I waited until the clock struck twelve on November 19, 2021 to spend 2,000 of my 2,073 LEGO VIP rewards points on this LEGO Vintage Camera and I regret none of it.
Did I have to wake up five hours later for work? Yes.
Did I get stuck on the LEGO wait-your-turn landing page? Yes. I honestly didn’t even know that existed.
Did I panic? I want to tell you, “I think not,” like Jonathan from The Mummy, but the truth is yes. Yes, I did.
As a toy photographer and a fan of LEGO, this was a must-grab. I rarely use my VIP points. It’s even rarer for me to actively wait for a time to get online and order something. But, for a LEGO camera in the style of a vintage 35mm film camera, I had to do it. I am after all a toy photographer. Not grabbing this reward, seeing it on other photographers’ Instagram feeds, definitely would have induced some gear acquisition syndrome (G.A.S.) in me. Hence the mild panic at not reaching the site immediately.
I’ll be honest, this set is small. There are only 179 pieces. So, in reality, the piece to price ratio might not have been worth it. But, this is by far one of the most thoughtful small builds out there. Working on this build, made me feel like a kid again. It gave me the same feeling I had when I’d take something apart and try to fix it. Constructing this small but mighty build felt different from other LEGO sets. This felt like a tour. Better yet, a lesson in the mechanics of a film camera.
Each part of the build is a glimpse into how actual cameras work. While there is no real lens, and the buttons don’t click, the back of the camera does open and close, and—the coolest part—you can put your own LEGO film canister into it. Next, you can spin the disk on top and wind your LEGO film into the camera and then close the back. It even makes that oh-so-satisfying click at the end—the sound right before shooting another roll of film. Oh, and I almost forgot the lens cap, which also comes with this set. I have never forgotten it on my lens and accidentally wasted a frame. Once the lens cap is off, you are ready to shoot rolls and rolls of LEGO film. The tiny details make my photographer heart swell.
An old friend
For me, this set was worth it, just for the nostalgia of it all. This camera looks and feels just like a LEGO 35mm camera should feel in your hands. It even has a red shutter release button like you’ll find on so many cameras. And there’s a place for a neck strap. This camera isn’t a replica of any one specific brand, but an amalgamation of all of them. It’s reminiscent of a Leica rangefinder. It feels familiar like a Cannon AE-1, a Nikon F, a Minolta SRT, or an Argus C3 (The Brick). The LEGO Vintage Camera feels like an old new friend.
Now all I have to do is grab some minifigures and take some photographs.
Like my lens cap, I almost forgot to mention that there’s a tripod mount on the bottom of this camera. LEGO thought of everything.
If you want to see the actual build, you can check out my IG Reels.
Building this camera makes me want to take out my 35mm film cameras again. I’ve got a few rolls of film and this small 179-piece LEGO build has inspired me to take it out.
Speaking of nostalgia, for December, the next toy photographers podcast challenge is #tp_nostalgia. Join Shelly and me and take us on a journey through your past as we travel back to our own. Just like this vintage camera.
Did you or do you shoot 35mm film?
What’s your go-to film stock?
Did you spend your LEGO VIP points on this camera?
Let me know.