Today was a terrible day, lots of rain and wind. So I decided to stay inside and build a DIY camera. I had seen it second-hand packet on eBay at less than half the price of the new version, an unwanted present. Really? I would have been happy with a gift like this, each to their own. Everything was there, even the stickers and screwdriver.
I had a look through the instructions and just as I suspected, they weren’t great. I have other Lomography items and they seem to spend more money on leaflet design and promotion than they do on the actual instructions.
In the above images, you can see the different parts I made, ready to be snapped together. I found the screwdriver was poorly fitting and stripped the screws.
This reviewer found the same thing. Plus he recommended sorting the screws before you start as they are all clumped together in one bag. I agree with that direction, though it didn’t seem to matter in the end. I found my counter did work correctly though.
It did take me the 1-2 hours suggested and here it is all done.
Even though I put it together correctly, I didn’t have any confidence in it to take actual photos. When I looked through the lens to observe the shutter motion, I didn’t see any light appearing when it was in action. That part comes pre-assembled and you do not construct it, you slot it in. So I did my part ok, but the supplied part seemed faulty. I put a film in and took 5 shots before the whole thing became stiff and jammed, like many toy cameras. I only intended to take a few shots to trial the camera anyway, but still, it was disappointing.
When I developed the film, my suspicions were confirmed. It was completely blank. No fogging, but no photos. The end of the film was fogged as you would expect, meaning the development process was fine. On another site, I read the builder made it once then took it apart again to make improvements and repairs. I might take it apart another day, but not for now.
Here is a great video I found detailing the box contents and finished camera. I did not find his photos so maybe his didn’t work either?
Afterward, I went to the Lomography site to check if there was any extra information on their own site. They have the same instructions posted online with videos. BUT the videos are very poor, no close-ups and dull lighting. When you are trying to look at a small black part being fitted to another black part, you really need to zoom in and have stronger lighting. From what I could see, I didn’t do anything wrong and the shutter just doesn’t work on my version.
Though for 1-2 hours I was thoroughly engaged, now I am thoroughly disappointed. I don’t think I will bother with another DIY camera unless it is an actual gift. I might try to make a pinhole though, maybe I can scrounge parts from this camera…ooooh…or turn this INTO a pinhole camera.
UPDATE: I had another go at getting it working. Read about it here.