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In 1970’s Communist Czechoslovakia, the state-run magazine ABCs for Young Technicians and Natural Scientists published a cut-out paper camera called the Dirkon. Looking very much like an old Nikon, the little camera is essentially a simple pin hole design, dressed up to look like its SLR cousin.

Fast forward to 2000’s Capitalist USA and you’ll find the ReadyMech Cameras which were recently released by adver-warehouse Corbis. Retaining much of the Dirkon cool factor, but looking nothing like a contemporary SLR or digital, there are a number of bizarrely awesome models to choose from.

Whether you dig the ReadyMechs or the classic Dirkon, making the cameras is as simple as printing out a PDF on heavy-weight paper, and following some simple instructions to cut, fold and tape the camera together. To use the camera, you assemble the package around a standard roll of ISO200 35MM film, wind between shots, and pull a little tab aside to expose the film for 10 seconds or so, depending on how bright the lighting is. Getting a clear photo is all about holding still (or setting the camera on a solid surface during exposure).

The Dirkon Paper Camera
ReadyMech Cameras