PetaPixel

Beautiful Homemade Polaroid Twin-Lens Reflex Camera Made of Wood

Feast your eyes on this gorgeous twin-lens reflex camera that was designed and built from scratch by photographer Kevin Kadooka, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Portland. It uses a Mamiya-Sekor 105mm f/3.5 Chrome lens and has a Polaroid back for shooting 4.25×3.5-inch instant film, and is crafted out of laser-cut birch plywood.

Here’s what Kadooka tells us about making and using the camera:

The (yet unnamed) camera is a spiritual descendant of the Mamiya C-Series TLRs – besides, it takes a lens pair from one of those. The impetus for the project was to make a camera that melded the beauty of medium-format instant film with the unique experience of using a TLR camera. (The latter part of that statement is conjecture actually – I’ve never used a TLR in my life.) It took about two months of concept sketches, 3D modeling, and toying around with the design before templates were sent off to be laser cut out of aircraft grade birch plywood. A couple of the parts, like the mirror and ground glass, were also custom-made for me, and the lenses and Polaroid back were eBay finds.

Once had used the completed camera for a bit, Kadooka writes,

After a couple of weeks and two packs of film, I can report that it is freakin’ fantastic to use, but mostly because it’s so ridiculous. It also garners a lot of attention; I’ve heard passersby murmur “is that a camera???” The viewfinder is easily usable in most conditions (I had some trouble in the darkness of a restaurant), but the folding hood is kind of a joke (hope to improve on that in a future iteration). Parallax has proven to be a minor problem at close focus (~2ft or so) but is very easy to correct. It’s an experience to use, I’ll say that [#]

For an instant camera, using it actually takes a bit of patience. Manual metering (luckily there’s an app for that!), and focusing on ground glass means spending some time deliberating over each photo – and then waiting for the pull-apart film to develop of course takes one or two agonizing minutes. That’s not to say it’s all bad of course, it’s just a very different experience from using, say, a DSLR.

Here are some photographs he has captured using the Polaroid TLR so far:

Something tells us that this camera would be massively popular as a Kickstarter-funded project — it could arrive arrive on your doorstep as a build-your-own-camera kit!

You can find more of Kadooka’s photographs and camera projects over on his Flickr page.

(via DIYPhotography)


Update: Here’s a new video that offers a closer look at the camera:

Kadooka tells us that he’s strongly considering manufacturing/selling the camera.


Image credits: Photographs by Kevin Kadooka and used with permission


 
  • ChrisGampat

    Arrive at your doorstep as a build your own camera kit? You know that lens is super expensive, right Mike? ;)

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    :)

  • ChrisGampat

    And with that said, I want two!!! :)

    *Chris Gampat*
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  • jdm8

    Doesn’t even need a kickstarter project. Laser cutting enables any quantity to be made, so long as you have permission to use the laser for commercial purposes.

  • Dr.Pogi

    That lens costs around $150. Super expensive? Really?

  • ChrisGampat

    I’ve seen it go for way more than that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.s.a.shaffer Joe Shaffer

    And now I can add a TLR to my list of wants.

  • tiredofit123

    Hmmm……make a reflex mirror version like an autograflex, with walnut instead of plywood, stained and finished………

  • http://www.facebook.com/MikeZimmermanMZPHOTO Mike Zimmerman

    OK I can appreciate the craftsmanship, and the total concept, the flawless execution and the “return” to film…BUT, it’s a wooden Gowlandflex. Peter Gowland (petergowland.com) made a series of med. format & 4×5 TLR’s during the 60’s & 70’s. He used them for shooting people & fashion. They were a bit clunky, and you had to know how to use them, but they were super cameras. Check out the website, they look amazingly similar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MikeZimmermanMZPHOTO Mike Zimmerman

    OK I can appreciate the craftsmanship, and the total concept, the flawless execution and the “return” to film…BUT, it’s a wooden Gowlandflex. Peter Gowland (petergowland.com) made a series of med. format & 4×5 TLR’s during the 60’s & 70’s. He used them for shooting people & fashion. They were a bit clunky, and you had to know how to use them, but they were super cameras. Check out the website, they look amazingly similar.

  • DamianMonsivais

    wow… yes there are other cameras out there and have been for over 150 years.

    Yes different from using a dslr, the new throw away cameras

  • Dr.Pogi

    Well you are definitely looking at the wrong places.

  • eclecticbuzzard

    I’d buy one!

  • joshmolina2

    the link was broken. It seems like something that wouldnt be that difficult to do though. Some basic optics calculations for the position of the focal plane and the dimensions of the box would be based on whatever format the lens might be for. I think i’d like to try and give this a shot.

  • DamianMonsivais