3D printed open DLSR

Bozardeux, a recent French graduate and Instructables user, has undertaken a project to make an open, 3D printed DSLR camera. All the parts and designs are licensed CC Attibution-ShareAlike. The OpenReflex is an Open-Source analog camera with a mirror Viewfinder and an awesome finger activated mechanic shutter (running ~ 1/60°s). What’s more, it’s compatible with… READ THE REST

It’s not a DSLR if it’s analog and uses film. The D at the beginning of DSLR stands for digital. This is just a regular SLR camera.


indeed- the author mentions a possible digital back (“PhotoBomb special Back”), I wish I knew what that was. It seems like there’s a market for low-end (under $100) digital backs.

Also avoiding mentioning Muphry’s Law with the title.


It’s a D-CSLR: Digitally-Created SLR. :slight_smile:

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Nice lens. Pity this camera doesn’t have a meter that can mesh with the lens prong.

I learned photography with that lens, a 50, and a full-manual Nikkormat with that meter thing that fits in there. good eye! didn’t even register with me until you said that.

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I did some try with my Nikon-F prism and it could fit with his meter on the OpenReflex without a lot of changes. Something to try. (but I’ll be careful with my Nikon, my 50mm had already been maltreated to much )

Hi, For the photobomb edit it’s not an digital back, it’s just a joke with some friends, a back with the possibility to fit close to the film some picture that will be print in every pictures as unexpected ghosts. => photobomb :slight_smile:
I’ll try to upload it on instructable tomorrow.

Digital Backs could be a nice issue but I’m not rich enough to explore it for the moment. :wink: [ And i can’t anymore do some try with the hasseblad back of my school… :’( ]

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This is extremely cool, although admittedly, I’d be way more interested in a home-brew/open source digital camera. But again, not trying to criticize — this is way cool — I’m just really over film at this point in my life. I must have at least 3 nice film cameras that I never use.

Cheap digital backs would probably be tricky.

Presumably, the customer would want one because it would be compatible with an existing SLR and lenses, and allow them to learn and use the same shooting techniques.

Unfortunately, 35mm silicon sensors are Not Cheap, so anything that is cheap is a lot smaller. Sensor processes have gotten pretty good, so cameras with nasty little sensors can wring out surprisingly good pictures; but that’s with optics matched to their size. With an optics path expecting a 35mm area, it’ll be like shooting through a straw. You might be able to put one or more intermediate lenses on top of the smaller sensor, to provide a 35mm-size target and re-focus the image onto the actual sensor; but doing that is going to add distortion and eat some photons(the first you don’t want if you are doing this to use your fancy SLR glass, the second you don’t want because you are using a lousy, noisy, low-sensitivity sensor that really needs all the light it can get).

Because of those constraints, cheap SLR backs would likely be worse than cameras of equivalent price(especially since they’d have to come in multiple flavors to support different SLRs, while the cheapy point-and-shoots need be compatible with nothing but themselves and SD cards), which(along with actually-good DSLRs) confines the market for digital backs largely to crazed, price-insensitive, medium and large format devotees. Some pretty cool stuff; but for the price of a new car, you’d want it to be.

Doom and gloom aside, though, if one were willing to put up with the limitations and do a bit of bodging, I strongly suspect that you could get a functioning digital back, complete with handy screen and storage interface and things, by tearing the face off a poor, unsuspecting, digital point-and-shoot and then shoving it in such that its bare sensor is as close to where the film should be as possible.

You would have to contend with any self-testing that the camera does that might alert it to your alterations(spoofing of anything you have to remove or CHDK wizardry might do the trick, really ghastly cameras probably won’t even check); but modern cheapy digitals are quite compact indeed, so finding one that fits should be doable, and the process of stripping a camera down is usually pretty simple. Whether you 3d-print a nice mount or use copious electrical tape to keep light out would then be between you and your conscience.

Plus, with ghastly point-and-shoots practically being given away(doubly so for used ones, or ones with damaged optics that you would be stripping anyway), it doesn’t hurt to break a couple during the course of the R&D!


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