Konstruktor project

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Build your own 35mm camera in 1-2 hours says the deftly designed box that houses the Lomography DIY camera. This weekend I set out to build it…

The ceremonial unboxing brought back memories of childhood toys, as you open up each box and discover the wonders within in the shape of black plastic moulded camera parts, tiny springs and assortment of even smaller screws.

I set the stopwatch going on my iphone and started upon step one, the 50mm lens. I’m sure this step is meant to take three minutes…forty of them ticked by, along with a nice glass of Rioja and various un-childlike expletives before it snapped and screwed together. Maybe I should of followed the Japanese instructions for improved clarity?

The multi-cog system of the film rewind assembly was next and equally fiddly but when done looked as precise as any precision engineered Leica – maybe they should ditch the hand crafted brass parts. Then I moved onto the shutter section, which involved hooking the smallest spring known to mankind around a tiny notch whilst simultaneously screwing down the shutter piece in three different places. Time for another swig of wine to steady the nerves, as Bailey the cat jumps up on the table to investigate why he is not currently the centre of attention.

Day two of the build…actual build time is still way over the quoted packaging. The viewfinder assembly is next and the one part that comes pre-assembled. There’s a blue piece of protective film on the mirror. Do the instructions inform me to remove this? Not in any language…but I rebel and do it, whilst adding film rewind and advance buttons and add together the front, back and lightbox. We’re nearing the end; it’s looking like a plastic camera. Attach the lens and a few screws for the camera back. Affix the Konstruktor logo badge and we’re done.

I’m hoping the few screws and one of the worlds smallest springs left over from the build are spares… Cock the mirror lock button and look down into the viewfinder and I see a soft vision of the world. It works! Well, if it loads, retains, winds, exposes and rewinds a film, it’ll have worked. I’ll keep you posted… Build time, slightly over an hour or two!

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