Photography can be a fun and rewarding hobby. You can learn all about light, angles, proportion, framing, and how the eye works. The Focal Camera project aims to let some of that learning bleed over into the construction of the camera itself. The modular design allows for you to create several variations of camera and learn all about the mechanisms and optics that make cameras work.

If you have access to a laser cutter, you can cut out and assemble modules to allow you to construct a variety of different types of cameras.  By downloading the different modules you can explore all kinds of apertures, viewfinders, light benders, and film systems. The parts that aren’t laser cut are the lens and mirror. They recommend that you experiment a bit with lenses, trying things like using cheap magnifying glasses and harvesting parts from cheap zoom lenses. Here are a few examples from their site. You can see that the style can be varied quite a lot.

Building the cameras seems easy enough. Most pieces press-fit together with a few strategically placed rubber bands to ensure everything is tight and snug. They do mention that at 3mm thick, the walls can still transmit some light, so a heavy coat of black paint on the insides is recommended. I particularly like the look of some of the cameras that used material that had a print on it already. You can see a couple above that include recycled material.

Of course, this is a camera after all, so we should look at some pictures taken with the device. These pictures, along with the construction pictures above were shared by the founders of the project on Imgur.

[via Reddit]