Need help designing 3-shot camera!

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by lianna, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. lianna

    lianna Member

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    HEY APUGERS!

    My name is Lianna and I am currently in the midst of my 4th year industrial design thesis project where I am designing an analog one-time-use 3-shot camera to be given out and used at promotional events, so it needs to be ultra cheap for high production runs. So whatever the housing is will end up being some kind of thin cardboard or other very cheap material but its insides could be recycled and reused when sent to the film developer during processing.

    I'm using 35mm 800 ISO/APA film and there won't be any sensors or flash within the camera, somewhere between pinhole and lomography. However, because it is a product to be given out at events, it needs to be intuitive and as easy as a disposable camera to use.

    The problem I'm having is the mechanics of it. Now, because it is only 3 shots, the film doesn't need to spool so I have two different directions I could go in here.

    1. I'm trying to make it a rotary disc shutter type of thing, where the 3 pieces of film are on a round disc and the shutter both exposes and advances the film. I'm trying to emulate the simplicity of the old viewmaster toy seen below, where all it is is a piece of plastic with a small foot that holds the disc and a spring. I also have a cardboard prototype of how the film would sit inside the disc. If anyone has a rotary disc shutter camera or knows a lot about how it works and the mechanics within I'd love to talk to you!
    Photo on 2013-01-11 at 12.01.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 12.01 #2.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 12.00.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 12.00 #2.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 12.00 #3.jpg


    2. I'm trying to make a sliding lens so that the film never needs to move. I have a very low-resolution prototype of this below but I need a more professional opinion to figure out if it would actually work or not and any suggestions on how else this could work.
    Photo on 2013-01-11 at 11.48 #3.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 11.47.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 11.48.jpg Photo on 2013-01-11 at 11.48 #2.jpg

    SO GUYS if anyone has anything to say about this and/or knowledge about all of this or has ever built their own camera I'd very much appreciate anything you can offer me!
    Thanks in advance friends!
     
  2. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Sorry I can't be of any help but this is a cool project, I would love to see updates as your work progresses.
     
  3. sdotkling

    sdotkling Member

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    Disclaimer: I know nothing, really. But that said, while the rotating wheel idea is totally cool, it will be a bitch to find big sheets of film, and expensive (4x5 film is not that common, and is difficult to handle to load and develop. The strip idea is much more practical, because you could use 35mm film, which is easy, and goes into most enlargers. How would you print the photos? 35mm film has a much better shot (no pun intended) to fit into some kind of automated photo printer. Don't know if short strips will be exactly easy, but you're closer to a practical solution with 35mm film.
     
  4. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

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    Hi Lianna. I guess you could use three separate pieces of film to overcome the problem that sdotkling points out, but that would raise its own problems such as having to position the three individual pieces of film into their little slots in the disk. I think he or she is right that the disk shape would require starting with a large piece of film (or a lot of fussy manufacturing of it). Unless modern construction technique (eg robotics) meant that cutting and placing the three pieces of film would be not a deal breaker.

    There have been lots of rotary shutters. I am not an expert, just intrigured, but a little slit moving across the film plane will do the trick. Most modern shutters work that way, by the way, of a slit moving across the film or sensor. A lot of people think a shutter works by opening and shutting like an iris but most really do not work that way.

    In some ways having the three negs placed in a circle around the shutter could be really effective if you can accept the cost of inserting the film. The strip of three negs would be a lot cheaper in that regard. However it has its own problems, you are going to have to design a light proof mechanism as the holder slides back and forth.
     
  5. lianna

    lianna Member

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    Oh no, even in the rotating film idea it would still use 35mm film (see the white cardboard model - where the holes are cut out, the film sits). This is a system-based design so I'm also designing an infrastructure for development, etc. So, it's not impossible, as far as I know.
     
  6. lianna

    lianna Member

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    Yes, yes I am aware that the 3 negs around the shutter would have to deal with inserting the film, but as for its effectiveness, do you think that is the best mechanism for what I'm trying to do? I think I found a really clever and simple shutter here that I could copy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS7JDFqOckU
    That means I have to design a way to advance the film but that's doable.

    But do you not think these are the best ways to do this 3-shot deal? What would you do if you were in my shoes?
     
  7. MkII

    MkII Member

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    How about changing the axis of the rotation? You could then have film on three sides of a cuboid.
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Lianna, sorry to be devil's advocate here, but if you want something cheap as chips, would not a digital disposable camera be a better option. Analog requires film and processing and printing costs.
     
  9. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I can't help you with this project, although, if you're going for very high production runs, it's very possible that a company like Lomography would be champing at the bit to help you out. They obviously know how to make low-fi cameras, and have all the manufacturing contacts. Otherwise, you could maybe talk to some smaller camera companies about partnerships.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I just wanted to refer to those simple shutters found at old box-cameras, when you hinted at that video.
    Yes, that principle of flip-flop shutters was popular. In their most elementary form it meant that the release button/lever had to be activated in alternative directions with successive exposures.

    Have a look at patents, you might get some ideas for simple shutter solutions. Keeping things simple and cheap often asks for quite some ingenuity.

    Using the film transport as shutter (transporting the film behind the lens, keeping it there for exposure, transporting it further), will not work. The two transport action will blurr the exposure. Coping with that means efforts not related to the kind of project.
     
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  11. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    I think that your view master model is a good direction. Your shutter could be a slit that exposes the film as it rotates when you press the trigger.
    Or the film cartridge could be fixed and the trigger rotates a disk with the slit. This might be interesting in that each shot would have a slightly different perspective.
    You are going to have to correlate the width of the slit with the speed of advance by the trigger and the focal length of camera for a proper exposure.

    Very similar to this http://www.noblexcanada.com/noblexproducts.htm

    For example, at f16 on a sunny day what radial speed across the slit equals a 1/800 th of a second shutter speed ?



    What are thinking as far as a lens ? I do not think that a pinhole will work for your lens in that the trigger mechanism will not yield a slow enough shutter / slit speed.

    I'm thinking that you could butcher a holga to prototype your 3 shot film cartridge and trigger.

    Do you know how to develop film ? In order to test your prototypes for proper exposure you or someone else will need to. You could prototype in house with black and white, then when the variables seem to have been worked out switch to color.


    To complete the view master model maybe you will use E6 film, returned to the user mounted similar to the view master slides, perhaps projected onto a wall by a simple cardboard projector as well.

    There are certainly many here that can help you in that regard.


    Charles
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    how about something like the old polaroid 500 portrait camera
    3 levers/buttons you push down. each one is a shutter that exposes at 1/60 o r80 o r40 or whatever
    the film doesn't need to move at all, u have 3 different cheap plastic meniscus lenses and a little box around
    each of the films / lenses like an egg carton.
    you push 3 times that's it
    send it in to be processed, remove the flm fold it in half and send it back to you
    to have the shutter rods pulled out, shutters cocked and 3 more flms installed.
    have fuN ( fun project ! )
    john
     
  13. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In all slit-scan panoramic cameras, may they employ a swivelling lens on static film, or a rotating camera and counterwise runnig film, there is no image-to-film movement.

    In your proposal the film would move on the disc while the camera or the lens is static. Or do I miss something?
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Lianna, what you have in mind to do is somewhat reminiscent of the Chevet-Wild Endoscopographe. This beast was patented in France -- sorry, I don't have the patent number -- by C.N.R.S. Google will find a few references to it.

    It is an SLR with a polaroid back that took six shots -- circular ones, arranged in a circle -- on a sheet of polaroid film. The shutter was cocked and the film advanced -- well, not advanced, positioned for the next shot -- by rotating the back. The shutter was a piece of spring-loaded sheet metal that was released by pressing a trigger.

    Ideas for you to steal: the shutter design, cocking shutter by moving the disk that holds the film.

    Ideas you don't want to steal: SLR, trigger shutter release with linkage, nearly everything else about the camera. Heavy thing, all metal, was intended to connect to an endoscope.
     
  17. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    Just a matter of perspective as to which is fixed and which moves.
     
  18. lianna

    lianna Member

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    Though this is true and you have a point, my project has a lot of conceptual background and research to validate my value proposition regarding the magic of analog and keepsakes, etc. This camera is by no means a replacement of anything digital. Of course I know people will have iPhones on them all the time. But it's a gift. Given to people to choose 3 moments during at event carefully and later receive a memento from the event branded to the event. So yes, you are totally right, but for this project, it relies on being analog.
     
  19. lianna

    lianna Member

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    I have emailed the Canadian contact for Lomography and am awaiting a reply!
     
  20. lianna

    lianna Member

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    For a lens, I'm trying to keep it simple and use a disposable camera lens (this whole project stemmed from the idea to make a super simple and super cheap disposable camera) so if there's an easier way to do this I'm so open to any help.

    I could definitely get a Holga and try to hack it.. if I knew what I was doing ahead of time haha.

    I do know how to develop film but it's been a while. However, I go to an art university and there's a photo department that can help me out.

    You had me until projectors.. I'm confused.

    But you have really great insights! I appreciate it a whole lot. If you know any other simpler way to do this that I haven't thought of, please let me know !

    Lianna
     
  21. lianna

    lianna Member

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    Okay everyone, this may be it...

    What if the camera was almost like 3 mini cameras in one? What I mean by this is the film would be stationary within the camera and there would be 3 lenses and 3 shutters (one for each exposure) like John is saying here. When you click the shutter release button, it releases a guillotine-type shutter (I'd like to laser cut plastic for the guillotine mechanism) and the shutter release button stays down. And again for picture no. 2 and 3. Because this is a gravity shutter, it means that the camera cannot take portrait photos (something that I may be okay with sacrificing). Does anyone foresee any problems with this?
     
  22. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

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    ya lianna i have been thinking that any mechanism that is designed to move the film (whether it is the viewmaster design or the strip of three) is going to be more complex than merely having three simple cameras in one. My rationale for that in addition to a semi-precise film transport, all the seals will have to be light proof. In a lot of ways having three versions of the same thing all ganged together would be easier. As you likely can use a simple meniscus lens, having three simple plastic lenses will not be that costly (compared to making a complicated mechanism) -- they could be molded as one long strip of plastic. Your shutter could be a simple little plastic gizmo that had the 'spring' just be a flexy arm that is part of the shutter. It could be really basic. Again could probably mold all three shutters and springs from one piece of plastic.

    There are a lot of multilens cameras out there that are novelty cameras sold by lomography and places like that -- for example http://canada.shop.lomography.com/cameras/multilens-cameras

    You should have a look at them. They are designed to fire each lens in succession so you get a semi stop-motion effect. I am not sure what you are planning for how you would use this camera but you could probably work out some mechanism to fire all three shots in quick succession if you wanted to have that as an option. Your project seems more fun than the stuff I am working on today ;-p
     
  23. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Kodak's patents on the (now defunct) Disc cameras should give you an idea of the options in that area.

    The cube concept mentioned earlier sounds interesting, though it might work better as a stubby cylinder with three lenses and the film looped internally. Cocking the shutter would open the next 'eye' in the sequence - maybe by moving a one-way dial on the top.
     
  24. lianna

    lianna Member

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    You're completely on the same page as I am, that's a relief! Now, instead of doing gravity shutters, I'm working on a shutter that is held in tension with an elastic band and is released by this sort of button that inverts itself when pressed. I will post updates when I can to keep you all in the loop!

    I love all you APUGers :smile:

     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    A rocker switch??
     
  26. lianna

    lianna Member

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