© 2011 Fourtoes JohnBcrop

Multi lens cameras…

I really like the small gem size plates and would love a multi lens gem camera but these go for silly money, when you can find them.

One like this…


Came up for sale recently and only achieved £600 at auction, they tend to sell for quite a bit more. This got me thinking maybe I could make one myself, lots of lenses, some cardboard tubes and knock something together. I then had a flash of inspiration and bought one of these…


Why I didnt think of it before I have no idea. Its a Polaroid Studio Express 402 camera, granted its for Polaroid instant film but a plate fits nicely inside the film holder.
It has 4 lenses, f8 being the fastest of three apertures with Bulb, 60th and 125th flash settings.

So today I had shot a couple of test plates to see how they would turn out. Natural lighting is getting to be an issue in the studio so these are with my artificial lights which in the end surprised me that they were putting out more light than expected or the lenses are little faster than f8???

Oh and these are about 13×9 cms.

Flowers 90 seconds at f8 Clear glass ambrotype

John B 4×60 second exposures Clear glass ambrotype

The plate of John was achieved by only exposing one lens at a time resulting in 4 separate exposures. A quick look on the internet and you can see other photographers putting this feature to good use. With better light, come spring/summer I think I might carry this camera around with my other kit, for when I’m feeling artistic like.
Also being a bulb setting you have to stand there with your finger on the trigger for the entire exposure, one of those velcro cable release adapters would do the trick, I’ll see if i can find one.

At the moment exposure times for portraits are a little too long but will be fine for everything else. Would also like to see what this is like for landscapes/architecture but the focus distance is 1.2 metres, so will have to have a go.

Heres my top spec lens caps…




  1. Posted November 15, 2011 at 5:33 PM | #

    Very imaginative. Great engineering too! : ) Love the idea and am looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  2. Posted November 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM | #

    Thanks Ted. I’ll definitely be taking this one a bit further. Would be daft not to.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:58 PM | #

    So glad you did this!! I saw one of those on ebay the other day and wondered the exact same thing!

    I think I may pick one up now…

  4. Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:11 PM | #

    Hi Andrew,
    Cheers, I was lucky and got mine at a good price, some of the others I was looking at went for considerable ammounts…..must be the resurgence of polaroid film etc.

  5. Posted February 22, 2012 at 8:51 AM | #

    Really nice! I run into a couple of the them some time ago, and converted one of them for wet plate! Lovely to see other people doing that too! I was just wondering how to keep your plate so clean: mine have all sorts of polution on the plate… And check out the Cambo minipasport: it has a mechanism for 4 identical shots and for 4 single shots…

  6. Posted February 22, 2012 at 8:56 AM | #

    Hi, I was just over on you blog as I received your comment. The Cambo is very similar to the Polaroid passport camera. How were you lighting your plates? They are much sharper than anything I can get out of the polaroid camera.
    As for the image pollution on yours, have you tried wiping it off with a cotton wool ball whilst its still wet in the wash?

One Trackback

  1. By FOURTOES » Rememer this…. on February 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    […] I pick them up occasionally to reflect upon, this one was taken in the Polaroid passport camera. Clicky here I had put it to one side and forgotten about it, then after scanning some of the Scotland plates as […]

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