The Recesky is a do-it-yourself TLR camera kit, much like the Gakkenflex. The camera produces beautiful, soft pictures often with a sweet spot of focus in the middle. The pictures I’ve seen remind me very much of lensbaby-type digital photos. I’ve been wanting to construct my own for quite sometime and FINALLY got around to doing it earlier this month. It was quite an adventure.
It looked innocent enough when I opened the package so I figured I’d give it a go around dinnertime one weeknight (what was I thinking?). Then I opened the directions
They were in a language that I didn’t even BEGIN to know how to read! My husband and I had a good laugh about this for a few minutes before I dove into the project (directions are available in English on the web but I didn’t find out until I was finished the project. Thanks to Nic Nichols of The Four Corners Store for sending me the file).
In retrospect, assembling the camera just using the pictures was much more of a learning experience for me. I’m more of a visual learner and think the descriptions in English would’ve caused me endless frustration however, there were a few steps that just left me scratching my head.
For example, putting the body of the camera together was relatively easy compared to the guts. When I got to the shutter mechanism, it was pure experimentation that finally got the springs and doo-dads to work the right way. This piece came out of the package looking very much NOT like the one in the directions. After careful inspection, it appeared as though that little plastic piece in the middle of the arc needed to be removed in order to get the spring to nestle into just the right spot.
Turns out I was right…yay!!
Hurdle number two came when trying to mount the springs correctly so that the shutter would fire. After a good thirty minutes I figured it out, despite this cryptic picture.
I had the camera mostly together when I discovered an extra piece. Doesn’t that just figure?
I disassembled the camera almost completely (after a few choice words that my children shouldn’t have heard) and could NOT figure out where this left-over part was supposed to go. After some discussion with toy camera buddies Nic and Andrew, I figured out that no, it wasn’t something I had forgotten to put on the camera, it was in fact an extra part included with my kit. How kind of the Recesky folks!
The last hurdle was to get the film to stay taught while shooting. To accomplish this I mounted a piece of foam to the door backing. It held my film in quite nicely, but looking at these pictures from my first roll, you’ll see it may have been a little too tight.
It appears the door has some wicked leakage around the back hinge. These leaks appear to coincide with the advancement of the film, since they’re at pretty regular intervals and are straight lines. There were a couple of shots from the roll that I liked. I can see this camera’s potential for beautiful, fuzzy, selective focus in these shots despite the distraction of light leaks.
If anyone has any good suggestions of a material that would hold my film taught without bulging the door out, I’d love to hear them!
One more thing I discovered involves advancing the film. Take a look at this.
These arrows help you keep track of how far the film is advancing. The one in the middle turns from one arrow to the next as you are turning the knob. In order to advance the film one full frame you just need to turn the knob from one arrow to the next, 180 degrees instead of 360 degrees, which is what I was doing. My method got me lots of blank frames full of light leaks.
I learned a few lessons constructing this camera. 1) I discovered that, despite instructions that put Ikea to shame, it was a lot easier just using the illustrations and 2)I have a much better working knowledge of how a simple camera is constructed. I look forward to more fun with my Recesky and to sharing really good shots with you very soon.