There are many things nerds, and I say this as a nerd, love; cameras and Lego are two of them. So, Lomo putting out the Konstruktor, a camera that you can essentially build out of Lego pieces, is pretty much pure nerd catnip. But it’s way more than just a toy; it’s a full camera, with the tools you need to create genuine works of photographic art, and a way to understand how cameras work.
The essential mission statement of the Konstruktor is that people don’t understand how cameras work, even as they become more pervasive and common in our daily lives. To that end, you build the camera from the ground up; the lens, the body, the mechanism, all of it. It comes in a fold-out kit with detailed instructions… and it’s actually a pretty solid camera, once you’re done with it.
It allows both short and long exposures, and has a tripod thread built into the body to keep the shot steady. The viewfinder is a “hood” type which is easier to use and compose shots with, and you build in a magnifier to help you tweak the focus. You can also mess with the shutter easily to create multiple exposures.
It’s also fairly quick to assemble: Lomo puts the overall assembly time at one to two hours, depending on how busy you are. There are a few downsides, though: It’s built to accept analog film, so you’ll need to send your film away to be developed. Also, by necessity the lens has a fixed aperture, and Lomo doesn’t mention what mount the Konstructor uses, so the removable lens might be little more than a formality.
Still, it’s a fun camera, and you can’t knock the price: The Konstruktor is just $35 from Lomo’s site.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.