Introduction: Antique Digital Camera

I recently acquired a GoPro Hero3 camera. While trying it out, I found that I don't participate in too many "high octane" activities that would play well to the GoPro's strengths. But, I really loved the wide angle lens and it's small size. I found myself just wanting to take pictures with it. However, this is challenging since the GoPro has no screen or viewfinder to frame up your shots. It was like time traveling back to those days when your phone didn't have a camera on both sides and you had to turn your phone around to take a selfie. It took three or four shots just to get everyone's face in the picture.

Enter the AGFA Ansco Shur Shot Camera. I found this old camera at a local antique shop for only $20 and loved it enough to buy it purely to sit on a shelf. Then, I realized that this old tech had exactly what my new tech needed. It had a viewfinder.

I decided I must use old mirrors and glass to transform new circuits and programming. I would embed the GoPro into the Shur Shot to take beautiful pictures with a beautiful camera.

Step 1: Materials

GoPro camera (I used a Hero3 but other models should work if their shutter button is in the same place)

AGFA Ansco Shur Shot Camera (Various models are relatively common online and the going rate seems to be $20-$50 depending on how restored they are.)

Bluetooth enabled device with GoPro app (This will allow you to see what you're shooting in real time or see and download the images you took without having to plug the GoPro into a computer.)

Hand saw (powered or manual)


Stiff foam (A square foot would be more than enough for the project and any mistakes. I used a cheap camping pad.)

Small piece of soft metal


E-6000 glue


X-acto knife


Thanks Instructables and Ford for sponsoring this project by providing the Tech Box with GoPro Hero3 camera and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4!

Step 2: Disassemble the Shur Shot

Pop the front off the Shur Shot.

Mine was a bit tight and I needed a flat blade screwdriver to apply a small amount of pressure. As I took the front off and put it back on several times, it became more easy to remove without the screwdriver.

Use pliers to pull the nails out of the shutter mechanism and remove it.

Pull out the "time" and "diaphram" pieces. All that should be left in the front is wood and a piece of cardboard separating the viewfinders from the shutter area.

Open the back.

Pull the film advancing knob out. This will allow you to slide out the cartridge.

Now that the camera is fully disassembled, use some Windex and Q-tips to clean all the glass parts and mirrors.

DO NOT clean the inside of the viewfinders.

The black lines will wipe off. They also seem to be made of plastic instead of glass and could be damaged by harsh chemicals.

Step 3: Testing

I tried out several options before cutting into the camera. These are pictures taken from inside the cartridge, behind the pinhole without the cartridge, and in the front with the cover held above the GoPro. As stated before, I love the wide angle lens, so I decided that the GoPro needed to be inset in the front of the ShurShot.

Step 4: Destroy

I really hated to cut into this cool camera that could actually function if I were to find some film, but considering the price and relatively common availability, I just went for it.

Lay the GoPro in the front and line the lens up with the lens in the front cover.

Trace the GoPro with a pencil.

Drill holes in the corners of your lines big enough for your saw to fit.

Cut between the holes. You want the hole to be about a quarter inch bigger than the GoPro, so cut just outside the lines.

I used a rotary tool with cutter bit first and it was a disaster, so I don't recommend it. It didn't ruin it, but I had to clean it up with a jig saw. You could also use a jeweler's saw.

Make sure the GoPro will fit easily in the hole. Sand or cut it down until it does.

Note: The large circular hole and black paper are from some experimentation in the testing phase. I attempted to widen the hole to place the camera behind the cartridge. This didn't work out well, so you can ignore those inconsistencies from the early images to these.

Step 5: Foam

Cut a piece of stiff foam that will fit snuggly in the back and push it up against the back of the hole you made.

Cut small strips of foam to fill in the extra 1/4" around the GoPro. This will provide cushioning and make sure it is snug and doesn't move around while in use.

Glue the strips to the back piece of foam with E-6000.

Step 6: Shutter Button

Now that the GoPro is snuggly inside the ShurShot, I needed a way to press the shutter button on the GoPro from outside the ShurShot.

The original shutter button piece is pretty firmly attached to the shutter mechanism, so I decided to use the "time" switch to create a new shutter button.

Lay the piece over the front to get an idea of how long it will need to be and cut off the excess with enough to bend down and make contact with the shutter button on the GoPro.

Add a bit of foam to the end where it will make contact with the shutter button on the GoPro. This will keep the button from getting worn by the metal and allow the button to bounce back after being depressed.

Put the piece in position and use a small piece of soft metal and two of the nails you removed from the original shutter to hold it in place.

Step 7: Shoot Away!

Be the coolest hipster on the block with your new antique digital camera! It's so fun to shoot with and reminds me of the days when you had to wait to have your film developed before you could see what your pictures looked like.

Of course, you don't have to wait if you don't want to. I linked the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 to the GoPro using the free GoPro app, and I can see everything I'm shooting in real time or check out what images I've taken periodically. You can also use the app to switch modes from camera to video or any of the other cool functions the GoPro has without having to open up the ShurShot.

If I won a Form 1+ 3D Printer in the Formlabs Contest...

I would be able to create and print new parts for other projects instead of fabricating them like I did with the new shutter button piece in this project. Projects like this would be even more reproducible if I could provide the file for the pieces I made. Being a public school teacher, I would love to have the opportunity to print some of my student's creations. Each student has an iPad with various 123D apps on them, and I've always wanted to experiment with creating collectible art toys.

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