One day on the internet I came across a photographer name Cary Norton that built a Large Format camera from Legos. The idea was brilliant. Below is his that was Built.
Large Format Camera built by Cary Norton
I decided I wanted to shoot some sheet film and have a cool camera like his by making my own. So first project was to get all my materials. I needed a lens, a back to hold the film holders and the ground glass for focusing, and of course, LEGOS! and lots of them. I purchases most of my Legos from Fallout Games in Tempe, AZ. They have big bins to choose what you want. I did buy some from the Lego store in Chandler, but it is cheaper at Fallout for sure.
So basically the camera is made up of to boxes that live inside each other. As the smaller box slides in and out, the focus is adjusted. I began by building the inner box first. with a lens board. The one in the photo below was a mock up board. After I built this one, I found some good pieces of legos that would work great as a lensboard as they had some flat surface (pic 3). I drilled a hole out the center for the lens.
Pic 2 – Inner Box
Pic 3 – Lens Board
Once I had the inner box complete, I started the outer box. At this time I did not have the film back so I was not sure how to finish it. Cary made a piece of ground glass and added it to his design. I was able to find a rotating Toyo back on ebay. I am super glad I was able to find this back. It ended up fitting great. I can shoot both landscape and portrait. Once I received the back, I had to redesign my camera a couple times. I ended up making up the film back and camera housing using some bricks with knobs on their faces and flat pieces to hold the film holder in place. Hard to see in the photos I have and harder to explain. I did have to use some glue on the flat pieces to the knobs to hold the back securely. I also used some caulk to seal up the edges where the back met the camera. I did not glue anything else except the back for the tripod mount. Once I had the film back mounted, I added the lens to the lens board and camera was in working condition. I used a Nikkor 180mm lens (photo below). It is 5.6 wide open. My first shots were of my dog Riley (pic 10). They came out better than expected. I shot around F11. No light leaks, but I did shoot in low light with a strobe. I have also shot Shirley Sue for a few shots. I have yet to develop the color. Next test will be outside with some color!
This was a fun project. There was a lot of build and re-builds of it. Ended up spending more money than I wanted. Approximately $90 give or take $10 in Legos, $100 Lens, $80 film back. I do need a big back now to carry it somewhere.
I like to thank Jared Elizares for some great input on film plane distances, film backs and lenses. Most importantly for hooking me up with some film and film holders! Thanks you!!!
Pic 4 – box in a box
Pic 5 – ok now what? part 1
Pic 6 – Humm, this wont work very well
Pic 7 before I completed the base and top.
Pic 9 – New film back attachment
Nikkor 180mm Lens
Riley taken with Lego 4×5, 180mm Nikkor, F11, HP5 400 iso
Filled Under : Film , Learning