The Lomography Konstruktor Camera Kit
Ever since building my first 35mm camera last Christmas season, the Fotodiox TLR, I've had my eye on the Konstruktor, hoping one day to add it to my collection. And last night, I got my chance to build this interesting camera for myself. The box said that the camera could be built in about two hours, which was pretty much how long it took me to build mine. I suspect that the kit could have taken me longer, if I didn't already have experience building my Fotodiox last year. The experience I had, however, certainly prevented me from making a couple of mistakes with this kit, as the instructions were somewhat vague in a few of the steps. Overall, though, I think this camera was a little easier to assemble than the Fotodiox. There were certainly less parts to put together, when compared to the TLR, as the mirror/shutter assembly comes pre-assembled.
The materials in this kit are slightly better than those in the Fotodiox kit. The plastic parts are sturdy and fit together really well. The presentation of the entire kit is top notch. Lomography certainly put some attention to detail for both the design of the camera, as well as the packaging. As I briefly mentioned above, the only place where this kit lacked a little bit was in the instructions, themselves. However, if you pay close attention to the illustrations, you do have enough information to assemble the camera properly.
The part of the build that took me the longest was the sorting of the screws. I could not find anything in the instructions that identified which screws were for which part of the build. So, I sorted by shape, counted them, then leafed through the instructions to see which group of screws seemed to fit best. I also discovered that there were few extra screws thrown in to the kit, as well as an extra spring for the shutter release assembly. That was kind of nice, as this tiny spring seems to be very easy to stretch; and if you wind up doing just that, the shutter will not work properly. Also, there's an important step in the construction that needs to followed in order to get the film advance mechanism to work properly, if you want to be able to count the number of shots with any accuracy.
Once together, the camera felt very good in my hand. Once I put the faux leather decals on it, it felt even more professional and not like a DIY camera at all. The shutter makes a nice solid "click" when released and none of the buttons or knobs feel flimsy in the least. I think Lomography have produced a very nice camera and I look forward to getting some film into it and trying it out. I have a feeling it is going to be a favorite of mine.
This version of the Konstruktor has a PC socket for an external flash and has two shutter speeds: fixed 1/80 and bulb (for long exposures), and has a minimum focal length of 0.5 meters. You adjust the focus by turning the focus ring on the lens. There are other lenses available for the Konstruktor, including a close-up (for portraits) and a macro lens.
When taking a photo, you first have to flip the SLR mirror into place, via a lever on the left side of the camera, so you can set up the shot in your view finder. Then, when you press the shutter, the mirror flips out of the way, allowing for shutter to then expose the film to capture the image. Pretty ingenious, of you ask me.
I'll let you know how it all turns out!
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