There is something to be said for 3D printed gear that you can make for yourself, but have any of you ever considered using a 3D printed camera for your next photo gig? Probably not, but I would think it is also safe to say that you have not seen a medium format 3D printed camera that looks quite as polished as the Goodman One.
The Goodman One, the brainchild of Dora Goodman, is a medium format film camera that you can print and put together in the comfort of your own home – assuming you have the necessary 3D printer. But beyond the novelty of being able to build the camera yourself this model comes with some interesting design choices. The first of which is that you use it like you would an old school large format view camera. This is an odd experience for many photographers as shooting with large format cameras is a somewhat unique process compared to the way you use a modern digital camera, medium format or otherwise.
The second interesting choice is the lack of a traditional viewfinder. Instead, Goodman opted to design the Goodman One with another holdover from the large format style camera – a piece of ground glass. This means that users of the camera can see and compose their frame, with the one caveat being that everything is flipped and upside-down. This makes the experience of using a camera like this a little jarring for anyone who has only ever known a viewfinder composing experience.
If you are a fan of shooting medium format film and are interested in having a camera with a bit more flair and personal touch than your average, decades old medium format film camera running around then this could be a fun way to get back into the hobby. But that said, should everyone with a 3D printer and an interest in cameras be running over to Goodman’s website to get the plans for this? I don’t think so.
The fact is that most of us these days are used to a digital workflow and utilizing film and a nontraditional camera design like this one would be a headache for a lot of people. As well, with medium format digital starting to come way down in pricing, thanks to Fujifilm and Hasselblad, one could always spend a little (ok, a lot) more on a digital setup than they would likely be much more comfortable with. That also doesn’t even take into account the tons of still very functional medium format film cameras you can purchase on the cheap from any Goodwill or used camera store.
Those cameras will work well, come with expensive documentation (or at least you could find some easily) and their likely community of support is much higher. So does a camera like the Goodman One really have a chance of doing well in the medium format camera world right now? Not in my opinion, but there are certainly people out there who can and should get a real kick out of this camera. The majority of you should enjoy it from afar while you reload the film into the Pentax 645N that you just picked up on eBay.
That said, if you want to give it a shot, you can request the project files and learn more about the Goodman One over on Goodman’s website.