I have been a reader of this blog for quite a few years. I must have stumbled upon it around the time I was getting into film photography and was working through decades of photographic gear to determine what my starting point would be. Since then I have discovered that what attracts me to film …
A few months ago, after a bit of thinking, I bought a 3d printer. I say, “after a bit of thinking” because I did not want to spend my free time still in front of a monitor to design stuff. But, in the end, I gave in and went for a used/cheap 3d printer in order to see if it would be interesting for me. After a few months I got bored of tweaking and adjusting the old printer and I went for a brand new one… and everything changed.
I started making pinhole cameras for the same reason I imagine many people do – because I could! They are deceptively simple objects – after all it’s just a box with a hole in it, right! Regardless, they are capable of producing beautifully complex images.
In my early experiments I used what I could find around me – matchboxes, bits of ducting and even felted sheep’s wool. Alongside this, and armed with my trusty Ondu 135, I was learning how to produce the kind of images I wanted using pinhole cameras. I began to understand that I wanted more flexibility to shape my camera to my ideas.
After a brief diversion into creating an underwater pinhole camera (that’s another story) I set to work designing a camera which could change and adapt to new ideas.
It was Day 6 of COVID-19 isolation, I was feeling more and more restless. Being one of the lucky ones, I could still work from home, but my mind was distracted by the barrage of sad news. I needed a project, a welcomed point of focus. Luckily for me, Wilco Jensen from Hassyparts posted his latest project on a Facebook group for film camera users. He made a mechanical XPan from a Nikon FE body with a 47mm Schneider lens on a simple helicoid. This project immediately got my gears spinning… didn’t I have a couple of broken FEs sitting in my parts camera bin?