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DIY 4×5, The “Neretta Snap”

2 March 2009
By Sean


I built this camera about three weeks ago.  It took me about 20 hours over the course of three weeks.  Most of that time was spent sanding.  I’m not a wood worker and really don’t have much experience when it comes to making things, with more experience I would bet that this project would have taken a fraction  of the time it actually took.  I screwed up every single piece of wood at least once before I got the dimensions right, or the sanding right, or the cut right, etc., etc. 

A few months back I was cruising through internet and stumbled on Sandeha Lynch’s website and stumbled on picture of one of his handmade cameras, the Neretta.  I fell in love and wanted to make one.  So I contacted him and told him that I would love to make a version of his camera.  A few days later I had the plans to make one in the inbox of my email.   For information on purchasing the plans for $15, go here and scroll about half way down the page.  While you’re at it, check out his flickr stream as well.

I began work on the camera a few weeks after I got the plans.  I hadn’t planned on building it until this spring, but I kept looking at the plans and just couldn’t help it.  I had to build it.  The camera is made of basswood, a cheap moisture resistant hobby wood.  There are no screws anywhere on the camera, it is held together with Gorilla Glue’s Wood Glue and perfect joint work.  The handles are my proudest accomplishment with this camera, as each end of the dowel rods is angled at 6 degrees, which I did by hand. When reviewing the original plans I decided that I needed the handles because I planned on using this camera as huge point and shoot.  The lens is a vintage Schneider 90mm wide angle Super Angulon mounted in a Copal shutter.  I got a great deal on it and it’s essentially flawless.

The paint used on the camera is a quart that I got for free at the Beyond Green exhibition at the Devos Art Museum in Marquette, Michigan.  What they did was collect hundreds of gallons of latex paint from the community and they mixed like colors together, i.e. all the blues together, all the reds together, etc.  They then made up dozens of quarts of the mixed colors and gave them away at the reception.  I saw the blue and had to have it.

I submitted the camera to the museum’s North of the 45th Parallel show, which takes place this Summer, as functional sculpture.  It would be great if it was accepted, but I’m not holding my breath.  I’d love to see it sitting on a podium or tripod amongst art made people all over Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

I don’t have any photos shot with the camera, I’m waiting for the slides to be processed.  I was hoping to have had them back at least a week ago, but they still haven’t been developed.  It looks like I’m going to have to wait at least another week before I get them back.  It’s disappointing how long it’s taking, but I’ll manage.

Here is two more pictures of the Neretta Snap.


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6 Responses to DIY 4×5, The “Neretta Snap”

  1. Shiva on 11 March 2015 at 10:31 am

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  2. monogatari. » Beautiful DIY 4×5 Camera! on 15 March 2012 at 9:33 pm

    [...] Visit the designer’s blog: http://thephotoplayground.com/2009/03/02/diy-4×5-the-neretta-snap/ [...]

  3. [...] other websites, including Andrew Kua’s Fuzzy Eyeballs.  The original article can be found here. I built this camera about three weeks ago. It took me about 20 hours over the course of three [...]

  4. Neretta Snap Pictures | Photo Playground on 12 March 2009 at 7:23 pm

    [...] I promised yesterday here are some (2) of the pictures that were taken with my Neretta Snap.  The scans are pretty bad, they were done with my CanoScan LiDE 100, which is definitely not a [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP () and so is spam.

  5. Sean on 2 March 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks much. I learned how to use LF view cameras a few years ago and they’re great, but they’re no point and shoot. This on the other hand, is LF and a point and shoot. Double the fun!

  6. ndroo on 2 March 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Whoa! This is way cool! The camera is beautiful too. I’ve to try shooting LF one day.

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