The Camera Obscura! Reviving the Old Masters' Secret Tool
Basic WALNUT Camera Obscura Fully ASSEMBLED and finished.
Includes: the fully assembled Camera Obscura with a beautiful lacquer finish, the lens tube with 1 standard lens, and 2 screens: 1 ground (frosted) and 1 clear screen.
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Deluxe WALNUT Camera Obscura with Camera Mount Fully ASSEMBLED and finished.
Includes the fully assembled Camera Obscura with a beautiful lacquer finish, lens tube and lens, 2 screens, video instructions—PLUS: a Focus Cloth, 1 Close-up lens, and an extra ground glass screen, the Camera Mount and additional super close-up lens.
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These are very high quality Camera Obscura, handbuilt with Walnut hardwood. We use dovetail joinery for its strength and beauty and to add to the overall quality of the piece. Each Camera Obscura has a tripod mounting screw, that can be attached to any standard tripod.
Our Camera Obscura is about a 6 inch (15.3cm) cube and only weighs 1.65lbs (1.2kg) in solid Walnut. You can take it anywhere and it’s easy to store or display! The lens tube is formed from seamless brass tube to give you a solid authentic use and feel. The lens is a uncoated spherical glass lens 38mm in diameter. This lens will allow you to focus on objects about 3 feet away to infinity.
The ground glass screen is used for viewing the image and the clear screen is used with a piece of tracing paper to trace the image. The useable screen image size is about 5 inches (12.7cm) square.
The optional focus cloth (comes with the Deluxe Camera Obscura) helps block out extra light, so you can see the image more clearly. This is very helpful. This focus cloth is white on the outside to reflect away heat and black on the inside to lessen light reflecting back onto the image.
The Close-up lenses (comes with the Deluxe Camera Obscura) are used to focus on and enlarge close objects. The standard close-up lens focuses on objects from about 5 to 9 inches away (13 to 23cm) and enlarges up to 1.5X. The super Close-up lens focuses on objects about 2 inches (5cm) away and enlarges 2.5X.
The Camera Mount attaches to a standard tripod, and has a place to attached a digital camera on one end and your camera obscura on the other end. With the focus cloth draped over the two cameras, you can take pictures and video of the camera obscuras image.
Photograph and Cinematography
The camera obscura’s image can be captured by still or motion cameras and will add a rich vibrant depth to your photograph or cinematography. See Example
See the music video below by cellist Tina Guo’s arrangement of Apres Un Reve. This really captures the unique look and depth of a camera obscura’s image. Every scene with the woman and the cello is actual footage from the camera obscura’s screen. A video camera was mounted to the camera obscura to film the screen.
They did an excellent job of capturing the obscura’s image the way it looks in real life and dramatically demonstrated the obscura’s ability to focus on one object at a time and jump from far to near with a simple slide of the lens.
Artistic uses for this Camera Obscura
There are two main ways to create art with this camera obscura. One is to observe the image and paint on a separate canvas the other is to draw directly on the image.
Observing the image and paint on a separate surface
The image projected by a camera obscura is like no other image you will ever see. From pictures of the image you can get a good idea what the image will look like, but it is impossible for a digital image to truthfully capture every thing that it is. It is, of course, a full color moving image of your surroundings, but it is much more than that.
The camera obscura’s image has a beautiful and profound effect on a subject. It simplifies it while adding depth and enriching color. It looks more vivid then life, like you can reach out and grab it.
Here is a LINK to a great article explaining why and how Vermeer used a camera obscura. They divide in into five areas: perspective, tonal rendering, composition, handling of light and some peculiar effects produced uniquely by the camera obscura.
Plus it sees the same way we see with our eyes. When you look at an object it is sharp in focus and everything else softens into the background, but as soon as you look to see the soft background it become the sharp foreground. But with this camera obscura you can observe a scene the way your eye sees it without your eye’s constant refocusing. Observing the camera obscura’s image will teach you how to paint the way you see, which will add untold depth to your work.
Drawing directly on the image
You can also draw directly on the image: either by placing a piece of clear plastic over the ground glass and drawing on that, or use the clear acrylic glass screen with a piece of tracing paper over it. The image will project right onto your paper and look like a TV screen that you can draw on.
But remember that the screen size is 5 inches (12.7cm) square , so if you use the tracing method your drawing can only be as big as the screen.