Exposure Meter R3 (2016)

Now this is one project I've been clinging on to, on-and-off, because of the sheer necessity of it. Anyone who shoots a lot of film, particularly on older cameras, will attest to the fact that you need a good light meter to tell you what exposure settings to use. Yes, you could get a cheap old Gossen, or a pricey new Sekonic spot meter. But why do that when you could roll your own reflective meter, with the same (or better!) capabilities? The most recent version uses all SMD parts on an OSHPark-made PCB, notably an Atmel ATmega 32u4 micro, Crystalfontz 128x32 OLED display, and TSL2591 ambient light sensor IC.

I'm especially proud of the fact that it's all hand soldered.

 

Exposure Meter R2 (2015)

If you're following along here, you may notice some changes in the quality of work and PCBA technique. Back in the bad old days of 2015 I was relying on breakout boards from Adafruit. I also made the mistake of using the Adafruit Pro Trinket which (in my opinion) has a really annoying bootloader for the Atmel ATmega 328P chip. Still, this was my first time soldering SMD device (a SOT23-5 MCP73831 battery charging IC). A minor victory for this relatively ugly device (which never really got out of the workshop). 

 

Exposure Meter R1 (2014)

Old grandpa over here was the first exposure meter I made. In the fashion of a true novice mechanical engineer, I soldered everything point to point. Woof. In hindsight, this wasn't so smart. But it worked just fine. 

 
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Papercraft "66" (2012)

Building cameras can at times be an expensive and time-consuming hobby. So why not take things down a few notches and enjoy the simplicity of a paper pinhole camera! I designed this one in the image of the famously massive Pentax 67 medium format SLR. This one too, uses 120 film, but forms images with a humble hole in a piece of pie tin, instead of decadent capitalist glass and metal. I have to give credit here to the Czech "Dirkon" from 1979, which was one of the first cameras I ever made and was a huge inspiration for this camera, 43 years later.

 

Pinorama (2011)

I think a lot of engineers have a weird connection to candy tins (Altoids tins, etc.) - they make robust, svelte, and cute enclosures for projects. I saw this Wrigley's throwback gum tin while doing Christmas shopping one year, and knew immediately that it could be repurposed as a panoramic pinhole camera for 35mm film. I used some Testors paint caps for wind/rewind knobs to stick with the tin theme.