Focus fix for non-reflex 35mm camera

For camera fanatics the acquisition of an old camera is a thrilling event. But if you’re going to collect them, you’d better have some repair skills so that you can also use them. [Fernando’s] latest find was this Minox 35mm camera. The aperture needed cleaning, and after reassembling the unit he realized the he had not marked the focus ring when taking it apart. This is not a reflex camera, so you can’t look in the view finder to adjust focus. He came up with his own method to get the focus ring calibrated.

The focal point needs to focus on the film. He simulated this plane using some magic tape, which removes easily without leaving a residue. When the shutter is open, you can see the image projected on this translucent surface. He then set up the camera with the lens 90 cm from a bright light bulb. By adjusting the focus to create a sharp image on the temporary screen, he knows the focus is calibrated, and can reset the focus ring to the 0.9m mark.

Need some help developing that exposed film? You could always give the coffee and vitamin C hack a try.

Cookie projector uses that dusty film camera of yours

This hack is not for photographers with weak hearts. We’re going to be talking about destroying the body of a Single-Lens Reflex camera. But out of destruction comes something new. A broken camera paired with a flash and functional optics can be used to project light patterns for picture backgrounds.

The hardware is often referred to as a cookie projector, and a commercial unit can cost several hundred dollars. But if you or someone you know has a non-functional film SLR you’re already half way to making your own. Just snap off the back cover, yank out the mirror and shutter, and the bloody part is over. Slap on a lens with a large aperture, create your own slide with the pattern you’d like to see in your images, and affix a flash to the gaping hole on the back of the camera body. The video after the break shows the diy cookie projector hanging out on the flash stand, synchronized with your DSLR flash to add some pizzazz to the photo shoot.

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Quick and Dirty Film Dosimeter

With all the talk of radiation in the media today [freddysam] posted a quick Instructable about using standard camera film as a radiation dosimeter. Film is sensitive to other forms of radiation other than visible light, and high speed films are even more susceptible due to their chemistry, which has caused all sorts of headaches to travelers before most people went digital. This uses that headache as a simple way to see if you have been exposed to abnormal amounts of radiation in a  3 step process.

  1. Get some film. Yes they still sell it, it can still be found just about anywhere.
  2. In a dark room unroll a little out of the metal can and put it back in its black plastic container.
  3. Develop it if you think you have been exposed.

The idea is to let a few frames of film to be exposed to normal background radiation and develop it so you have something to compare with in the future, then you can unroll a bit more, and if you think your going into a hot area you can develop that newly exposed film to see roughly how much more radiation there was, maybe helping you sleep better at night.

Converting 8mm film to digital

Many of us have these old 8mm family videos lying around and many of us have lamented at the perspective cost to get them converted to digital.  [Paul] came up with a pretty slick way of digitizing them himself. He cracked open an 8mm projector and replaced the drive motor with one he could run at a much slower speed, allowing him to be able to capture each frame individually with his digital camera. He’s rigged his remote shutter control to the shutter of the projector so that it would be perfectly synchronized. There’s a video of it in action on the flickr page, and a video of the full 16,000 frame clip after digitization here.

[via Make]

Lego pinhole camera

[Bshikin] built a pinhole camera out of Lego pieces (translated). It is a fully automated unit thanks to the integration of the NXT pieces. It took a bit of careful calculation to get the film spacing adjusted to match the focal length, and quite a bit of tape was necessary to keep light out of the film chamber. But in the end, it’s an amazing build that takes decent pictures. The software has settings for film size and speed, and takes care of exposing and advancing the frame at the click of a button. See for yourself after the break.

If you hunger for some more camera building goodness check out this SLR hand crafted from scratch.

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Upgrading an old Polaroid land camera for 35mm rolls

Ok, we recognize that this is a bit of an odd upgrade, since many would probably think that a digital upgrade would be more appropriate. However, we found this interesting anyway. [Marker1024] has taken this old Polaroid land camera and modified it to accept a standard 35mm roll. His list of materials may sound fairly MacGyver-ish with foil and sculpey, but his results look to be well done and fairly sturdy. We have to say that the aesthetics of the camera itself are quite appealing and we could see carrying one of these around. As interesting as the writeup is though, we can’t help but wonder what the pictures look like that came out of it!

Machining an SLR camera from scratch

It took us a while to stop drooling long enough to write about this amazing machining project. [Denis MO] made a single-lens reflex camera from scratch. The banner image above is not the finished product, but just one step in the production chain. [Denis] has been thinking about doing this project for 25 years and finally took the plunge. From the start, the only parts he planned on NOT making himself were the screws, ball bearings, shutter, curtain fabric, and interchangeable lenses. Everything else is his own creation based off of his own design. Spend some time looking over his project. There’s plenty of information and images of both the machining process, and the drawings he mocked up in the design process. We’ve also included a pic of the finished camera and the contact sheet from his test roll of film after the break.

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