…and you can, too!

I am back in the Frugal Film Project for 2022. I took a break in 21. As a result I shot hardly any film and spent the year complaining about masks and vaccines and politicians. It wasn’t a fun year.

This year is hopefully going to be more productive. I’ve already outlined a plan for my photography and this website. And to start this year off, I built a camera.

This is a kit from Lomography called, appropriately, the Konstruktor. It’s a fully functional SLR that comes ready to assemble.

I have built one of these before, I’m pretty familiar with the whole process. This time I decided to bring along a few tools that didn’t come with the kit. These tools were tweezers, a magnifying loupe, a refrigerator magnet for giving my screwdriver some extra grip on the screws, and one of my watchmaking trays for keeping the tiny screws separated.

To begin it’s important to separate the bags of fasteners. Next check the instructions to verify you have All the parts. Mine was missing the nut that is used to mount the camera to a tripod. I’ll pick one up from the hardware store later. Once start working on the build, there can be some frustrating moments. Be sure to plan for at least two uninterrupted hours. The instructions rival only IKEA in ambiguity, so planning for breaks is a good idea.

When the building part is complete, you have something like what’s pictured above. It’s not pretty, but it is functional. From this point you can load a roll of 35mm film into it and head outside to take some pictures. But that’s not the end of the customization. It comes with decorative stickers!

It has red, white, and black wrap stickers and for this round I chose white. I already have a red one.

Now you may be wondering how it works and what are the features (if any) ? Well let me share with you the juicy details.

It has a 50mm f/10 lens with a 1/60th shutter speed. Think of it as a Holga for smaller hands. It also uses a waist-level viewfinder with a magnifying loupe. It’s not the best for old eyes. Focus is a struggle. However, there are distance indications on the focus ring, so estimating distance is quick and fine tuning can be done a little easier if you can properly judge your distance.

While it does have a lens that can be focused, don’t expect tack sharp photos. It has a single, plastic meniscus lens. The images from this particular camera are pretty soft. Since the lens quality is part of the mystery, each camera is going to perform differently. That’s all part of the fun.

I’ve since had time to take it out for my first run for the January 22 Frugal Film Project. Below are some of the images from the first roll. Keep an eye out next month for roll number two.