DigiLomo Camera: The Homemade Lomography Camera

There are several smartphone apps that can help you create Lomography look-a-like images, but nothing beats this DIY project which produces similar perfectly imperfect photos. You can even pair this hack with a vast array of OM Series SLR lenses or use an adapter for other glass from different manufacturers to further the array of results... We wanted to create our own digital Lomography camera, using walnut, hand polished aluminum frame and all the guts of a craptastic 5 megapixel Vivitar Vivicam. For lenses, we used an Olympus OM series interchangeable lenses, a lens similar to compact digital cameras.
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From concept to pre-final product.

We created this rendering to have an idea of the final concept, the materials and proportions. We think we succeeded replicating the rendering into a working prototype.

Materials:

  • Black walnut
  • Hand rubbed aluminum
  • Olympus OM series SLR lens
  • Len adaptor
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver set
  • Saw

We started out with the idea craftsmanship of design would lead with functionality figured out afterward...kind of like a working concept. Starting out with a semi-working model was a totally different approach to design than we were used to doing and you can figure a lot of stuff out as you go along.

As a donor, we used a Vivitar Vivicam 5025 camera; it needed to be gutted in order to being able to fit all the internals inside the tiny 0.75" frame. A new battery pack had to be ordered instead of using the standard AAA batteries, so we could make more room inside the casing.

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Using off the shelf components made this built "relatively easy" since tools could be easily purchased at Lowes and Home Depot. Cutting aluminum is not fun with hand tools. We screwed some parts and have to re-do them a couple of times but by the third time we were becoming experts in cutting and finishing!
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We used screws to secure the frame and the bottom part of the frame needs to be removed to change batteries and remove the SD card. We're also planning to construct a port to recharge the batteries via micro USB cable, and the use of Eye-Fi card will make the upload procedure even easier.
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What about the pictures? In the spirit of Lomography, our homemade DigiLomo Camera takes lo-fidelity images with lots of blurring, out of focus, shallow depth field and color aberrations/light leaks...but this is exactly what we wanted. We weren't aiming for megapixel count or image sharpness; what we wanted was the unpredictable nostalgic feel of film with a camera body, with the ease of a digital camera. Here's some sample photos:
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The small size makes it great to carry it around with no problems. Just imagine an Olympus Pen series with a bigger lens.
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In the future, we are going to experiment more with filters and lenses/adaptors to see what else we can generate out of our DIY DigiLomo Camera.

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