First Impressions: Lomography Konstruktor DIY SLR Camera

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (3 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

Yesterday, Lomography announced their brand new Konstruktor camera. The Konstruktor was teased in many ways to the Lomo crowd and I’m not sure that many people would have ever expected it to come. The Konstruktor is a DIY SLR camera. There is a full mirror assembly that uses a top-down viewfinder the way that older SLR cameras used to feature before the days of the more contemporary viewfinder that we know today.

The camera is available for purchase in a kit and is meant to be assembled yourself, and that makes it an awesome camera for a child or a tinkerer. Lomography’s USA CEO told me yesterday that they’re encouraging hacks with this camera since the community loves to do that with the Holgas and Dianas.

With a fixed 50mm f10 lens and some interesting construction, we were very curious.


Tech Specs

  • 35mm (135) Film
  • Detachable 50mm f/10 Lens (only through deconstruction)
  • Shutter Speed: 1/80s with multiple exposures
  • Focus Distance: 0.5m – Infinity
  • Dimensions: 121 × 33 × 65mm

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (1 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

The Konstruktor comes in this massive kit that folds down for more compact carrying when you purchase it from the store. The kit houses all you’ll need: stickers, parts, screws, screwdrivers, mirror, etc. The company states that it will take one to two hours typically to put it together, but we’ve seen it done in 16 minutes.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (2 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

The front of the Konstruktor is fairly simple. There are two controls on the side of the lens area. One control lets you recock the shutter and the other one sets the shutter to either bulb or normal; in this case normal is 1/80th.

Unfortunately, this lens isn’t detachable.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (4 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

The back of the camera is plain and simple like most other Lomography cams. But in this case, there seems to be no window for you to view what film you have in there. We may be wrong though.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (5 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

The top of the camera is where all the serious business happens. Here you’ll find the top down viewfinder, the shutter release, the film advance and the film rewind. The viewfinder has a magnifier to make focusing easier.

While those surely do look like shutter speeds around the film advance, they’re not. It is in fact the film counter.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (6 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

 

And of course, what would any top-down viewfinder camera be without the collapsing viewfinder. This makes it easier to store and tote around. On either side of the camera, you can also see the strap lugs.

You can also see that the lens has real focusing markers on it. Sweet!

Build Quality

At a $35 price point, we shouldn’t consider this one of Lomography’s better built cameras. But then again, you’re building it yourself though the company stated that a fully assembled version will be sold soon.

For the record, Lomography’s better built cameras include the Bel-Air, LC-A +, LC-Wide, the Lubitel, and the Horizon Kompact.

Ease of Use

Many of Lomography’s cameras are ones that we recommend for beginners or for masters of the art–and not really for the middle ground. Beginners will be able to cut their teeth on the camera and learn about critical focusing, exposures, etc. On the contrary, the masters will have some work to do knowing that they are constantly locked into 1/80th, f10, and their current ISO film. And so they’ll have to figure out external hacks like using a variable ND filter, using a handheld light meter due to the lack of electronics in the camera, or using a threaded shutter release with the camera in bulb mode and on a tripod.

Personally, I fall into the latter. And it will be even tougher for me to use since there is no flash port of any sort.

Focusing

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Konstruktor first impressions (7 of 7)ISO 64001-800 sec at f - 3.5

 

Though I couldn’t really get it in this image, the magnifier and the top-down viewfinder experience is really quite nice. One can accurately see what is in focus and what isn’t. But to be fair, this is an f10 lens–and a ton will be in focus.

Image Quality

We haven’t even put ours together at this point, but Lomography has some sample images. Personally, we think we’ll be skipping the cross processing and instead just going for normal C41 darkroom magic. We’ve got a couple rolls of Lomography 100 color negative, but for scanning purposes we’ll also throw a roll of Portra in there.

First Impressions

Upon first reading the announcement, I thought that the camera was a bit odd. And surely it is, but it is also kind of cool and a nice ode to the past. This is surely a camera that will take lots of time to learn and work with but we’re sure that it will be quite fun to use as well.

Stay tuned for our full review.

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