The Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera is a cheap, fun way to try out 4x5 film photography

These plastic camera bodies take standard 4x5 film holders and come with the option of traditional ground glass or an acrylic alternative.

Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand cameras
The Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera are available exclusively through the Cameradactyl website for for $200.Ethan Moses

4x5 photography isn’t a form in which enthusiasts can easily dabble. It’s expensive, finicky to work with, and typically requires collecting a lot of old gear to even get started. Once you’re over those hurdles, however, creating images the really old fashioned way can be very rewarding.

The accessibility of 3D printing has brought plenty of new takes on old cameras to the market in the last few years. These cameras are typically more affordable, lightweight, and easier to fix when something goes wrong than vintage gear. Ethan Moses creates his 3D printed Cameradactyl cameras with this in mind.

Yellow Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera with flash
A yellow Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera with flash.Ethan Moses

The Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera is his newest creation and although it integrates some of the colorful pops of his earlier cameras, it also looks like a solid starter camera for someone who is interested in trying their hand at 4x5 film photography.

The cameras are available through the Cameradactyl website now for $200. You can choose custom accent color, ground glass material, and nosecone length to fit your shooting style.

Blue Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera
The cameras come with the options of standard ground glass or a more durable acrylic version.Ethan Moses

The 3D-printed camera has a helical focusing mount, hand grip, a lensless viewfinder, and a locking focus ring. It also has a ground glass for focusing and composing that comes in regular glass or etched acrylic. The OG takes standard 4x5 film holders, and will also hold a film holder on the outside of the focusing screen for extra protection inside your bag.

In case you have never shot 4x5 before, each double-sided film holder can hold two pieces of film that you have to load in the dark before you go shooting.

Blue Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera
The Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera loaded with film.Ethan Moses

Moses says his personal setup of this camera has a 127mm f/4.7 Kodak Ektar lens, shutter, cable release, viewfinder, light meter, accessory rangefinder, and one loaded Fidelity Elite film back, for a total weight of just 2lbs, 10 oz.

black 3D printed pieces
The 3D-printed lens cones come in a variety of sizes and can be customized depending on what lens you intend to shoot with.Ethan Moses

“Given how I use things, my personal preference is to make things very strong and as light as they can be,” Moses writes.

black 3D printed pieces
3D-printed focusing helicoid pieces.Ethan Moses

To get shooting you will need a large format lens, a mechanical cable release, a focusing loupe, a 4x5 film holder, and some 4x5 film.

gray 3d printed piece
3D printed grip for the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses

While the cost of shooting 4x5 film is still very expensive, a camera like this one is a lot less likely to have light leaks than a vintage camera that uses focusing bellows, which can crack and break over time.

More info about the Cameradactyl cameras can be found here.

black and white road scenery
Sample image shot with the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses
black and white house in the country
Expired plus-X film from 1992, shot with a 127mm Kodak Ektar with the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses
black and white landscape
Expired plus-X film from 1992, shot with a 127mm Kodak Ektar with the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses
palomino hotel
Expired plus-X from 1992, shot with a 127mm Kodak Ektar with the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses
black and white theater
Expired plus-X from 1992, shot with a 127mm Kodak Ektar with the Cameradactyl OG 4x5 hand camera.Ethan Moses
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