Watch How Handcrafted Wooden Wet Plate Cameras are Made

Screenshot image from the video by Dieter Schneider’s video on wooden wet plate cameras

It’s always entertaining to watch how things are being made, especially if it’s a trusty camera you use all the time. But, let’s step away from the high-tech guts and circuits of DSLRs and other digital cameras for now. Instead, let’s watch something from the photography of centuries past be painstakingly handmade today. In a showcase of impressive craftsmanship, Norwegian photographer Dieter Schneider shows us how he makes his beautiful wooden cameras for wet plate photography.

When Dieter isn’t dabbling in photography, he’s most likely busy with several other creative endeavors, such as painting, graphic design, coding, and woodwork. And yes, he’s pretty impressive in all of these disciplines. Case in point is his video showing how he masterfully crafts a wooden wet plate camera from start to finish.

According to Dieter, he began making wooden wet plate cameras five years ago. He builds all his cameras using quality wood such as walnut, cherry, and other suitable hardwoods. We see meticulous attention to detail and superb crafting skills throughout the 35-minute long video. From the cutting of the wood, to sanding, gluing, finishing, and assembly, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who found it relaxing and enjoyed watching the camera slowly come together. It’s also a fascinating glimpse at the kind of work involved in building wooden wet plate cameras during the early days of photography.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these handmade beauties by Dieter, he’s selling them on his website for $1,150 – $2,600, depending on the camera size (5″ x 7″, 8″ x 19″, and 11″ x 14″) and wood type (walnut or cherry). He can also make a custom sized camera for you.

You can also explore his YouTube channel for more of his woodworks, or his website to check out his tintype portraits and cyanotype prints.