So lots of people have been getting on with things they've always wanted to do in lockdown, if they have the time to, and I have had a Lomo Konstructor camera sat in my cupboard for about 4 years now, I kept meaning to get it out and film making it and it just never happened... until now!

You can watch the video below for a look at me building the thing, but in this blog post I'm going to be giving my review of the kit and it's function, so enjoy!

The Lomo Konstukor is a kit that guides you through making a plastic SLR camera, it comes with a 50mm f10 lens and shoots 35mm film. You can also buy additional kits such as a flash gun, and macro lens, but I just had the standard kit.

For some reason I had it in my head that this was a cardboard camera? No idea how I came to that conclusion but it is not, it is plastic. The whole kit comes in a box with some bigger outer pieces, the mirror mechanism already made, and lots of smaller plastic pieces ready to be assembled.

The construction was at times confusing but overall I enjoyed it. The box says it should take 1-2 hours and it took about that. The instructions in some parts, however, are not all that clear and if you run into any difficulties there's not really anything in the instructions to help you.

I was also worried throughout that when I was trying to snap the little plastic pieces in place I would end up snapping the plastic, but thankfully that didn't happen! That could be a me thing though, as I'm especially adept at breaking things.

The film winder mechanism on this camera  kit didn't work properly, and though we did manage to botch together a fix, this mechanism was definitely dodgy.

I am a big fan of the fact the kit comes with a bunch of bright stickers to decorate your camera with, and it helped me appreciate what goes into making a camera without taking apart one of my own and risk not being able to get it back together. So for someone interested in that sort of thing you definitely learn some things, and feel accomplished at the end having a camera you put together.

Overall: Pretty fun to make, but also frustrating at times. No troubleshooting if you have issues with this kit. 
After the fxing of the film winding mechanism I'm happy to say the camera worked! I managed to take a roll of film on it, however our fix made the tension on the winder really high so it was a lot of work to wind the film meaning it got stuck sometimes and a lot of my pictures were overlapped with a few unintended double exposures. Definitely not a high precision camera but that's not what you except from a build your own kit to be fair! I actually gave myself blisters on my fingers from trying to wind it, but that's due to our fix more than the camera design...

The camera does have the option to shoot long exposures, which is a nice addition to a pretty novelty camera, but a feature I haven't tried on it yet (I imagine it would be quite challenging to get right with this camera).

I do want to shoot again with it, with a colour film (as I used B&W) but I doubt I will be using it much after that, maybe the occasional novelty use. I think it will just sit on my shelf as a decorative piece. It takes the same kind of vibe of pictures as a fair few other cameras I own and is much harder to use.

Overall: Fun for one use, but definitely not a go to camera. Will probably act as a decoration in future.

As a sustainability blogger I feel like I should have this as a little section. Honestly I feel conflicted. I probably wouldn't buy one of these kits again unless it made a type of camera I can't easily buy/that had more effects (I did see a kit that made a panorama camera which looked really cool).

The problem is that as a camera it's kind of a one and done thing, I don't see the point in shooting with it more than a couple of times, and it's not like it has a resale value/use. I am now using it as a decorative piece so it does get a second life like that. I'm happy to have made it and learnt things from it but I don't know if I'd do it again. Maybe if I had fewer other cameras I would use it more...

Overall: It has very limited use as a novelty camera so doesn't feel all that sustainable of a piece But can be used as a nice decoration and its purpose lies more in the making and learning.
The Photos
You can see all of the photos I took in this post (as well as a video of the journey), but here are some thoughts.

I was pleasantly surprised, I had an awful lot of overlapping and a few double exposures due to the very tense film winder but the photos came out pretty well otherwise. I shot on 100 ISO B&W film in bright daylight, developed at home, and all of my pictures were clear. Though it was a bit hard to tell in the viewfinder whether photos were in focus, most were. Most importantly, the camera functioned and there weren't any major issues other than the winding, I was half expecting a blank roll or something.

I do want to shoot again in colour to fully appreciate this camera, as I love the vibe that I've seen from the pictures online. I will probably wait until after lockdown to do this when I can actually get my film developed though!

Overall: Pleasantly surprised, lots of overlapping but otherwise clear pictures. Want to shoot again in colour soon.

Final Thoughts
Although I brought up quite a few problems with this camera I'm glad I made it, I learnt a fair bit from it and it was rewarding after a bit of hard work to have a camera that I can say I've made!

Although I wasn't planning on shooting with it again too much, writing this post has made me want to experiment with the camera more in the future. Though the winding mechanism does make it annoying to shoot with properly I'm excited to see how this camera shoots in colour.

If you're someone who has a love of film cameras, and a bit of experience with them, and wants to give making your own a go this is definitely a kit I would recommend. It may be a bit frustrating and a very steep learning curve for someone totally new to analogue photography though.

It's a fun novelty project and at the end you get a camera that isn't the most usable but takes some fun photos and definitely sits prettily on a shelf.

Stay tuned for Tuesday to see all of the photos I took on this camera and a follow up video of my experiences shooting with it. If you've used it yourself I'd love to know your thoughts and whether you had the same problems with the winding mechanism as me!

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