Vintage Camera Retrofit Perfect For Trolling Strangers


[John] likes making things out of unusual junk, and decided to build something for the sole purpose of trolling others. He thought it would be funny to stuff a new digital camera into the body of an old, obsolete camera, just to see how people would react to it.

He considered several different cameras, including a bulky old Polaroid, eventually settling on a far more manageable Argus C3. The camera wasn’t quite big enough to fit his new digicam inside, so he built a mock body using black micarta. He attached the Argus’ front and back to his plastic box, then spent some time fitting his digital camera inside. He transferred knobs from the original camera to his new false body, adding to the authenticity, before taking it out for some test shots.

You can see the final result above, and we think you would be hard pressed to notice that there’s something amiss with his camera unless you spent some time taking a closer look at it. He says that it works well for the most part, and it’s definitely a conversation starter. People are always puzzled by the fact that he is using such and old camera, and doubly so when he tells them it can take about 4,000 shots before he has to “develop” his pictures.

22 thoughts on “Vintage Camera Retrofit Perfect For Trolling Strangers

  1. Ummm, it is encased in plastic/acrylic. You would have to be a little bit slow to actually believe this is vintage with all its glare off the case.

    The case alone ruins any chance of this “trolling” people who are actually paying attention or have 1/2 a mind. At least make the “plastic” seem like it has been exposed to UV. What sort of Vintage camera has clear plastic encasing it?

    1. Its new case is black linen micarta (not “plastic/acrylic), which has a semi-dull finish that is virtually indistinguishable from the camera’s original case. There is no glare from this case.

    2. It’s not encased in clear plastic/acrylic. It’s black micarta, don’t even have to click through the link to see that. It’s a laminate dating back to 1910. Looking at the pictures on the instructibles page, it’s got a pattern to it too, making it not look like modern acrylic.
      Yes, if you look close at it, you would see details that give away that it’s not all as it seems, but the point is the initial shock reaction seeing it from a distance that makes you take the time to look closer.

  2. I’ve done this! I love it! Working on a “110” camera now, I bet this guy and I are a lot alike.

    This is by far the most fun physical/tech/electrohack I have EVER done, even as simple as the idea is.

    This is what I show people when they ask me what my “hacking” hobby is. I’ll submit my newest hack once I complete it. Still working on a decent control system (not a camera!)

  3. I would have never thought about a retrofit/casemod like this as being a “troll” thing. What an interesting take! I guess any aesthetic modification is done for public reaction to some extent, but “trolling” implies you want people to get upset. This is an urge I don’t understand at all in the online world, and doubly so for the physical one. Maybe I’m getting out of touch with “the kids these days”, but this is very weird to me… A fine mod, though! I’ve had a similar thing on my to-make list for a while now myself.

  4. That was a nice camera. Before it got trashed.

    I think its more of a hack to actually figure out how the old tech actually worked. There are a lot of modern lessons to be learned – those people applied some pretty brilliant concepts to get around the limitations of their day.
    I make all my old finds work so I can figure out what the people who built them were thinking, and learning something from it. That includes at one point having to rediscover the chemistry to make my own light-sensitive glass plates to operate 19th Century cameras I have run across.
    Guess what I was doing wasn’t hacking. All this time I should have just cut them up and badly hot-glued in something I picked up at WalMart. I guess that’s real hacking, right?

    1. to replace the light sensitive glass plates with high quality imaging sensors and focus it for a hybrid vintage-modernHRdigital image, which you built out of random stuff like your old busted smurtphone = moderndaymacgyverhack

      1. That would be a serious project, requiring major research, technical knowledge, and skill. Cool and all, but that isn’t considered a ‘hack’ anymore.

        I think the modern definition of ‘hack’ is limited to hot gluing off-the-shelf consumer products into other consumer products, or gluing an arduino to something.

    2. Generally, I’m in favor of restoring antiques rather than hacking them up, but there are so many C3s out there that I’m tempted to do something similar. (And, the C3 is a real pain to use!)

  5. “I thought it might be fun to pull this camera out in a crowd of people and make them wonder why in the world an old man would continue to use a camera that was obviously as old as he was, as opposed to something more modern.”

    I don’t think anyone who’s ever known an old man would ever wonder anything like that. It’s far more shocking (to me anyway) to see elderly people with iPhones talking about the latest thing they saw on Facebook.

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