fitted out with an adapter which allows it to use 35mm photographic film. Alternatively, you can choose the Holga 135 camera series, which has a smaller body and uses the standard 35mm film. Both camera models, the 120 and 135, would produce the vignetting effect that the Holga Camera is so well known for.
Operation of the Holga camera is very simple and it is almost a point and shoot camera. There is a function to adjust between outdoor and indoor lighting while the focal length is pretty much anyone's guess although there are a few settings. It fits in very well with the philosophy of the camera, which eschews formal photography techniques for more casual and snapshot use.
Holga cameras are now marketed by Lomography, which is an Austrian based company. In essence, there are holga cameras which are manufactured by China manufacturers. Hence when purchasing one, be careful to look out for the "Lomo" brand if you would like to purchase a Holga Lomo Camera. There is often a cost difference between the 2 manufacturers although the quality and end product is negligible.
Holga cameras come in a variety of colors. In the age of digital cameras, taking photos the old school way with such an interesting camera is bound to attract endless attention. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity. Have fun with your Holga Camera!