Photographer Joel Crane Wants to Create a Multi-Format Tintype Camera

Australia based photographer and woodsmaker, Joel Crane, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his unique custom-built multi-format tintype camera. A fan of many different photography mediums including 35mm, medium, and large format, Crane is using his passion for older methods of photography to create a modern version of the classic tintype camera. Unique to crane’s model is a multi-format design with swappable backs allowing different size images to be created from 5 x 7 and up. 


Samples of Crane’s work. © Joel Crane

For those unfamiliar with Tintype, it is a process dating back over 160 years. Instead of a negative being created allowing multiple prints, a tintype delivers a thin plate ready for viewing in just minutes after capture. It has often been referred to as a vintage polaroid due to its more immediate nature. Another feature of the medium is that the images themselves are not reproducible, with no easy way of enlarging or duplicating the images. Tintype enthusiasts often remark on the development process as well as how the unique mix of chemicals often adds subtle differences in the images, making each tintype photograph a one of a kind.
Preliminary design sketches

Preliminary design sketches. © Joel Crane

Crane hopes to take his years of experience as a woodsmaker and build the camera himself. While he’s soon to be moving to New York, he hopes to utilize the last six months of his stay in Australia working on the project. His current goal is $1500 and is the minimum required to build a 5” x 7” plate camera. If the money raised exceeds his goal he will instead build a larger camera, perhaps an 11” x 14” version. Once the Kickstarter is complete, he will know what lens he can afford which will determine the size of the camera build. Some of the rewards of Crane’s campaign include having your portrait taking on this vintage photographic medium. Another cool reward is that Crane will make you your own tintype camera and portable darkroom.

To get more info about Joel Crane’s Multi-Format Tintype Camera or pledge your support, check out his Kickstarter campaign here.