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An SLR for $35? Yes, it’s real, but it’s also not what you had in mind


If you’ve been eyeing a new single-lens reflex (SLR) camera but have been turned off by the high price tag, what would you say if we told you about a brand new SLR that costs only $35? If you think we’re flimflamming, well, you’re partly right. But such a product does exist; it’s just not what you’re thinking of.

Lomography, the purveyor of funky-but-usable analog film cameras, introduced the “world’s first 35mm do-it-yourself camera,” called the Konstruktor. As both the name and claim suggest, it’s a plastic SLR camera you build yourself.

The Konstruktor arrives in a kit similar to model cars and Gundam robots. The black plastic can be customized with covers and stickers, much like the models you’ll find in hobby shops. After it’s put together (Lomo says it takes an hour or two to build), you have a fully functioning 35mm film camera with a detachable 50mm f/10 lens and a top-down viewfinder. The Konstruktor has a 1/80s shutter speed, as well as a tripod threat.

OK, so the Konstruktor isn’t anywhere near a real DSLR (or a film SLR, for that matter), but Lomo says, “the Konstruktor gives you the chance to learn more about the inner workings of an analog camera as you put your own together piece by piece.” Lomo even claims the camera will deliver “impressively sharp shots on regular 35mm film.” The sample images Lomo provided actually look very nice from a toy camera you put together. While many of you will dismiss the Konstruktor as a one-trick novelty, Lomo does plan to grow the product with new lenses and accessories.

Of course, the Konstruktor isn’t an SLR replacement, but it could be a fun toy for both kids and adults, especially if you’re into adding analog filters to your digital photos (except, here it’s the real thing). If you’re wondering what kinds of film you can use with it, Lomo has a new batch of its popular Lomochrome Purple film for preorder.

Now, if Lomography could just partner with Lego on a DIY SLR.

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