I love fiddly, crafty things and I love photography, so how could I possibly resist Lomography’s latest gimmick, the Konstruktor? It involves building your own SLR! I bought the Konstruktor do-it-yourself kit this summer, and it turned out to be the perfect thing for those lazy summer days when I was recovering from otitis.
After I’ve built it and shot a roll with it, I can certainly say I’m happy I got it, but there’s no hiding the fact that the camera isn’t quite as easy to build and not quite as good as Lomography says.
The first and more or less the easiest thing you do is to assemble the lens.
Then comes the hood viewfinder that goes on top of the camera. The little lens is supposed to make it easier to focus on close-up subjects, but I can’t really say it has been of much use so far.
When you get to the camera body, it becomes a little more difficult. These are all the gears that wind the film. They were fiddly! I am not sure I managed to put them together correctly; I am now halfway through my second roll of film in this camera, and the winding mechanism seems to have stuck.
Here I’m putting together the finished parts of the camera body, with the mirror house in the middle. I was disappointed that the mirror house came pre-assembled – it is the most interesting piece of an SLR after all. But I suppose the mirror house is too difficult to assemble properly, and that Lomography wanted to avoid the complaints that would come when people – myself included, I’m sure – failed to do it correctly and perhaps broke something. There is a description of the mirror house and its parts and assembly in the manual, but reading about it is not the same as seeing and assembling the pieces yourself.
The finished product – it actually looks like a camera!
But I didn’t do all this work just for a camera – the purpose was equally to get something I could actually use. Some of the images from my first roll turned out very nice indeed.
Even though I took care to assemble the body as tightly as possible, there are light leaks. I like light leaks. At least sometimes.
In sum – thumbs up for the idea to build your own camera, but it does detract from the whole that the resulting camera is more of a toy camera than a proper SLR.
~ All the best from Jenny.