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Original Pin camera: A flat-packed lesson in photography


January 21, 2014

The flat-pack wooden Original pin camera aims to combine the educational benefits of pinhole photography with a durable, practical product

The flat-pack wooden Original pin camera aims to combine the educational benefits of pinhole photography with a durable, practical product

Image Gallery (15 images)

Pinhole cameras are great for demonstrating the fundamentals of photography. By using film and a small hole as an aperture rather than a lens, they have become a plaything of traditionalists in the age of smartphone cameras and DSLRs. The Original Pin, a flat-pack 35 mm pinhole camera, combines these educational benefits with a durable and practical product.

The camera, which is the brainchild of Seattle-based artist and designer Michael Kenney, takes regular 35 mm film and arrives as a flat-pack kit of wooden parts which the user then snaps and glues together. Each "basic kit" includes a set of camera body parts, faceplate, shutter, lens housing and lens kit.

The lens kit consists of square piece of recycled aluminum, a size 22 sewing needle, a piece of 400 grit sandpaper and instructions for making the pinhole and assembling the camera. In addition, users can customize their Original Pin with different faceplate designs or by paying extra to have their initials monogrammed onto the body.

Conceptually, the Original Pin is similar to a pinhole camera we looked at last year, the cardboard Videre. It too offers shutterbugs the satisfaction of building their own camera, though is somewhat limited in its uses by the material. Angling for a more robust product was ONDU's series of wooden pinhole cameras, though these come already assembled and ready to start snapping.

Lying somewhere in between, the Original Pin gives an insight into the mechanics of the camera through its build-it-yourself approach, while also offering something the company hopes will "last you a lifetime."

Kenney has turned to Kickstarter to get his camera into commercial production, which looks promising with the campaign having raised almost US$9,000 of the $10,000 goal at the time of writing – $55 will land you an Original Pin and one of the three faceplate designs, with shipping estimated for April 2014, if everything goes to plan.

You can check out the gallery to see some shots taken with the Original Pin, and see how the camera itself comes together in the video below.

Sources: Original Pin, Kickstarter

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars


Howard Steele

too primitive, have you thought of making it from plastic with a timed shutter,

Gavin Roe

A nice piece for history and educational purposes but the photos themselves are quite lousy. All the same it is quite interesting to see just how photography has evolved thus far. $55.00 is a pretty good deal as well, easier than trying to figure out a way to make one and purchasing all the materials. It is impressive and a nice item to show to the younger generation and just to have for the nostalgia of days gone by.

Sandra Forbes
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