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DIY 35mm Foam Core Toy Camera

18 March 2009
By Sean

Foam Core Camera

Here is the newest addition to my small arsenal of home made cameras.  This was just a fun, quick Saturday project.  It was inspired by the paper and cardboard pinhole cameras that you see available from time to time.  For the past few months I considered buying one or two of them, but at about $20 a piece I’ve been hesitant.  I’m all about economy when it comes to photography and I just figured I could make something comparable for a fraction of the cost.  Add to that the fact that I already have half a dozen pinhole cameras I thought it would be interesting to make something like the paper pinholes with a lens.

This is the product of that mentality.  The camera is primarily made of black foam core, glue, and black duct tape to make it light tight.  The lens came from my camera parts box, it was originally on an Olympia type camera, the shutter came from an old Holga 120S that I chopped for parts a few years ago, the spool came from a broken point and shoot and the rewind spool came from a broken slr.  The shutter release button was a problem up until the end of the cameras construction.  I couldn’t figure out what to use, none of the buttons from my junk box would work.  So, I pulled out the screw driver to an eye glasses repair I had.  I cut the metal off with my dremel and filed it down a bit and put it on top of the shutter, perfection.  And it even looks like a shutter release button.  The winding knob is a cabinet knob that I had and the rewind knob is wooden craft part (I can’t imagine what a “normal” crafter would use one of these for).  The cabinet knob is glue to the spool and wooden knob is glue to a dowel rod which in turn is glued to the metal rewind spool.

The back of the camera doesn’t open like most cameras do because I don’t have any hinges laying around.  So, I built the back to operate like a dark slide on medium format and large format cameras.  It slides in and out of place.  It was too loose at first so I had to add a bit of thickness.  I decided to glue the front of a coca-cola box onto the darkslide and cut it down to size.  Perfect fit and it adds a splash of color to an otherwise monochromatic camera.

foam core camera back

foam core camera innards

I’m betting that the f/stop is approximately f/5.6, but only experimentation will tell me for sure.  I shot a roll of sensia 400 through it and I have it spooled in my developing tank, but have not had the time to process it yet.  I’m going to cross precess the roll in D-76.  I’ve never processed color film in black and white developer and thought this would be the perfect opportunity.  An experimental camera with experimental cross processing.

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3 Responses to DIY 35mm Foam Core Toy Camera

  1. DIY 35mm Foam Core Toy Camera | The DIY Camera on 19 December 2010 at 12:05 pm

    [...] This article was originally published at The Photo Playground on 18 March 2009.  The original article can be accessed here. [...]

  2. ndroo on 2 April 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Hey this one is sexy! Can’t wait to see the photos. Really cool work.

  3. Toys on 29 March 2009 at 5:14 am

    Great post Im looking forward to following your future posts. I will subscribe to your rss feed if you have one too. Keep up the good work!!

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