Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole on yellow background surrounded by oranges

NEWS: Jollylook Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New SQUARE Pinhole Instant Film Camera DIY Kit

Yesterday, Jollylook announced a new 10-day crowdfunding campaign to support the creation of an eco-friendly DIY instant pinhole camera that uses Fujifilm’s Instax Square film. Following on from their highly successful campaign in 2022 for a similar camera using Instax Mini film, this is exciting news for square format fans.

“It’s a functional camera. It’s a project. It’s a puzzle. It’s a model all in one.” – Jollylook Kickstarter

Aiming to create a vintage “steampunk” aesthetic, the Jollylook Pinhole Square DIY kit combines a classic design of mechanical functions including bellows with modern eco-friendly elements. By extending the bellows the camera can zoom 50mm up to 110mm for experimenting with close-up pinhole shots. Weighing 450 grams with dimensions slightly larger than that of an iPhone box, it is also a highly portable option for creative instant photography on the go. A tripod mount included in the kit allows photographers to keep the camera steady for longer exposure times.

“The Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole represents a celebration of the photographic arts, a fusion of old-school techniques with modern, eco-friendly technology. We’re excited to provide a platform where people can explore the wonder of creating their own camera and experience the magic of instant photography. We’ve created a striking and stylish design with functionality that we believe will impress even the most demanding users. And wait until you see it!” – Sergey Covalenko, the head of manufacturing and CTO

Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole parts diagram
Image courtesy of Jollylook

Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole - Stained Brown Color Version
Image courtesy of Jollylook

Jollylook’s 0.38mm pinhole camera design incorporates sustainable choices such as the use of FSC-certified biodegradable laminated wood fibre material finished with natural oils and waxes. Backers can opt for a natural wood or stained brown colour. The company also demonstrates their environmental friendliness by contributing 1% of its revenue as a part of Stripe Climate, a group of 25K+ businesses working to accelerate carbon removal.

“Our team is a family, united by the passion for creating magic in people’s everyday lives while using eco-friendly materials and saving our planet’s ecosystem.” – Jollylook

Jollylook team member showing instant film photos taken with the SQUARE pinhole camera
Image courtesy of Jollylook

Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole camera with sample instant image
Image courtesy of Jollylook

Founded in Ukraine, the company was forced to move their operations and homes to safety in Slovakia after the Russian invasion in early 2022. The team was able to relocate, find a new workspace, replace damaged factory components, and start over again.

“Regardless of the odds, we never give up and do everything in our power to make our project a reality. Even when the terrible war started in our home country Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, and our hometown was occupied by the russian soldiers, and our equipment was destroyed, we didn’t put our hands down. We moved to Zvolen, Slovakia, where we have already set up the manufacturing and from where we have already shipped all the DIY pinhole mini cameras and kits. Jollylook Pinhole SQUARE DIY, being our 4th campaign, comes with lots of previous learning and experience. While with any project, there are risks, we are confident that the risks we may face have been mitigated by the experience and proven supply relationships we developed from manufacturing the original Jollylook.”

Using the Jollylook SQUARE pinhole camera outside with a tripod
Image courtesy of Jollylook

Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole camera with sample instant image
Image courtesy of Jollylook

The campaign has a target of USD 15,000 or about GBP 12,108. At the time of writing, it has already reached GBP 7,738 with 99 backers and 9 days to go. The early bird price for one Jollylook SQUARE Pinhole camera starts at USD 79 (approx. GBP 64) while the suggested retail price is USD 119. This early bird price is only offered within the first 48 hours of the campaign. There are several stretch goals if funding reaches over USD 50K including an eco bag, an image counter, and a tripod depending on the levels hit.

Initial pledges are expected to be delivered in August with the second batch shipping in September and more units shipping after that. The DIY kit comes with a manual development mechanism, bellows, and an exposure calculator. It takes from 1.5 to 3 hours to build and no power supply is needed as the camera is fully mechanical.

To support Jollylook, head over to the Kickstarter page here to see all available pledge options. Find more about the company on its main website linked here. The last day to pledge is June 9, 2023, so don’t wait if you are interested!

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4 thoughts on “NEWS: Jollylook Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New SQUARE Pinhole Instant Film Camera DIY Kit”

  1. Jim Scheffler

    Kudos to Jollylook! A great blend of modern technology and classic, retro look. My first “collector” camera was a wood and leather folding Kodak Autographic, bought at a thrift store for $1.90 back in 1969. It used Kodak 616 film which was still available at the time. It was fun to use and, with its huge negative, produced excellent images.

    I wish them well on this initiative and applaud their courage in the face of the terrible onslaught by Russia on their democratic country.

  2. OK, so here is my story and please use this information however you like.

    I backed the original Jollylook camera that was made from cardboard. They had massively long delays, but I did eventually get my camera. The bellows material and cardboard did not allow for a decent experience using the camera and eventually it broke…so it went into the trash.

    They then announced that they were going to do another, made of wood and will be compatible with Instax Square film. For not much more than the cardboard one, I thought – this will be the one then for me. I backed it. Delays happened again, war in Ukraine is happening and we are close 2 being into years of waiting.

    What I have noticed now is that it appears that the Jollylook crew is chasing the money. By this, I mean that they run into issues, delays, overrun budgets and they appear (I can’t prove this, but it’s my perception) that they use the money from the “new” kickstarter to complete the funding from the prior ones.

    I’m not so sure how much longer that they will be able to do this until someone who backs one of their projects gets completely left in the lurch. I’m hoping and praying that this is not the case – but this latest one I’ve backed will be my last.

  3. I was a backer on the original Jollylook campaign. I thought it was an interesting concept and an interesting design. The camera I received broke after only 5 or 6 frames (shutter stopped firing)….it’s been so long now I don’t really remember what the exact issue was but I know how disappointed I was. I contacted the creators who stated that after all the initial backers received their cameras, replacements would be sent out to those who had camera failures. This never happened and as far as I know, many people never received their replacement cameras. If you go to Kickstarter and check out the comment page you’ll see many, many complaints. I understand that with the many challenges they faced there would be some issues….but they told many of us that they would still honour the replacing of faulty units. In fact, if you look hard enough, you’ll find articles indicating that they shipped cameras out to other vendors before they had completed shipping to backers…. I still like the ideas they have come forward with, but their business model and practices leaves a lot to be desired… I’d be wary and hesitant…do your research before hitting that support button.

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