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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun little camera! Takes great pictures, too.
I bought the Fotodiox version of the Recesky DIY, assemble-it-yourself camera from Amazon. The assembly was pretty easy (warning: Springs C and D are swapped in the assembly manual), and I had my camera done in less than an hour. Today I shot a test roll through it and had it developed. I scanned at home on my Plustek 7600i scanner, using VueScan.

Observations...
Published on March 9, 2012 by Hyun Yu

versus
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive Lomo, Not Crazy Over It
I bought this camera a few weeks back and I wanted to put it together and shoot a roll of film with it before I wrote my review. Overall, this is probably the best option for people interested in shooting 35mm with a Lomo-style camera, but there are a few hang-ups I have with the product.

First, I will say my experience in building the unit was consistent with...
Published 19 months ago by Kalaab M. Pickering


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun little camera! Takes great pictures, too., March 9, 2012
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
I bought the Fotodiox version of the Recesky DIY, assemble-it-yourself camera from Amazon. The assembly was pretty easy (warning: Springs C and D are swapped in the assembly manual), and I had my camera done in less than an hour. Today I shot a test roll through it and had it developed. I scanned at home on my Plustek 7600i scanner, using VueScan.

Observations? Despite being built entirely of plastic, it feels pretty sturdy--I mean, I wouldn't want to drop it on concrete or anything, but there are no squeaks, the body doesn't "give" when you grip it, etc. There's pretty severe vignetting when shooting up close. The zone focusing is very forgiving (or I got real lucky with my first roll). The plastic lens is surprisingly sharp in the middle, but blurs severely towards the outer edges. The film "counter" is accurate enough that I didn't have any problem with the frames being out of position on the film holder on my scanner.

I've uploaded some sample shots from the camera, to go with the review.

Tons of fun and highly recommended, if you like shooting film and don't mind scanning (or getting the negatives scanned) for best results!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive Lomo, Not Crazy Over It, February 22, 2013
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
I bought this camera a few weeks back and I wanted to put it together and shoot a roll of film with it before I wrote my review. Overall, this is probably the best option for people interested in shooting 35mm with a Lomo-style camera, but there are a few hang-ups I have with the product.

First, I will say my experience in building the unit was consistent with the other reviews: springs C and D were mixed up, the instructions used the Anglo alphabet but did not closely resemble English, and the pictures in the manual were more informative than the written instructions. Like another reviewer said, if you have experience building model cars/planes/trains, you shouldn't have too many difficulties with it.

The camera functions reasonably well. The advancement mechanism uses a little arrow on a circular dial that makes a half-turn every time the frame advances, so keeping your film lined up isn't too hard. Of course, there is no counter on it, so you'll have to keep track of the shots you take. One thing I love about this camera is its focus and viewfinder. The camera allows you to manually focus your shot, which you line up and compose using the viewfinder. Like all TLR cameras, the viewfinder consists of light gathered by the top lens, which is then reflected onto a frosted screen (which, in this case, is made of plastic). Of course, this yields a mirror image on the frosted screen, so lining things up at first is confusing, but it's easy to get the hang of.

The fact is, this camera is superior to most toy cameras by the simple virtue of it being a TLR, and quite a bit cheaper, too. Lomo is something I've had a hard time to commit to because I think the style of shots associated with the Lomo niche usually focus on the aesthetic of the photo rather than the composition. This is a problem not with Lomo cameras but with the photographers, but it's still a hurdle that all users have to overcome when you're shooting Lomo. I know there's a lot of rhetoric and hate towards "hipsters" (which I refuse to engage in), but one thing you're going to have to accept and work against is that your shots are going to have a "hipster" look to them, so you have to compose your shots well to make them stand out against the typical "look at my shoes"/"look at my coffee"/"look at my food" photos you see with this genre. Unfortunately, "hipster" is a poor term to describe something as because it's a completely subjective term. Here's a more objective description of the type of photos you'll get with this camera:

The first thing I noticed is that the focus area is pretty small. You get a nice, clear focus at the center of your picture, but the surrounding areas are out of focus or have a "soft" focus to them. This is actually aesthetically pleasing, as it immediately creates a focal point in your shot. You can use this to your advantage when you compose your shot. Keep in mind, this blur ring around your focal point occurs even when the surrounding area is the same or similar distance from your focal point. For example, you can take a picture of a person's shirt, which would be in focus, but their arms, face, etc (which are more or less the same distance away from your lens) will be out of focus. Another thing I noticed with this camera is that your shots have a gritty look to them, a feature I found pleasing.

The Lomo niche in general has a few factors that work against it, which I strongly recommend you keep in mind when shooting with toy cameras. First, don't let the aesthetics take over your shot: if it would be boring through a standard digital camera, it's still boring through a Lomo. Second, if you're unsure about whether or not you'll enjoy Lomography, don't drop $50 on a Holga or $80+ on a Diana - these cameras are horribly overpriced and are thinner on features than this camera. Third, if this is your first concerted foray into film photography and you're choosing Lomo, go with 35mm instead of medium-format 120 film. You're going to have a smaller investment in the art in terms of processing and prints. I can get a roll of film processed at CVS for $2, then scan them at home.

As you may have guessed, I'm not entirely sold on Lomo or toy photography, but I'm happy with this purchase because I got into the niche for a cheap price, plus this camera gives you more control over your image than the standard Holga/Diana.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun for $15, January 14, 2013
By 
David White (Santa Rosa, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
I bought this camera as an intro to the world of inexpensive plastic cameras, and was not disappointed. The camera leaks light (even though I taped all of the edges with electrical tape), the film "counter" wouldn't engage with the film (so I ended up winding too far to avoid double exposures), almost all pictures were overexposed (using 400 ASA in bright sunlight), and only the center of the images are in focus. Which were all fine with me, I'm experimenting with this camera because I want the imperfections, and they haven't been overly distracting.

The instruction manual is less than adequate, but it was sufficient for me to get the camera together and working, without breaking anything. The camera design is simple in an elegant way, so you can't go too far wrong. As people have pointed out in other reviews, the codes for the larger shutter springs are switched, and the screwdriver referred to in the instructions is not included. I used a Phillips screwdriver from a jeweler's kit, anything larger would strip the screw heads.

You should also be prepared to develop the film yourself, or have the lab cut the film strips manually (the spacing may not be consistent).

The description and instructions both mention the use of 24 exposure film, but I had no problem using 36 exposure film.

Have fun!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool little plastic camera, Lomo-style!, December 30, 2011
By 
Menocu (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
What a great little camera! This kit is exactly what I expected from the reviews, and maybe a little more! I found that it was fairly easy to put together, and it took about an hour. You NEED to pay attention and take your time though, as one or two parts seem to be mislabelled and sometimes the directions have you put things together in an order that is not optimal for easy construction. That being said, the box and the directions were well laid out, and there were plenty of descriptions, troubleshooting tips and other (very) helpful tips in the manual. Lots of good pics to refer to. The camera itself is slightly delicate, but that is to be expected. it looks cool as hell, like a vintage one from another dimension. First roll of experimentation yielded a couple of GREAT photos. You CAN very easily do multiple exposures (perhaps too easily) which come out wonderfully if you have very good lighting. I suggest having very good lighting for your pics, or they won't really come out well. If you have poor lighting and try to do multiple exposures, they REALLY won't come out. That being said, this was a pleasure to build, and the pics were really cool.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gift for friend, June 4, 2013
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
This was a gift for an artistically inclined friend. They thought it was very cool but as far as I know they havent been able to assemble it. Its a bit more complicated than I thought it would be. Their birthday was 6 months ago. Cool idea but maybe a gift for the engineer type rather than the photographers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun and easy diy, May 28, 2013
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
I've been wanting a TLR camera for as long as I can remember. While browsing ThinkGeek.com a few months ago I reason across a kit similar to this one. The thing with that camera kit, though, is that it cost about twice as much, plus shipping. That being said, you really can't beat the price for this particular camera kit.

As the other reviewers already mentioned, this kit doesn't come with a screwdriver. So you'll need one of those... a small one with a short handle works best. You also need double sided tape.

I didn't really find the instructions hard to follow... although the grammar is very poor, I found it easiest to follow the illustrations anyway. The hardest part for me was getting the lens panel in. Instead of sliding it in, I just took one of the sides off and put it in that way instead. Another thing... on the instructions there's a list of everything in the package. Including 18 screws, 2 flat head screws, and 5 cap screws. It really came with 7 cap screws, and I do believe I used all of them (I can't really tell, as I have cats that like to "help" and run off with things).

All in all... this was soooo much fun to make! And I really can't wait to try it out.

Edit: I reduced my review from 5 stars to 2 because the film counter doesn't work. The gear is so short it's not grabbing the film. The film still loads and turns and all, but how do I know when to stop turning the film when the counter doesn't work? The gear definitely needs to be a little bigger. I really don't want to keep wasting film :/
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable little camera kit, July 6, 2012
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
If you like offbeat photography (with real film) at an incredibly reasonable price, this little kit can't be beat. It's not the easiest kit to assemble, but a brief Google search (search on "build Gakkenflex", since this is a clone of that kit) will yield all the clues you need to turn out a working camera. Actually, the only trouble I had was getting the shutter assembled and even that only took about 15 minutes, mostly in getting the tension on the springs and the tightness of the retaining screws just right.

Be warned that you will probably have to provide your own small Philips-head screwdriver to assemble this kit -- at least my kit didn't come with one; YMMV. I also needed tweezers for portions of the aforementioned shutter assembly. When you are done you have a reasonably solid little camera. Mine doesn't even have any light leaks (surprisingly).

The resulting photos are Holga-esque in their skewed focus, an effect many enjoy, but some just don't understand. If pin-sharp photos are what you want you should avoid this kit like the proverbial plague; no aspherical lens elements of high-IR crystal are included here, just good ol' cheap plastic! The viewfinder is remarkably clear and easy to focus with (far better than my Blackbird, Fly). Because this is a twin-lens reflex, though, composing can be somewhat difficult since the viewfinder is left-right reverse.

If you are an old-school film photographer, this little camera will bring back some great memories. If you're a digital-only sort of photographer, this will either be a massive exercise in frustration or your eyes will be opened to fantastic new possibilities and you will be introduced to a cool new way of seeing your world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little camera; Unique photos, April 22, 2012
By 
Tal Felsen (Teaneck, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
I got this camera kit a few weeks ago and am completely happy with it. It takes a good two hours to build and is a lot of fun. It really gives you an understanding of how to camera works. After shooting a roll of film of can say that the camera Realy works. You do get some blurry and/or fuzzy pics but the rest are pretty unique. Overall this camera is a great buy and lots of fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun toy! Great Customer Service!!!!!, April 18, 2012
By 
David (WILTON, CT, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
First off, let me say that as cameras go, this one is not setting any world records for sharpest photo . . . It's a toy camera along the same vein as a Holga. Which, for camera nuts like myself, make it all the more fun because you assemble it yourself. As a collector of Twin Lens Reflex cameras this was a real find!

The kit is NOT easily assembled in 1 hour. It took me about 3 hours, total. And, the instructions leave a bit to be desired. Fotodiox is a real company, and they make real photography equipment. And, the manual IS written in clear English. But, it was not proofread carefully, and there are a few key errors. For instance, it refers to using the screwdriver that came with the kit. It DOES NOT come with one. I confirmed this with Fotodiox. Addtionally, it tells you to use Spring D when it means Spring C, and vice versa. There were a couple of other steps that required a bit of "finessing" . . .

My kit arrived missing a less than critical piece (of course the LAST piece in the assembly). So, I called the company and they're sending one out UPS to me ASAP. I got a real person on the phone in approximately 2 minutes. She spoke English (they're located in Illinois) and was supremely helpful.

This is a great gift for anyone who is into photography, lomography, or general mechanics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DIY lomo camera!, April 17, 2012
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This review is from: Genuine Fotodiox DIY Lomo Camera, Twin Lens Reflex, TLR Camera Kit (68 Pieces, with Detailed Instructions, Uses 35mm 24 Exposure B&W or Color Film) (Electronics)
very cool little camera and it was quite an experience to build, only took about an hour, maybe a little longer but it was pretty interesting all the same. I have taken pictures for a long time and I know how a camera works and even as simple as this one is it was a really neat learning experience. the film advance doesnt always catch correctly so I just guess on how far Ive advanced and hope that I get to an empty spot although its no biggie if I don't art shots are cooler when theyre accidental.
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