It seems like quite literally anything is possible with LEGO bricks at this point.
‘Jaw-dropping’ at this point is just an occupational hazard. I’m always blown away by the kind of stuff people put together using just LEGO bricks – or sometimes even create by augmenting LEGO bricks (like this LEGO brick with a built-in OLED screen), although LEGO builder Zung92 seems to have cracked the holy grail. Meet the LEGO ZH1, a functional film camera that actually clicks photos on a 35mm reel of film, which you can then develop in a dark room. “I would like to see LEGO not just a display toy, but a real functional tool that people can customize and use daily”, Zung92 said as he described his creation.
The LEGO ZH1 is effectively a pinhole camera that comes with all the bells and whistles of an analog shooter. It features a lens-cap, has a shutter button, and even a wheel to rotate the film inside the camera’s chamber. Moreover, what’s most impressive is the fact that it even sports the LEGO branding on it – a personal touch by Zung92.
A major challenge for Zung92 was designing the camera in a way that creates the perfect internal environment for the light to imprint on the photosensitive film. The two massive challenges for him was to A. create a build that didn’t allow light to leak through the gaps between the bricks, and B. build an internal chamber that wasn’t reflective because even the glossy surface of the bricks could end up affecting the final output. “My first and second film rolls were completely fogged up”, he mentioned as he highlighted how light leaking into the camera and reflecting inside it was affecting the photos. “It took me several days to figure out how to seal it completely and also remained portable.”
With a little work, the Vancouver-based LEGO enthusiast managed to create a neat workaround that solved all his problems. The final LEGO ZH1 camera boasts a shutter button, film advance and take-up reels, a wind lever with ‘wind release’, the ability to customize lenses, and even shoot in full frame or half frame. To complete the vintage appeal of the camera, Zung92 even used the 1934 LEGO logo as opposed to the modern, rounded, playful-looking one!
Zung92’s LEGO ZH1 Vintage Camera build currently exists as a fan-made concept in the LEGO Ideas forum, where it’s gathering votes from fellow brick-enthusiasts. With 2,377 votes as of writing this article, Zung92 is on his way to reach the coveted 10,000 vote mark, which will then push the concept into its development phase, inching it closer to becoming a retail product that LEGO aficionados can buy, assemble, and click photos with! You can vote for Zung92’s LEGO ZH1 Vintage Camera here.