This Guy Built a Gorgeous Camera From Scratch

Ever find yourself in the position where you need something but can’t afford it? Lucus Landers did, when he needed a large-format camera for class so he found a laser-cutter and built a pretty janky-looking one out of wood. Now, the Louisiana native has just finished building another camera from scratch. It is a beauty.

The so-called Landers AL6 Mark II is an all-aluminum, medium-format camera that almost looks like it could be a vintage Mamiya prototype. The boxy edges hint at its being handmade, while the sleek design suggests sophistication. Landers says it wasn’t easy to get his camera-making prowess to this point.

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“I wouldn’t recommend a build like this to a novice,” Landers told Gizmodo. “It’s taken me years to get to this point, and anytime yoiu start playing with metal, things can get dangerous.”

For the build, Landers used a variety of aluminum casting, machining, and welding. The casting involved the same kind of small kiln used by jewelers, and the machining was done with tools capable of achieving tolerances as tight as a thousandth of an inch. Landers used a tungsten inert gas (TIG) welder for that part of the build and says it was his first time welding for a practical purpose. In addition to the equipment needed for those three processes, the camera-making required a variety of measurement tools like digital calipers, machinist squares, and micrometers. Landers also installed an Agfa 85mm lens on the front, because of course his camera needed a lens.

So this wasn’t something that Landers did on a whim. The new camera was actually his second attempt at building this model, and he documented the entire process on his YouTube channel. And as you can see from these sample images, the Landers AL6 Mark II does its job of taking pictures, and it does it remarkably well.

Photo: Lucus Landers
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Photo: Lucus Landers
Photo: Lucus Landers
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Photo: Lucus Landers
Photo: Lucus Landers
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Photo: Lucus Landers
Photo: Lucus Landers
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Adam Clark Estes

Senior editor at Gizmodo.

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