The New Holga Digital Vs Polaroid 600, The Ultimate Camera Showdown

A few weeks ago I wrote a post mocking the new Holga Digtal Kickstarter campaign. Holga's PR team caught wind of my post and decided to send me the new Digital Holga. At the same time the Impossible Project sent me a Polaroid 600 camera with Impossible Instant color and BW film. Which is better? Let's find out. 

Instead of doing any real research on either camera I decided to try to figure both cameras out myself and film the process. 


The Holga Digital is extremely simple and confusing at the same time. It's simple because it only has one button and one rotator knob but it's complicated but you never know what it's doing. All you know is that a red light is either on or off. I'm not sure if there is a working memory card in the camera, if it has enough space available, or even when the camera is taking pictures. 

To "format" the card we got a note that you need to hold the shutter button down for 10 seconds until the "flash" fires. They didn't send us a flash so I used my Sb-910. 


The Polaroid 600 is easy to setup if you know what you're doing but I certainly did not. As you can see in the video I was completely confused and Chelsey had to eventually walk me through it. Now that I know what I'm doing, I feel a lot more comfortable with the Polaroid than the Holga because I actually know what's going on with the Polaroid. It makes noises and flashes to let me know that everything is actually working. 



Using the Holga is simple... sort of. You press the button and hope that it takes a picture... That's basically all you can do. And after reviewing the images, it seems to take the pictures about 5 seconds after you release the shutter button. The camera makes no sound and doesn't give you any sign that it is or isn't working besides the red LED on top which seemed to randomly turn on and off. 

During my "real world test" I didn't realize that the Polaroid camera has a second shutter button that allows it to take pictures without the flash. It also has an exposure compensation slider that I certainly should have taken advantage of. Now that I know the full power of the Polaroid system, I must say it is far superior to the Holga. 


Image quality

Both cameras take pretty bad looking pictures but that's kinda the point. The Holga takes particularly terrible images even in pretty good conditions but in many cases they end up being blurry because you never know when the camera is actually exposing. I would assume that the image was captured, I would then move the camera, and the camera would then record that movement. Stupid, infuriating, trendy? Maybe. 


At first I assumed that there was something wrong with our Polaroid color film because each shot appeared black for over 20 minutes. Later we learned that the new Impossible color film can take over 40 minutes to process. After an hour, our color images looked pretty good but I certainly wouldn't call that "instant." I specifically remember being at parties and having a color Polaroid taken of me and I was able to watch it develop in my hand in a few seconds/minutes. 


The Holga broke after about 15 shots

The Polaroid is still working



The Holga Digital camera may actually be worse than I thought it would be (and I didn't have high hopes). It came to us already partly broken and it worked for about 20 minutes. I personally can't recommend this camera but some of you may enjoy it has a piece of history or a collectable. It may even be a cute gift for the photographer who already has "real" gear. I would expect it will end up decorating shelves rather than actually being used after the first day or two of use (It will probably break after a couple days anyway). 

The Impossible Project has done a great job of resurrecting Polaroid film and cameras, but it doesn't seem to be as good as it used to be. With color film taking 40 minutes to process, nobody is going to get excited using it in a social setting. I could literally take a digital picture, edit it in Photoshop, and print it out in less than 40 minutes  (to be fair, black and white film is much faster). A 3 pack of film and the Polaroid 600 camera currently costs $205 so this genre of photography isn't cheap either. Even still, there is something magical about Polaroid cameras. I currently have Polaroid shots of me and my friends decorating my bedroom that were taken years ago. I could see myself buying a few more packs of Impossible film in the future. 

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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This is hilarious. Putting an SB-910 on that camera is like putting a bow-tie on a pig.

This video had me in tears.

IMHO, The Polaroid shots looks interesting even though some were over exposed.
And yes, I like how you guys are doing these informative and still entertaining reviews.

I knew before, it takes about an hour to get a color photo on a polaroid. I use Fuji instant film on my large format camera, it develops in seconds.
I did a vacation game with kids to try old school film photography on my large format camera. They took photos of themselves and it worked out great :)

I can show you how to use that stuff, if you want to get into it :-p
And after that you can try to use my 100 year old tin type camera, (On that your SB 900 looks like an ant) ;)

Thanks again guys, I'm still smiling after watching the video

From what I have read, original Polaroid color film did develop quickly but the current film from the Impossible Project is slow because they had to make their film without Polaroid's help. I don't know if this is true but I've read a few people speaking about this online.

That tongue you ripped out is part of the camera and protects the shot from stray light before it starts developing

Haha ya we learned that afterwards

I had the same experience with my 35 year old Polaroid SX-70. It was broken, and after refurbishing by Impossible I thought it was stil not fixed, because my first shots all came out darkblue. Not until an hour later as the images appeared I realised that this was normal. Reading the manual sometimes helps....The good news is that Impossible is now marketing their 2.0 films, which develop much faster and do not require shielding from light after ejecting from the camera. Still, a far cry from the original Polaroid films.

For near-instant results, we just use a Canon Selphy. I've used it at two parties to print right from my phone or camera.

I would love to know who does your Morgan Freeman style voice-overs at the end of your videos.

Yes, when Impossible bought the factory, most chemistry that Polaroid was using was no longer made or available. Impossible had to literally start from scratch with creating the emulsions and layers required for it to function in existing Polaroid cameras. Yes, it works differently and develops slower. It can be a little frustrating when we are use to original Polaroid film, but really, it's quite an accomplishment that they're making it work considering the circumstances! Improvements are being done as they experiment. The newest black and white develops just as fast as Polaroid. The color still takes a good 30 minutes, though you can see something after 5 minutes or so.

I'm reading rare articles on the Holga digital camera. I actually have a lot of fun with mine (well all of my Holgas) and I like what it does to available light sources.