Holzcam - Opinions needed

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by denis_cutn, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Hey guys! I am currently developing a toy camera as a project for a business course and would like your opinion.
    So for the course we are to develop an idea, product or service, and make it a viable project by the end. I decided to go with a toy camera since my team members aren't very experienced in cameras so it would be a good oportunity for them to learn something new too, a fun project overall.
    As for the product, it would be a toy camera like a Holga, or a Diana, but instead of being made out of cheap plastic it would be made out of 3D printed liquid wood parts, so as to make a more solid camera that is also environmentally friendly with the technology we have now. The size of the camera would hopefully not be big, I am using a Ricoh Auto 35H Professional as a guideline, which I found in a fleamarket somewhere. Which would mean on 35mm Film it would be a half frame camera.
    We have thought about different types of accessories or uses but for now we would like to only focus on a simple, "bare bones" camera that works and later on expand. This to hopefully reduce it to a price range or aproximately 90€-100€ (keep in mind a Diana F+ sells for 79€ on lomography.com)
    So all in all I'd like to hear your opinion. What would you change, would you buy for yourself, or as a gift? What other things would you like to see with the camera?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. While I like wood I fear liquid wood for 3D printing will have as little appeal as pressboard for furniture? I noticed modern kit cameras come in CNC laser cut plywood parts and even those seem less appealing to me than what was used a century ago.
    Is half frame really the way to go in this semi digital age? I understand it is convenient for a fix focus lens that will provide more DOF on the small format but what about film scanning or printing large?
    Given a chance, I would hand down some umpteenth film SLR kit to an interested person I like. The world seems full of quite decent film cameras that nobody wants to shoot anymore and its beyond my comprehension why there would be a need to produce less great ones on purpose.
  3. Solely my 2 cents (possibly worth less than that), but I'd consider doing a 120 camera like the Holga rather than half frame on 35mm. With 120, you don't need to deal with sprockets to move the film, you just need to turn the spool. 120 has the cachet of being higher quality, too. The Holga is/was a very simple camera.
    Whatever you make, having a set of funky filters might be a cool accessory. Some way of adding cool edges to the images via filters in front rather than filters in an app (the f-stop you use will affect this).
  4. I agree with Jochen, but the point of your exercise is not the product but the experience of developing one. Here are some thoughts:
    - Why 3D printing? I think laser-cut wood and/or plastic and/or metal would work better. It could be a kit that the user puts together.
    - Some of the parts could be common household items that the user has to supply, to add a personal touch. For example, the user would have to make their own rewinding knob.
    - Put the viewfinder right in the left corner.
    - The aperture could be a disc with circular holes of different sizes, as opposed to being made from blades.
    - Make a 4x5 version for either sheet film or 'Solargraphics' paper which develops in water.
    - The lens elements can be made of good quality plastic, and the lens barrel could be made with relatively high precision. I think the use would enjoy assembling the lens.
    - Bette's idea is a good one. There are some interesting filters that you can buy which are not your everyday filters. You could include low-con, diffusion, odd colours like aquamarine etc.
  5. Thanks for the responses guys, greatly appreciated!
    To be honest I myself haven't shot with 120 film but the decision for 35mm would be for more accesibility since you can pretty much buy a pack in most shops (at least in Germany) and the half frame would simply be to get more shots per roll. Since this is more aimed at amateur photographers that just want to record their life, there's no necessity for a really good quality photo. Because I agree with Jochen, if I was going for quality I would buy an old film camera.
    As for 3d Printing it would allow is to customize parts of the camera, for example parts of the body with different textures or something like that. And even if it's 3d printed, the camera can still be assembled by the user.
    The filter is a good idea, I think I could do filters that could fit on the lens and on the flash too, acting as color gels possibly.
    What would you recommend for the lens? Fixed focus would probably be the cheapest option but are there any other good options? Im not too knowledgeable about lenses sadly
  6. "this is more aimed at amateur photographers that just want to record their life"

    That's not really your potential market. You're trying to carve a slice of a fairly small niche of photographers who are
    interested in "low-fidelity" film photography. You need to figure out what will entice people to buy one of your cameras
    instead of one from Lomography. My suggestion would be to fully exploit the potential of 3-D printing your materials. As
    you noted, you could offer different textures, but you could also offer different patterns (e.g. Art Deco styling) and offer
    names or other text patterned into the body of the camera.
  7. Cell phones with cameras are so plentiful and provide instant results that carrying another gadget that may
    take weeks to take 40 images and then days to see results does not sound very marketable.
  8. Hmm yes that is true. Maybe I'll do a normal 35mm one where you can switch the back with a 120 (and more easily than a Diana, Ive tried those and theyre so complicated) and a possible mini version for half frame in the future
    Any tips on the lens though?
  9. Okay, you want to do something interesting? Make the camera 4-perf 35mm, and make your lenses anamorphic with a 2x squeeze. Warning: anamorphic is complicated.
  10. You would have to use recycled wood for the cellulose for it to be environmentally friendly. How are you going to make the lens and shutter? You'll either have to go w/ a pinhole and super long exposures, or scavenge those from a working camera. I assume you are aware of the fact that the demand for such a camera would be almost zero, as you can buy a perfectly good working camera in a thrift store for $2 that will take sharp photos w/ 35mm film, or use your smart phone to take digital pics.
  11. Karim, that would be interesting but I guess too complicated haha
    Steve yes, the material we are using is called Arboform and it is mostly leftover residues from the paper industry as far as I know. As for the lens and the flash we would be going for pre-produced parts and just adding them there. I dont believe the demand for the camera would be zero, as there some other cameras on the market that are similar in terms of price and function (just take a look at the lomography store) so I would say this isn't the same market as the 2nd hand market. But personally id go for an actual camera (yes how hypocritical of me)
  12. But then again the question remains, how would you make the product better? Or what kind of product would you like to see?

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