“Holslo” DIY Frankencamera: a project by Steve Lloyd

One of the fantastic things about shooting film, is the relatively low cost of our kit. Plastic cameras can give such fun results from so little outlay, that it encourages many people to get extra-creative. Not content with the existing wide-angle offerings on the film market, Steve Lloyd decided to put together something of his own!

He took the body of a Nimslo 3D, a camera designed in Texas and manufactured in Edinburgh in the 1980s. It was intended to produce four half-frame images that could be printed as a lenticular image, but sadly no-one prints in this way any more. Steve had an idea here, and using the lens of a common-or-garden Holga camera, saw an opportunity to create a camera with wide-angle capabilities.

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Photo: ishoothorizon
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Photo: Wikipedia

The first step was to remove the four-lensed frontage and the unnecessary electronics  from the Nimslo, and make space for one big lens (to be taken from the Holga).

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Lens removal, and some ugly wires too
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Front back on, the four apertures visible (for now)

The next step was to cut out the four apertures to make way for the Holga lens, and make sure the two would marry up happily enough…

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Looks like a good fit!

Next, Steve fabricated a cone from black card, to go between the lens and body and avoid as much light leaking in as possible.

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The cone pattern, put together and installed!

The shutter mechanism also needed to be resolved, as on the Nimslo the shutter button is on the body, and on the Holga, the shutter is on the lens. This was originally planned to be via extending the button on the body down further, and via a screw on the front plate, attaching it to the lens shutter…

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The screw poking out to trip the lens shutter

…however in practice, the travel on the screw was not enough to reliably trip the shutter every time, so this idea was scrapped. Each DIY project contains a certain amount of trial and error, and in this case the simplest option was the best – using the original lens shutter.

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Almost finished

The lens is now attached, the original Nimslo viewfinder blacked out, and the camera is almost finished! All that is left to do is make a hotshoe viewfinder, to enable some kind of framing.

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A hotshoe viewfinder

The viewfinder was created from a combination of old Holga lenses, black foamboard and strong black card, attached to a hotshoe cover from an Olympus 35RC. It gives the viewer the original 120 framelines to use, rather than having to guess!

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The finished Holslo camera

The “Holslo” is complete! Re-branded and with the strap from the Holga. Steve has published a few photos from his first roll through it (trusty Poundland Agfa Vista 200), a few are below and the rest are on his Flickr. An impressive and precise build – I love it!

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