My DIY Gakkenflex TLR

I received a DIY Gakkenflex TLR Camera from a good friend of mine on my 21st birthday, and I’ve only gotten round to shooting two rolls of film on it ever since.

Well, one and a half, to be exact.

You see, I’m not one who’s into the whole fix-it-yourself-with-nothing-but-a-Japanese-manual business (although it was my friend’s way of introducing me to analog photography). So it took a while before I got round to fixing up about a quarter, before my lovely friends took over and settled the rest (amazingly with half the moaning and whinging I did). 😀


The second time round, I loaded a roll of Fujifilm Sueperia 200 and went around taking pictures of the most random things, as any newcomer to analog photography would.

But because these self-assembly cuties aren’t manufactured in some factory boasting top-notch equipment, they’re prone to human error and the odd malfunction. One fine day, we were messing with it when one of my other friends (who’s a fellow photographer) noticed something off about the shutter. Back to the drawing board and – sob – the inevitable loss of half a roll of shots when my friend opened the camera and exposed the film to light.

By the time my Gakken was returned to me, I had already acquired a beautiful Leica IIIF RD and had little opportunity to use my humble toy camera. It was only last week when I finally took it out to finish up the remaining shots.


The only surviving exposure from last year, when we crashed our Photography Club’s meeting and stole a shot of our junior’s notes, in the background of a photo I took in the train.

Kinda nice to know that at least one shot was salvaged, and I think I might have an idea for a mini-project from this. 😛


The path I walk along everyday on the way to school, work, and just about every other outing that requires me to travel by train. There’s a reddish tint to it, possibly from the previous exposure; pretty interesting eh? 😉


My favourite shot of the lot, featuring a father and son strolling past a behemoth of a construction machine thingamajig.

The thing about the Gakken is that you’ve to spend a little time tweaking it here and there (i.e. turning the lens to focus), or moving around till you’re at the right distance from your subject, or just fire away and see what you get (like you’re playing a game of Russian Roulette). I love the dreamy effect of the photos! 😀

Click here for instructions on how to assemble yours, if you have one. 😉


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