Fully Functional Working Digital Camera




We made a working DSLR for a halloween costume.  Here is how we did it. Check out the video too!

Materials list:
  Cardboard Box for main body
  Cardboard for pop up flash
  2 gallon bucket for lens
  Plexiglass for flash cover
  Construction paper
  Duck tape
  Pictures of camera parts (mode dial, lcd screen, etc)

Working parts
  DSLR Camera - Ours is a Canon 20D
  External Flash - Ours is a Canon 580 EX or YN560
  Eye-Fi card
  Remote shutter release - Ours is made by phottix
  Remote flash trigger - Ours is made by apature

Step 1: Building the Camera

Get your box and cut a hole in the top, bottom and sides.  I placed duck tape around the whole for smooth edges.  

Tip: this black duck tape started to peel up after a few days.  I would recommend going with the strong gray one and just paint over it.

Step 2: Add the Lens

Cut a hole in the front of the box and place the bucket in.  I cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket so I can easily reach the camera to turn it on.  You will see this in step 5.  Then duck tape it to the body.  I taped it from the outside as shown and also from the inside. 

Remember, there will be a camera in there so you want this secure.

Step 3: Build the Pop Up Flash

Out of cardboard, build the flash and duck tape it to the body. I also cut a piece of wood and screwed it to the bottom of the flash. This is so I have something to put the flash on. You will see this in Step 5.

This is just a few pieces of cardboard taped together to resemble a pop up flash. I duck taped them all together and then taped it to the body on the sides, back and insides.

Step 4: Paint the Unit

I spray painted everything black but I also got a piece of black poster board to put on the front.  It helped cover up all the tape.  I also made the handle out of the construction paper.  This is where I decide to put some digital camera things on here like the camera dial and lcd screen.  I angled them up so you can see them better.  I also added some plexiglass for the flash cover.

Oh, the camera button is a lid to tupperware painted black.  I placed the trigger under that so all my son has to do is press the button and the camera takes a picture.

Step 5: What Makes It Work.

I labeled the components out before but here they are again:
  DSLR Camera - Ours is a Canon 20D
  External Flash - Ours is a Canon 580 EX or YN560 (we used either)
  Eye-Fi card
  ipad with eye-fi card app installed.
  Remote shutter release - Ours is made by phottix
  Remote flash trigger - Ours is made by apature

Basically I have a remote trigger for the camera and the flash.  The cool part to this is the Eye-Fi card.  It has a mode called direct mode and will transfer pictures to the ipad in full screen mode without being on wi-fi.  Press the shutter, camera takes a picture, fires the flash and the picture is displayed on the iPad.

The camera with the eyefi card goes in the 2 gallon bucket.  I cut a piece of wood and drilled it into the bottom of the bucket so the camera would sit level.  Then I drilled holes in the bottom of the wood to allow for a zip tie.  See the pic.  Attached to the camera is the receiver for the remote shutter and the transmitter for the flash.

The flash goes on the trigger and then goes in the costume flash area.  I used some velcro to keep the flash in place.  See the pic.  Attached to the flash is the receiver to fire the flash.

The iPod goes in the back.  This is the important part.  You need to have the eyefi card and ipad in direct mode.

The trigger for the camera goes under the tupperware lid so the person in the costume can easily press it.

One real important piece of info.  Don't use your cameras auto mode.  The camera won't get it right.  I put mine on Manual and used a shutter speed of 1/250 and an aperture of f8.  This may seem very under exposed during the night but with the flash, it worked great.   Also, if your using this at night for trick or treat, then you pretty much have to put the lens on manual as well and not use the auto focus.  Without the light, the camera won't be able to focus and you won't take a picture.

Hope you liked this, please comment.

Happy Halloween!




    • Epilog X Contest

      Epilog X Contest
    • Build a Tool Contest

      Build a Tool Contest
    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest

    9 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Awesome costume. From a photography point of view, lining the inside of the "flash" with reflective material like tin foil and turning the flash around might spread the light around the the flash modifier (which is what you made) and make for really nice, soft flash. I love the idea. So fun and functional.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks bob3030. My son figured out if he takes pictures of people giving candy he gets more. We have soooooo many pictures and so much candy. :)


    Thanks Roller. My son is soooooo happy when he is in this costume. All the kids gather around. He takes all their pictures and they see them immediately. Fun is an understatement.....


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks blossom9283. The best part of the whole thing is that my son and I did it together.


    5 years ago

    Very very cool. Had no idea the eye if could do that!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks. Although we had a blast making it, the coolest part of the costume is the Eye-Fi card. Here are instructions on how to configure in direct mode.