Filter Flash Camera




About: I am a British Graphic Designer and Photographer, when I am not working, I spend my time making an array of projects. I used to make a lot of props, but now I spend most my time building crazy cameras and sh...
There are a lot of add-on's, and special cameras on the market for adding extra colour to film and digital photography.

The two main options are to buy a camera which has a spinner built inside, and you can change what colour you want the flash to be, or you can get ahold of a little 'pad' of gels, which you hold infront of the flash.

This got me thinking, I already have loads of filters sat around, why buy more? So I came up with the idea of mounting a filter ring over my flash. Read on to see how I did it.

Here is a little info on Lomography, and the camera I used  -

The Holga is a camera made by Lomo, and is well known for being the cheapest and easiest way to get into Lomography.

To help define Lomography I have borrowed this paragraph from Batness' Instructable on 'How to paint a plastic camera.' (I think he may have borrowed it from wikipedia)

There are many people interested in using medium-format plastic cameras to take photos these days. Translation; film cameras are back in! Using this retro type of camera, you can take "vintage" ye-olde looking photographs.

This new trend was likely started by Lomography . Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics include over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, "happy accidents," and photographers are encouraged to take a lighthearted approach to their photos, and use these techniques to document everyday life. (<--oh noes Wikipedia!) 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Materials Needed - 
  • A Lomo Holga (between £16 and £40 dependant on specifics of the model)
  • White Direct to metal spray paint
  • An old floppy drive
  • Two Part Epoxy Resin (aroldyte)
  • Some leather scraps
  • Two 46mm step up rings (step up to your most used filter size)
  • Some scraps of clear plastic
  • Masking tape
Tools Needed -
  • Scalpel, X-acto, Stanley knife, Boxcutter
  • Coping saw.
  • Small files
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Medium cross head screwdriver

Step 2: Dismantle the Camera,

The Holga in its cheap toy nature, is also very easy to take apart, which makes it a great base model for us modders.

To remove the top of the Holga, we first need to remove the film advancing knob.
Carefully slide a thin screwdriver under the knob, and rotate it slightly to allow you to get a firm hold, pull straight up to break the bond between to knob and the advancing spool. The glue is strong, but also cheap, so can be easily broken.

Once you have this removed you will see two small screws, these plus another screw on the opposite side need to be removed also.

Lift the entire top section straight up. If you have one of the versions with a flash, you will need to make sure you do not loose the little black plastic switch.

Be sure to discharge your camera flash fully, so as not to shock your self on the flash circuit.

Step 3: Hack Away.

Or order to give my holga a nice angular profile I decided to remove some of the plastic surround ready for my filter flash ring.

Once you have got the top section off roughly mark an angled cut across the front of the camera. We are basically removing the entire front where the flash normally sits.

Using a coping or hack saw, carefully cut along the marked lines, I did try to hold the camera top in a vice, but instead resorted to holding the saw in a vice, and ran the camera top up and down it (Watch those fingers!)

Once cut down I trimmed off the rough edges with a knife, and sanding it down with some small files and sandpaper.

Once done, check that there is still room for your flash in the case.

Step 4: Add on the Filter Ring.

Next we glue the filter ring in place. 

For this I used part of an old floppy drive motor, for the most part you just need to find something suitable for yours. Most of the time you could probably glue the filter ring in place directly.

Step 5: Paint Job

Next we want to mark off all the areas that you do not want to get painted. 

Mainly the lens, and filter ring.

I do this using masking tape, normally the blue 24 hour stuff. (24 hours is how long it stays sticky for, then you can easily peel it off after that)

I then used white spray paint, as always you want to do lots of light coats. The first coat will not completely cover underneath, some should be showing through. If the paint starts to look glossy, wet or drips, you have put too much on.

Step 6: Diffuser on the Flash. Leather on the Grips.

This step is kind of optional, but I think its well worth doing. 

I used an old piece of plastic that I sanded using a fine grain sandpaper.

I then cut it to shape and glued it inside the filter ring, make sure its clear of the threads on the filter ring.

As a finishing touch I cut some thing leather to shape and glued this on the grips.

Step 7: Finish

Thats it your done! 

You can now use standard camera filters on your flash to create funky coloured pictures in Lomo style.



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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    As an Alaskan growing up in villages too small to have stores, I learned early how do do things without "proper"supplies such as reusing Kodak film cartridges for bulk film as a photography student.
    Now that I'm learning digital photography, I am finding your hacks inspirational. A digital SLR is still beyond my abilities to pay. This makes your flash adaptions especially useful, since in most cases, on camera flash, is NOT the best place for flash. Mary Alice


    5 years ago



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Now that is a camera any imperial storm trooper would be proud to carry! Looks like the angle will give a permanent 45 degree bounce flash. Do you see any vignetting of the flash?

    I don't have many colored filters, but I was wondering what if any are the advantages of a polarized flash??

    Awesome, really clean job as always. A while ago while cutting gels for our stage lights I cut a few pieces for my flash to test, they gave great colour casts, the only issue being that the pure colour ones were almost too coloured.

    Been meaning to build a baby beauty dish for some of the events I do, tempted to incorporate a filter attachment in to the centre part for colour casts after seeing this.