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Thread: Article: Spam Camera with Rangefinder!

  1. #1


    It's ugly, it scratches negatives, but it's SpamCam! :P

    50mm focal length
    .3mm EMS (Electron Microscope aperture?) Pinhole
    6x6.5cm or so image area

    I built the film transport from what I had around the house. Black foam core bottom. Found a little flag in a kitchen drawer and took the stick to make the film guides and spool posts for the bottom. Everything is epoxy'd together because I LOVE epoxy! The cover is a piece of black mat board, I placed some light seal foam around the top edge and the cover sits on that. It seems to be doing it's job. The nicest piece is the film advance. I had a thumbscrew bolt, I don't know the real name, and I used a dremel tool on it until it was nicely shaped and fit under the lid. There is some felt type light seal material on both sides of the cover where the advance screw goes through. The knob is WAY oversized, again, it is what I had around and the only knob that fit. The tripod mount is a 1/4" 20 standard tripod thread fitting that I found a couple years ago in the hardware store. More epoxy.

    If I line up the start mark on the 120 film at the left film guide post, it is 6 3/4 turns until frame 1 is perfectly centered. I have not figured out the spacing yet between frames, 2 turns is too much. If I use this camera a whole lot more, I will put a frame window in the back so I can see what I am doing.

    Rubber bands keep the lid on, and I have a square viewfinder from an obsolete Holga Polaroid back (damn you Polaroid for discontinuing Series 80!!!!!) and all the other films too ??)
    The viewfinder is pretty accurate unless you are shooting close.

    No Shutter other than black tape and my finger. Attached files

  2. #2


    top view

    the baffles are mat board, I put a piece of metal to tension the film supply spool. The metal is from picture framing supplies and has a nice spring to it. Some Dremel shaping and epoxy and all is well.
    Also, using the Dremel tool, I put a notch all the way along the wood film guides so the baffles would fit right into the guides tightly. This gave the film guides greater stability as they were supported from the bottom (epoxy into the foamcore) as well as the sides (epoxy in the notch holding the baffles). Attached files

  3. #3



    Attached files

  4. #4


    The lid

    Attached files

  5. #5


    Quite ingenious and inventive.

  6. #6


    That is a heck of a lot of Epoxy!
    And what a great camera, what is remarkable are the pictures you are getting from this - superb quality.
    How do you explain to people why you have tin of spam on a tripod? ;D ;D ;D

  7. #7


    Thanks Tony. I got tired of super glue parts breaking off so I moved to epoxy. It works REALLY well. Someday, I'll be a real craftsman and won't need so much. At that point, I won't be using Spam cans though so the point is moot ;D

    I went up on the roadway and thought I was still taking pictures (even though I had run out of film) a car that passed me must have wondered what I was doing with a spam can on a tripod. I am going to build in a film counter window so I don't have to guess anymore.

    Thanks for the supportive comments regarding the picture quality!

    Scott ;D

  8. #8



    COOL camera!! Great job. I esp. like the simple wind mechanism and viewfinder.

    The hole drilled in the spamcan might be a bit small, though. If you see mechanical vignetting in your images check here.

    Otherwise, start posting those images!!

    rt 8)

  9. #9
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, United States
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1659
    The hole drilled in the spamcan might be a bit small, though.
    RT - the ems apertures are very small - the whole disc is only 3.5 mm in diameter. I typically use a 1/8" drill bit for the hole in a can, and that looks like what Scott used here as well. If the aperture is taped to the metal inside the hole, there will be no vignetting. Scott has already posted some images in the B&W section, and they look great!

  10. #10


    Nice job on the camera!!

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