Last time we heard from Albertino of Instax Magic, we were impressed with his attempt to revive a 90-year-old Zeiss Ikon Trona folding camera. He did it in a way that a lot of us most likely didn’t expect: using Lego bricks. Now, he’s back with another Lego masterpiece, this time a colorful digital camera inspired by his five-year-old son. If you’re looking to tinker around with a lego camera project and want some inspiration, this will certainly give you some ideas!
In his latest blog post, Albertino outlined the details of his “Percy” Lego digital camera, from the motivation and inspiration behind it, the tools he used, and the challenges he encountered.
He got the idea from his son, Percy, who made a Lego camera that looks strikingly similar to the 1930s folding camera he modified. This time, he wanted to make a real digital camera that can take pictures. “It inspires me to build a real Lego camera for him. Ideally, it would have a feeling of vintage camera in taking pictures but it has to be user-friendly. [One] even small kids who don’t know how to set aperture and shutter speed can use.”
He ended up with a working camera that has various shooting modes (automatic, aperture priority, shutter priority, art filter, etc), and uses manual focusing aided by the preview screen at the back. His son figured out how to use it right away.
To make the camera, he took out the lens from an old, broken Pentax point-and-shoot camera and parts of an Olympus EPL3 with a sensor issue as a digital back. He also used some Lego technic bricks to put together a simple gear-like manual focus system. He included light seals the same way he did with his other lego cameras, taking 1-2 hours to install it perfectly.
“Compared to my previous Lego instant camera, this camera is more light-hearted and funny. I didn’t build a tripod socket for it. I did do careful light seal[s] so that it wouldn’t have [a] light leak. I put two eyes on the camera lens plate. It now looked like an EMOJI with a surprising look.“
Both the design of the camera and the resulting photos are fun and playful. The old Pentax lens gave the images a dreamy, lo-fi look which the variety of filters from the digital camera back also enhanced.
Do check out Albertino’s blog post to learn more about this fun Lego camera project.
Photos by Albertino of Instax Magic. Used with permission.