A project that started 2 years ago when our old friend and instant camera hero Henny Waanders sent us his private collection of 99 high-end magic Copal Polaroid lenses.
Even without any idea how to convert these amazing lenses into our dream One Instant camera, we right away started to hunt and collect all the new Polaroid and Fuji backs we potentially could get.
Plus, we carefully positioned some lenses and backs on the table of our legendary One Instant film manufactory mastermind, guru and preacher Chris Holmquist, hoping that maybe he would come up with some ideas.
Now, almost 1 year later, we know that we not only dramatically underestimated the shitty virus but also the superpowers of our magic Chris as he presented us with maybe the most breathtaking DIY camera concept ever. One kit including everything to build 4(!!) oustanding cameras.
A super sexy-looking Copal lens sliding box camera
Plus a professional pinhole camera.
In fact he slammed in 3(!!) Pinhole cameras. Impossible???? Well this is exactly what we are specialized in.
Within the One Instant DIY Camera Kit there are 3 different boxes with 3 different modules.
Stuffed with all parts and tools needed to build your 4 cameras.
The base module, with the Fuji PA-1 back, as well as all the essential tools you need to assemble your cameras, glue, brush, stain, cloth, putty, gloves, sandpaper, sanding block...
The sliding box camera module, with 108mm Polaroid triplet lens in Copal Press shutter, specialized assembly tool, 30cm cable-release, lubricating wax, laser-cut birchwood camera parts...
And the pinhole camera module with all the necessary birchwood bits, magnetic mounts, and three 210µm pinholes laser-cut into 75µm black PET film.
Yes, these look like a lot of small parts and you will definitely need quite some time for gluing...
...and even staining...everything a camera-maker needs to build their very own dream camera, step-by-step.
But don't you worry too much as uncle Chris has really prepared everything with super sense and you will also get a very detailed manual to guide you through this all analog adventure.
(the hammer is btw the only essential thing which is not included in the kit)
At the end of the day you will be rewarded with 4 very special cameras featuring a whole series of wonderful details.
4 camera modules that can be exchanged within seconds by a clever magnetic mounting system.
Perfect tools for shooting amazing One Instant photographs.
The One Instant DIY camera adventure is strictly limited to 75 pieces and only one click away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our One Instant DIY Camera Kit. Please help us to update and expand this informative section by sending any questions or thoughts to email@example.com.
How long does the kit take to assemble?
Typically it takes from three to four hours to complete the kit, with a few breaks built-in for glue and stain drying times. It could probably be done faster, but we don't recommend rushing any of the steps as it's more important to make sure everything is done right the first time. It can also be split up into multiple days... totally up to you!
Is the kit hard to make?
This kit is not a no-brainer and does indeed require some legitimate handiwork on your part. That being said, fully illustrated step-by-step instructions are included and we think any adult (or clever young person) with a bit of attention to detail will succeed in making a lovely camera! We recommend reading through the instructions at least once before starting, and if you have any questions, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is everything included?
Yes! Everything except a small hammer or mallet, which we consider nearly essential for putting the boxes together properly. I suppose you could improvise and find some other pounding device, but really, shouldn't everyone own a hammer?? Oh, and we also think it's a good idea to wear a dust mask when sanding. It's safe to say that everyone probably has access to a mask these days... *cough* *cough*
What if I break a wooden part or totally screw up the whole build?
Hey we get it, accidents happen! So if you just totally blow it and accidentally snap something in half, you can email email@example.com and we'll sell you replacement wooden parts at a reasonable rate, shipped simply via post.
Do these cameras actually take good pictures?
Heck yah! The Polaroid 108mm triplet is a proper lens and sliding box cameras have been used for centuries as a simple and accurate way to focus. Pinholes of course have their own unique 'primitive' charm, but the only real limitation is your own photographic imagination!
I've never used a manual camera, how do I determine proper exposure?
With the sliding box camera, ideally you should use a light meter for proper exposures. There are many light meter apps for your smart phone, or you can probably hunt down a nice, used light meter fairly cheaply online.
Pinhole exposures are a thing unto themselves and can be tricky to meter due to effects like reciprocity failure. Take notes and soon you'll have a good feeling for the proper exposures time. Do some research online as well; there are lots of great pinhole resources out there!
With our supplied pinholes, the different focal lengths have approximately the following f/ numbers:
50mm = f/256
35mm = f/180
20mm = f/90
What is a focusing screen and what do you mean that the sliding box camera is a "view camera"?
A view camera is a traditional large-format camera that projects the image from the lens directly onto a focusing screen, commonly a ground glass, which the photographer can use to compose and focus their image. After the image is set, everything is locked down, the focusing screen removed, shutter closed, and film inserted to make the exposure. This is an old style of photography that must be done using a tripod. It's one of several modes of photography available with the ONE INSTANT DIY CAMERA.
Can I use other packfilms with the ONE INSTANT DIY CAMERA?
Yes, but it depends on which shooting mode you're using. For instance, you could use a multi-shot packfilm (e.g. Fuji FP-100c), but you wouldn't be able to use the view camera mode with the focusing screen, because this requires the back to be opened before each shot, which would always ruin your next shot in a multi-pack.
You could use the multi-shot packfilm in handheld mode of course and you also could use it with the pinhole camera, but since there is no way to re-insert the darkslide, you wouldn't be able to switch between focal lengths. Make sense?
Do I have to buy the whole kit or can I just get the pinhole camera?
Yes, unfortunately you have to take the whole awesome kit... you'll thank us later.
How long will it take to get my camera if I order today?
Due to lockdowns, shipping delays and general global calamity, we're estimating that it will take at least 4 weeks to receive your order, possibly longer. We are very sorry for this unpleasantness, but it is unfortunately the nature of the world we're currently living in.
Why are there 3 pinhole modules included?
Why not?! By having different focal lengths that you can swap between, you can go from ultra-wide angle to a more normal perspective. Pinholes are all about having fun and we figured three was just more fun than one!
Can you build these cameras for me?
Making this kit is already an expensive endeavor, so we're pretty sure you wouldn't like it if we also had to spend hours making the camera for you. That being said, because we're gluttons for punishment, shoot firstname.lastname@example.org an email if you're really desperate and we can talk about it. Deep pockets required...
Are there any toxic parts included in the kit?
No, nothing toxic, but we certainly wouldn't recommend getting the glue or stain in your eyes, nose, or mouth. The glue is a basic PVA wood glue with black dye added and the stain is just shellac-based India ink. Nothing that you should be too worried about.
These things will definitely stain fingers and clothing, so we've included a pair of latex gloves. Some people are allergic to latex, so please be advised.
How can a DIY camera made mainly from wood parts be that expensive?
It's true that the wood itself is fairly cheap, but a lot of time and development has gone into the design and execution of this camera kit. That being said, you're getting a pretty special lens/shutter arrangement and a brand-new PA-1 film back, along with a custom made assembly tool and lots of other helpful little doodads. As usual, it's the human factor (labor) that makes our hand-made products a little pricier than your average mass produced item.
What will happen to my cameras when it rains?
Although the shellac-based ink stain is partially water-resistant, we wouldn't recommend shooting with your camera in monsoon conditions without a bit more protection.
If you'd like stronger weather protection on your camera you can try any number of different finishing options. Personally we'd recommend a traditional wax- or oil-based wood finish, especially on the sliding box camera. A lot of different finishes will do the trick, just make sure you don't pick something that makes your sliding box camera a stuck box camera!