We took on the task of making the Konstruktor, a DIY SLR kit from Lomography, to see if we could show you how it’s done, according to the timer

Setting up our studio table, equipped with video cameras and decorative strawberries and bunting, Professional Photographermagazine’s Art Editor Becky opened the tabs on the beautifully designed box of the Konstruktor and started the stopwatch. What was supposed to take a couple of hours maximum turned into quite the epic task!

The Konstruktor from Lomography is a build-it-yourself assembly kit for a working 35mm SLR film camera. Opening the box we found a couple of sheets of plastic holding all the key parts to construct the camera, a box of screws and, excitingly, a packet of stickers for customising. And we’re off…

The first few steps were simple, assembling the back of the camera and the compartment holding the mirror. It was going well and looking good on video in a true Art Attack fashion that would have made Mr Buchanon proud, until we hit a wall, or should we say a spring. A minute spring must be hooked over two parts of the camera and it was an immensely fiddly job to do; we actually ended up losing the spring and its replacement partner in the decking of the garden and confusingly somewhere on the dining room floor. Having to admit defeat we began packing up the box, frantically emailing Lomography for a new kit and shutting down the cameras, when we hit a bit of luck as Becky found a spring nestled in the box! A word of warning for this stage, have patience and do it in a clear area where there are few places for little springs to hide should they ping off.

Two Hours in

After passing the maximum assembly guide time of two hours — mainly due to spending one of the hours on hands and knees searching the decking — we cracked on to get the kit completed. There were a couple more fiddly parts with cogs and screws but eventually the body was clipped in and all pieces were intact. Becky was then let loose to apply her artistic flare to the camera, customising it with stickers provided.

Becky Buchanon’s Thoughts

It was exciting to make something I knew I would be able to use at the end, but also a little bit daunting as to whether I would make it correctly. I have a habit of jumping ahead of steps when building things — not that it would matter with a Lego boat — but it’s a bit different with a camera!

The instructions are straightforward apart from the screws, as it was difficult to tell what they were — a guide would have been good. It was a bit of a guessing game. The only problem I had was with the smallest part of the kit, the spring. I couldn’t get both ends of the spring to stay on the relevant part of the camera — much to my annoyance! The spring, which eluded me for about an hour trying to get it in the right place, pinged off, much to the shock of Jade and I. We would have made the camera very quickly if it hadn’t been for the spring. It was fun to make and obviously I loved the stickers to customise the camera at the end.

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