This Is How You Make a Twin-Lens Reflex Film Camera Out of Lego

Front view with lens box installed. [Photo: Carl-Frederic Salicath]
Film photography these days is a pretty niche thing to do by most photography buffs. It’s even geekier to build yourself the simplest pinhole camera with an Altoids container. But possibly the geekiest thing you could be to build a full-fledged film camera out of some old trinkets and Lego bricks, like Carl-Frederic Salicath did.

Salicath is a Norwegian photographer who built the “Legoflex B1” in hopes of recapturing the simplicity of photography from the olden-days of film cameras. To do this, Salicath made a twin-lens reflex camera that shoots using 120-mm film. The camera resembles the famous Rolleiflex cameras that had two lenses: one to expose the film and another to mirror the scene to a viewfinder on top of the camera.

For the housing, Salicath elected to make a body completely out of Lego--with a good helping of duct tape to light-seal the interior. The matching lenses at the front of the camera were salvaged from a pair of binoculars, and the mirror for the camera’s viewfinder came from Salicath’s girlfriend’s make-up kit.

The film chamber and holder. A lid goes on top, with the rewind lock on it. [Photo: Carl-Frederic Salicath]

Most of the camera’s inner moving parts are from Lego Technic kits, including a single piece that acts as the camera’s aperture. The film chamber, located at the back of the camera, advances the film using a set of rods and brackets from a Technic kit.

As you might expect, operating the camera is pretty tricky. First, to focus the camera, you need to shift the lens box back and forth to change the focal point. The shutter also needs to be operated manually as well, because it is simply a sliding one-brick-wide plate with a slot in the middle you need to move in order to expose the film.

The first proper photo from the camera. [Photo: Carl-Frederic Salicath]

The resulting images are less than perfect, with a slight blur from manual operated shutter and the less-than-optimal light seal. Personally, I think the images still have a really cool ethereal look to them.

Be sure to check out Salicath’s site, The Darkroom, for the full build breakdown (so you can build you own), along with more images produced by the LEGOflex B1.

[The Darkroom via PetaPixel via Gizmodo]

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This story, "This Is How You Make a Twin-Lens Reflex Film Camera Out of Lego" was originally published by PCWorld.

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