This is probably the oldest Lego Camera in the world. This is my latest attempt to revive a 90 years old camera using Lego bricks together with instant films. Not too many people would have experience to use a camera with 90 years old. Most of these cameras are put on display shelves or in basement. I hope this project can bring them back to the real world and make them relevant again.
Legendary camera made in 1930
A month ago I obtained this beautiful Zeiss-Ikon Trona which was produced at around 1930. I purchased it from a camera collector who has hundreds of camera. While he took good care of it, he doesn’t have much time to shoot with this camera that uses single 6×9 film. I always have fascination in old cameras and wanted to use it to shoot pictures like the good old days.
Extracted from the original camera manual from 1930
This beautiful camera (first one) in my home for a few days and is likely the oldest object at my home. It is still workable. From the wear and the marks on the exterior of the camera I think it had been used intensively for a period in the distance past. The viewfinder also show signs of usage – the lens have been extended numerous times that left some marks on the viewfinder surface. Nonetheless, the lens is in amazingly good condition after cleaning.
I tried to imagine what kind of shooting this camera has been going through in the past. This camera is almost as old as my grandparents. I think it should have witnessed many precious moments of its owners in some life changing moments, such the birth of the new baby, weddings and many memorable gatherings?
Adapting to modern instant film
Needless to say, I have modified the camera into instant film after I got all the essential materials. This camera, after modification, has a motorized back for processing instant film. It takes a pack of 10 instant films (Fuji Instax Mini) each time and it is convenient to change a new film pack even on the street.
This time again I use Lego to modify this beautiful antique camera. It gives a modern playful look to it yet I think the dark theme Lego pieces fits the camera very well. It comes at harmony with the wear outlook of the camera leather.
Holding an antique camera to shoot in the street
Holding such an antique to shoot in the street is an interesting experience. The images always have a vintage feel, perhaps due to the color saturation and the contrast of the picture. It never need an Instagram filter to achieve that. I think photographers in the past who use this camera would normally bring at most three sheets of films for a day of shooting. With the modern instant film, I can bring several packs of film with ten pieces each to shoot. It certainly makes the process more convenient for the busy modern day shooters as well as saving the cost of developing the films. Here are some shooting examples.
For those who are interested, please check out the original camera manual for more details.
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This is a syndicated blog post from Instax Magic by Albertino. It and the images here are being used with permission.