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French student creates SLR using 3D printer

By dpreview staff on Jul 8, 2013 at 19:43 GMT

We normally don't cover film cameras on DPReview, but this one's too cool to pass up. Twenty-four year old Léo Marius has created a 35mm film SLR using a 3D printer, complete with a viewfinder and compatibility for any lens mount (once the appropriate mount is created and attached, of course). The camera has a fixed 1/60 second shutter speed, which is activated by a rather large release button. The camera isn't available for sale, but Marius provides instructions for creating your own - and hints at possibly crowd-sourcing it at some point.  

The front of the camera shows a Nikkor 50mm lens attached. This home-brewed camera allows you to use the lens mount of your choice.

[Photo: Léo Marius]  
This top-down view gives you a look at the optical viewfinder and attached Nikkor lens. 

[Photo: Léo Marius] 
Here you can see the advance lever, a slider for cocking the shutter, and the large shutter release button.  

[Photo: Léo Marius] 

More details about the project - and how to create one of your own - are available here.

(Instructables via Cult of Mac)

Comments

Total comments: 156
12
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

Judging by the fit and finish, this must be one of the very old and/or lower end homebrew 3D printers. I've seen the results from current commercial grade 3D printers in metal and several plastics - if you know what to look for, you can still tell it was 3D-printed rather than conventionally manufactured, but just barely.

I am convinced this ugly duckling is the writing on the wall. I believe personal 3D printers will follow the path of conventional desktop printers. In 1992 many people had dot matrix printers, equivalent in the crudeness of results to the camera above. Then Epson came out with the 720dpi Stylus Color. With that relatively affordable printer and inks and good paper, everybody could suddenly produce vibrant and sharp results. You could see the dots, but more to the point, you could see a beautiful document or photo. That's the level of quality attainable today from many 3D print shops.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

I believe, in roughly the same amount of time it took inkjets to get from Epson Stylus Color to modern wide-format multi-ink mixed-media inkjets, i.e. 15 years from now give or take, we'll have the ability to cost-effectively print 3D items on our desktops that rival conventionally made items in surface finish and mechanical properties to about the same extent that current inkjet prints rival optically printed photos.

3 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (9 months ago)

It is ironic to note that just as inkjet printing has reached photorealistic levels, more and more people are realizing they don't have the expertise to become a master printer, and they are partering up with pro printing labs again.

The same thing will happen with 3D printers after the novelty wears off. People who really need 3D printers for things like parts fabrication will have them, people who occasionally need precision parts and devices will go to service bureaus who can do it right without wasting consumables, and the home hobbyist market will dry up after a few years of complaining about the extortionate cost of the cartridges.

2 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (9 months ago)

I think even more so at the consumer level. I see very few photo inkjet papers at a Target or OfficeMax. Folks are uploading to a Walgreens and picking up the prints in store, I believe.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

graybalanced, Gesture, I recognize the trend of printing less at home just as (ironically) the quality is better than ever. However I believe the larger reason for it is the disruptive entry of HD mobile devices and ubiquity of other ways of accessing photos which are more dynamic, convenient, immediate than the physical print. The Eggleston law suit has created the legal precedent that even limited edition prints in fact aren't very limited.

Short of mankind escaping the three dimensions, I do not see the physical print analogy limiting the appeal of custom 3D printed objects you can actually use.

4 upvotes
LaFonte
By LaFonte (9 months ago)

Vast majority of people will have absolutely zero use for 3d printer at home. It is not like printing photos, you don't need much expertise to snap and print photo. But to design anything worthwhile in 3d is out of the scope or desire of most of the home users.

I don't think we will see 3d printer in staples any time soon.

0 upvotes
Suntan
By Suntan (9 months ago)

@LaFonte

Although I agree with your opinion, I must correct you to say that there already is a 3D printer available to buy at Staples.

-Suntan

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (9 months ago)

When you print a photo, when the print is done, the photo is done.

Many 3D projects are not ready to use out of the printer. Parts must be printed first, then finished and assembled into mechanisms. And not all devices work well if made out of plastic.

These additional steps will make the market for 3D printers much smaller than the market for 2D printers.

The demo in this article is of an extremely simple camera that has only one shutter speed. Who will be willing to print and assemble a camera that can actually compete with something that comes off a Nikon assembly line?

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

@graybalanced, when Apple had just announced coming out with an iPad, many people (myself included) were like "what?". To me, the idea to wedge an entire new class of a device between a smartphone and a notebook, seemed doomed. Now look at the tablet market. Ditto with many other disruptive innovations. I think there are uses for 3D printers we can't even fathom until they make their way into the masses at high quality and low prices, such that twenty years from now people will look back at today and marvel at how we'd managed without 3D printing, just like we can look back on the age of punch cards and dot matrix printers.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

@graybalanced, I see 3D printers being used for simple items at first, most notably body interfaces, such as personalized grips for sporting equipment and yes cameras, sections of car dashboards, and so on, that clip or screw onto the equipment. The equipment interface shape spec would come with the product or be downloadable from the manufacturer website, such that you can customize it and print the grip to attach in place of the default grip if any, shipped with the product.

0 upvotes
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (9 months ago)

I do better carving wood.

2 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (9 months ago)

Is that a euphemism for something revolting? Or did you mean that literally AND think it was funny?

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (9 months ago)

Chapeau!

2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (9 months ago)

Tam!

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (9 months ago)

Entertaining news. Nice for awareness...but, let's face it....none of us is going to make or use this baby!!!!!!
Perhaps we can print a 3D gun as well and the two items can have a shoot out?
:-)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
KentG
By KentG (9 months ago)

Somebody already made a 3D gun and it works, although it is single shot. Check for it on Youtube and you can probably find it unless the authorities have sqashed it.

0 upvotes
Sam Carriere
By Sam Carriere (9 months ago)

It's bad enough that this site now considers phones cameras -- can we please not get into this?

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (9 months ago)

Phones aren't cameras - they have cameras built into them. You can use them to take pictures. And this short news story is about... a camera. Did you have a point?

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
22 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (9 months ago)

Well, if it takes pictures, then it's a camera, I guess.
At least phones are digital (as in DigitalPReview), and here only the printing process is digital, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

0 upvotes
Anfernee Cheang
By Anfernee Cheang (9 months ago)

McDonald's in our area starts selling rice and pita. Guess we should stop their business since they cannot keep their focus on burgers...... LOL

1 upvote
dpLarry
By dpLarry (9 months ago)

Phone cams are another tool. An extra cam thats convenient. I'm interested to know what's going on.

If you're not interested then don't read phonecam reviews. But stop whining.

0 upvotes
Sam Carriere
By Sam Carriere (9 months ago)

Oh, I have every right to whine....

0 upvotes
salehdidit
By salehdidit (9 months ago)

in a few years, everyone will be printing their own bodies and putting in sensors etc.

That will also signal a dramatic drop in the amount of whining on these boards.

4 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (9 months ago)

Frankly the printing bodies part is more believable than any whining to stop. See the comment above for example. Somebody will always think of something.

3 upvotes
PC Wheeler
By PC Wheeler (9 months ago)

Like we all grind our own lenses now? Seems a waste of time considering the current price of cameras.

1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (9 months ago)

That's good logic chap! Printing a 3D printer shredder right now.

0 upvotes
Greg Lovern
By Greg Lovern (9 months ago)

@PC Wheeler:

It isn't like grinding your own lenses. It's like having a machine that grinds lenses for you while you get coffee and read a good book. All you do is pour in the pellets of raw materials.

0 upvotes
xMichaelx
By xMichaelx (9 months ago)

"Seems a waste of time considering the current price of cameras."

Yes, I'd much rather spend $700+ on that magnesium alloy body than ~$15 on printing my own plastic one.

That's good thinking', PC Wheeler (and I believe lenses were included in the OP's "etc.")

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (9 months ago)

The only reason whining will stop is because all the whiners will be too busy trying to figure out why their home 3D printer isn't quite able to reach the same levels of fit, finish, reliability, materials, integration, and performance as the cameras of all those companies they used to complain about. Putting together a professional precision device ain't like dustin' crops, boy.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (9 months ago)

I guess I don't know what a 3D printer is...

1 upvote
misolo
By misolo (9 months ago)

Wikipedia and search engines are your friends.

3 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (9 months ago)

Well where a 2D printer may be able to print a nice picture of itself, a 3D printer can actually reproduce after having intercourse with the internet, but beware of mood swings and strong cravings for plastic.

5 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (9 months ago)

From reading replies here, it sounds like 180 degrees out from a CNC machine. CNC create by cutting away stock. This thing creates by building up material.

I think I would like one. I like to make things but pretty much have to sew or work with aluminum stock by hand.

1 upvote
dopravopat
By dopravopat (9 months ago)

I wonder when we will see the first printed lens, the image quality will be interesting if we use some clear material.... LOL

0 upvotes
Broken Hill
By Broken Hill (9 months ago)

Don't know what's cool about it. It's one of the ugliest things i have ever seen. What a waste of a 3D printer!

2 upvotes
mgblack74
By mgblack74 (9 months ago)

For a technology in its relative infancy, don't be so quick to knock the esthetics of 3D printing. For a camera to be 'printed' out of thin air so to speak, and work, is pretty damn impressive. I grew up a Star Trek NG fan and for a camera to be "replicated" is pretty mind blowing in its own right.

10 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (9 months ago)

You can always melt it to bits and try again. :)

2 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (9 months ago)

Broken you're pretty ugly too i bet.

0 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (9 months ago)

Nice!
Soon we will just make up our own idea of the perfect camera and build ourselves. Web designers turned 3D printer coders for hire.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (9 months ago)

Better learn CAD.

1 upvote
grickie
By grickie (9 months ago)

cant wait to get one to fool around with.

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (9 months ago)

Better than whining blindly at manufacturers.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 156
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