At some point in their photographic journey, many people who take up arms with a camera, especially if they start shooting film, toy with the idea of building their own camera. There are a lot of options out there for scratch building, and not all of them easy, requiring a wide array of tools.
Lomography has come up with some very interesting concepts in the past few years. The company’s latest product combines a DIY approach with film photography and environmental consciousness. It’s LomoMod No.1, a combination of liquid-filled lens and a DIY medium format camera made for you to assemble it from scratch and get creative with it. I personally love this concept, so let’s see what you get and how you can use this little DIY film camera and the accompanying lens.
What would you do with a computer you used 20 years ago? Most of us would take it to a recycling center, perhaps feel a bit emotional about ditching it, and that’s about it. But Iranian photographer Alireza Rostami had other plans for his old, broken computer. He dismantled it and turned it into a working large format camera.
Photographer Brendan Barry has made quite a few DIY cameras from most unexpected objects: a pineapple, a mannequin, a loaf of bread, to name just a few. His most famous project is a giant camera and portable darkroom made from a $200 camper. In his latest project, Brendan has converted a shipping container into a fully functional camera with built-in darkroom and teaching space. As he jokingly says, it’s basically “the world’s biggest, slowest and most impractical Polaroid camera.” But it’s impressive nevertheless!
We’ve seen our fair share of unique DIY cameras powered by Raspberry Pi, with the latest one coming from a self-taught programmer Martin Fitzpatrick. He has created a camera that’s basically a hacked Etch A Sketch. He named it Etch-a-Snap, and it will turn your photos into quite precise Etch A Sketch drawings.
We’ve seen some interesting DIY lenses, like those made from crap, an iceberg, or 3D-printed components. But have you ever seen a lens made from scratch? And by that, I mean sand, rocks, and metal turned into a lens? Well, Andy George of How To Make Everything took DIY to a whole new level. He combined raw sand, rocks, and metal with his knowledge and experience and made a working camera lens entirely from scratch!
Sometimes, you come across a DIY film camera that’s just beautiful in its simplicity. The LIMES 120 is one such camera. Made from an old Hasselblad medium format film back, it shoots 120 roll film and sports either an Industar 110mm f/4.5 lens and a tea can, or a pinhole.
Building your own camera can be a whole lot of fun. Lucus Landers has been building them for a little while now. His latest creation is the Landers AL6, a 6×6 medium format camera. People have made 6×6 medium format cameras before, but this one’s not your typical DIY project that anybody can do at home. It was made using a mix of techniques including 3D printing, sand casting, welding and milling.
While many of us may not have the resources to craft something like this ourselves, it’s still interesting to see how it’s done. Fortunately for us, Lucus recorded videos showing the entire construction of the camera from start to finish. It’s a 9 part playlist, and it really is fascinating to watch.
Animation filmmaker and self-taught photographer Ursula Ferrara has made her own 16″ x 20″ camera entirely from scratch. She shares some images of the creating process, as well as the resulting photos. Her daughter, Annick Emdin, describes the magical process of being photographed by this camera, made with a lot of passion and devotion.
Paul Kohlhaussen, a student from Richmond in London has created a fully functioning 3D printed camera. Paul took the best features from an array of costly high-end cameras and reverse engineered them into the camera of his dreams. Without the funds to afford the camera he needed to get the perfect shot he wanted and no knowledge of CAD, Paul taught himself everything from scratch when designing and building the eight components that make up the camera’s modular design.