instantphoto.eu              Jollylook Pinhole Square Camera

The Jollylook Pinhole Square Camera is a simple vintage style Instant pinhole camera for Fuji Instax Square film, made of plywood. There was a Mini film version before. It was a Kickstarter project, as all Jollylook projects.

Their first project was a cardboard camera, launched in February 2017, it was financed in only 11 hours and should have been delivered in June 2017. By the end of the campaign they received 25 times their goal. Until mid May 2017 all seemed fine. Then there was a long silence from the makers, only a few updates, but in June 2018, a year too late, shipping started. The cameras delivered were a disaster, they were nearly all faulty. Production was then moved from China to Ukraine, which improved the quality, but it turned out that there was fraud within the Chinese contractor's firm and the money they had payed in advance was gone. It took another year, until June 2019, that the Ukainian production was ready to ship. Then there wasn't enough money to ship the cameras. They decided to sell a part of the production outside of the project and ship to a part of the backers with the money from the sale. Meanwhile all the pledges are fullfilled.

They launched a new project for a better, automatic camera made of plywood, the Jollylook Auto in both formats, Mini and Square, in February 2020. They clearly said that a small part of the money from the new campaign went to the fulfilment of the old. Then came Covid and complicated things a lot. And finally Russia attacked Ukraine and there was war. The makers did not give up which would have been easy and understandable. Instead, they decided to move outside Ukraine to Slovakia and restart with some of their tools, but mainly from scratch. Of course they were in need of money, so they started two intermediate projects, based on the wooden housings they already had, but without electronics. They offered them as DIY kits for cheap. So first there was the Pinhole Mini. They found enough backers and the kits were successfully shipped. Then the Square Pinhole followed, same thing, the project was successful. This is the result of the DIY kit. You can now buy the camera readily mounted. And the Auto project came on its rails again, hopefully to be delivered in 2024. There is a page about the mounting of this camera here.

Technical Specifications:

Film Format: Fujifilm Instax Square Film
Exposure Area: 62mm x 62mm
Lens Focal Length: 50mm to 110mm
Aperture: pinhole, value depends on the focal set (F132 to F289)
Shutter Speed: Bulb Mode
Film Ejection Mechanism: Hand powered
Multiple Exposures: Unlimited
Tripod Mount: yes
No Film Counter
Size: 120 x 140 x 95 mm
Weight: 500 gr. film included

Some pictures of the camera:

The pledge from Kickstarter.

The camera mounted. Front closed.

Camera back with exposure calculator. A nice gadget, it really works, but personally I prefer a simple table.

The bottom has the necessary tripod socket. Ejection handle on the side.

Camera open. There are stops from 60mm to 110mm. 50mm has no real stop.

Fully extended.

50mm setting. As the distances are inscribed to the side of the stop, you can't see the actual one which is hidden by the front standard.

Back open.

Exposure table.

This is a simple wooden pinhole camera. The design is nice and it works OK. It is very nice to have different focal settings, most pinhole cameras are boxes with fixed focal length. The shutter which is aided by magnets, works fine,

The finder is only an aiming device, but it helps well.
The absence of a 50mm stop is no problem as long as the camera is horizontal or looks down, the bellows provide some tension. If you aim the camera upwards, the bellows collapse, so you have to block the front standard. As the standard is near to the body in this position, just put a finger between the two near the base of the finder and hold.

Some photos taken with this camera.
Scanned at 400dpi without any processing. Some data noted on the margin of the photo. The pictures are bigger on the screen than the real photos (6.3x6.3cm), the real photos in your hand look much sharper:

Cologne, park next to St. Pantaleon

St. Pantaleon

Cologne, new tax offices (1950s)

Park, lawn and trees. There was some wind, so some grass was moving.

It is interesting, that at 110mm grass at 10cm and the tree at about 8m are both sharp, whereas the trees at more than 20m are a bit blurred. 50mm and 60mm are hardly different. There will be some more photos in some months.

I had subscribed for the Auto model. That one will  certainly be easier to handle with its automatic shutter. I still hope it will be made and I look forward to it.