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Cameradactyl built a 20×24 inch camera for poster-sized instant photo prints

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Camera maker Ethan Moses from Cameradactyl has built a very-large format camera that shoots 20×24″photos that can be developed into positive images right inside the camera’s custom-made film holder for near-instant prints. The result is a kind of ‘instant’ print reminiscent of the type created by the giant Polaroid cameras that were built in the late 1970s.

Ethan designs and makes a range of different cameras that he 3D-prints or builds from wood in his workshop in Albuquerque, but this new bellows model is on a whole new scale. The key innovation though is not the size of the camera but the ‘self-developing back’ that allows the exposed picture to be developed immediately inside the holder. And using a slightly customised process Ethan uses a mixture of black-and-white and color chemicals to produce a positive image on the exposed paper.

Instead of using film the back is designed to take regular color printing paper such as the Fuji Crystal Archive paper used in high street mini-labs and which is usually developed with the RA-4 chemical set. The back is loaded with a sheet of 20x24in paper, exposed in the camera and then the darkslide replaced. With the film holder removed from the camera and the darkslide in place regular black and white paper developer is poured into the holder via a light trap and the paper is developed while the entire holder is agitated.

Once the paper is developed, the chemicals are poured out and replaced with stop bath. With development stopped the darkslide can be removed, the stop poured off and what is now a black and white negative rinsed in the light. As the print is exposed to light before fixing, when the RA-4 color developer is then poured onto the paper a positive color image appears. Bleach/fix is then applied to remove any silver and to fix the print, before washing and drying.

Ethan took the camera to a studio in New York to show it off and to hold a series of workshops on using it and understanding the process, and he is now is planning to take it to Los Angeles to do the same. To make that happen he has created a Kickstarter campaign page to gauge interest and to allow people to book either to see the camera in action, to use the camera, to have a picture taken with it or to learn about how it works and the direct positive process. You can also rent the camera for a half or full day.

For more information see the Kickstarter campaign page, an article on the camera by Ethan on Emulsive and the Cameradactyl website. For more information on the direct positive color process watch this video about Ethan by Joe Van Cleave.


Note/disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project before backing it. Pledges to crowdfunding campaigns are not pre-orders. DPReview does not have a relationship with this, or any such campaign, and we publicize only projects that appear legitimate, and which we consider will be of genuine interest to our readers. You can read more about the safeguards Kickstarter has in place on its ‘Trust & Safety’ page.


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