Stratski's Creative Corner: the Janus Cam


Janus was a two faced Roman god. A fitting name for a camera that exposes film from both sides. And the beauty is: you can easily make a Janus cam yourself!

Credits: stratski

A while ago I saw this article about the Smena Siam, about two Smena’s that were fused together to make a sort of Siamese Camera. My first reaction was: Wow. I want that! I had gained confidence by hacking my own single use camera, so I decided to give it a try.

Now I don’t have two Smena’s, and even if I had, I wouldn’t saw them up. But I do have a thrift store filled with cheap trash cams just around the corner. I decided to start simple, by adding a pinhole camera to the back of a regular camera.

Step one was a trip to the thrift store to find a cheap and simple camera to sacrifice. I would be the Jack’O, a camera I mainly chose because the original packaging stated it would take a maximum of 24 shots, while the camera itself showed quite clearly (even from within the packaging) a frame counter that went up to 36.

The Jack’O camera, with integrated lens cap open.

After measuring more or less carefully, I decided where to make a hole in the back of the camera and went at it with a hobby knife. That was not as easy as I had hoped! Tough plastc… After hacking at it for about an hour, risking life and arteries, my guy came home and suggested heating the knife. An excellent suggestion, because fifteen minutes of heating and melting later, I had a nice rectangular hole, and in the right spot, too!

Sawed out hole in the back of the camera.

The hole was a bit ragged, but some quick work with a bit of sanding paper removed most of the sticking out bits. I then washed away the dust under a running tap. Not something to try with your premium cameras, but a simple plastic lensed trash cam can easily take a bit of water. Just make sure you let it dry completely or your film will stick.

The next step was constructing the pinhole body. Kind of like a matchbox pinhole camera, but instead of sliding the inner matchbox into the outer box, I stacked the two parts to make a deeper camera body. I had an old bit of beer can with a pihnole lying aroud, but the hole looked rather biggish, and I seem to remeber from some half-forgotten article that a bigger pinhole works better with a bigger body.

Pinhole body.

Next I placed the pinhole body over the hole in my camera and secured it with black tape. I tried to align the pinhole with the lens as best as I could. Of course I made sure it was taped very securely to prevent light leaks. Jack’O had become Janus.

The pinhole body attached to the regular camera.

Now the film is placed in the camera in the regular way. If I want a normal picture, I snap and advance the film. If I want a (redscale) pinhole picture, I take a pinhole picture, cover the lens with the lenscam (and my hand), snap, and advance. If I want a combination, I snap, take a pinhole picture (or the other way around), and advance.

And does it work? Yes it does! The pinhole pictures tend to overrun the regular pictures (I have to work on that, figure out what order or pictures works best), but on the whole, I’m pretty happy.

Credits: stratski

I challenge you to make one, too! This design lends itself for all kinds of variations. You can add a mask on the inside to make a kind of splitzer pictures: half regular, half redscale, with no overlap. Or you can add the MX-function or B-setting of the hacked disposable camera. Or all those things together. I look forward to seeing your take on this.

written by stratski on 2013-02-18 in #gear #tipster #tipster #diy #ebs #pinhole #redscale #doubel #camera #janus
translated by stratski


  1. casperxd
    casperxd ·

    brilliant idea !!

  2. stratski
    stratski ·

    Here's the second album I shot with this camera (and an in-camera mask):

  3. aguillem
    aguillem ·

    that's goood! I was waiting to be rich to do the same with 2 LC-A... because right now I would be happy with one ;)
    But I hope going back in Estonia, and there I would find for sure 2 cheap Smena or other soviet cams.

  4. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Awesome idea!! A cool way to utilize the EBS technique without having to flip the film. @buckshot - have you seen this tipster by @stratski yet? I think you might like this.

  5. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    @mafiosa: I sure do like it...! Thanks for pointing me to this. And stratski, that's a really excellent idea you have there! With a little fine-tuning, you could probably get even better results with it, but it's already awesome that you made this and actually got it to work - I'm impressed...! :-)

  6. stratski
    stratski ·

    @casperxd @aguillem @mafiosa @buckshot: Thanks for your nice comments!
    Yeah, it needs some more practicing to get the shots I was looking for. The mask inside was a good extra step I think, though I didn't realise that an in-camera mask produces a much sharper divide than a splitzer...

    I'm now building a second version, with a proper second camera body attached to the first camera.

  7. nelemson
    nelemson ·


  8. kineaux
    kineaux ·

    amazingggggg!!! what a creativity! but one thing, if someone takes a picture with the other side of the film (the back) it comes out in redscale?? thank you for this, inspiring indeed

More Interesting Articles

  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news #lifestyle #tipster
    Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    Ever since light painting was invented, it inspired artists from all around the globe to magical creations that capture hidden movements and reinvent the world we live in. "Life is a fairy tale, stay wild little child!" is what they want to tell us. Bringing light to life became the next challenge for anyone rigged with a film camera and a creative mind. Now, how can you take your analogue light paintings from the ordinary to the outstanding? After the carriage came the car, so we definitely need some spacy inventions to follow the old school light pen. So here it is, our new best friend: The Pixelstick!

  • The Supercraft Ladies Design Their Own La Sardina DIY

    written by zonderbar on 2014-08-13 in #people #lomoamigos
    The Supercraft Ladies Design Their Own La Sardina DIY

    If you love to craft or design things yourself, you can draw a lot of inspiration from these two creative women. You may have already stumbled upon Sophie and Catharina on the web, be it at hello handmade, workisnotajob, superwork, supercraft or their youngest project, lemon books.

  • Lomo'Instant + Splitzer: The Duo at Their Peak!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-30 in #gear #lifestyle
    Lomo'Instant + Splitzer: The Duo at Their Peak!

    With a Lomo'Instant Camera and a Splitzer, you can get absolutely funny and creative images. I took it to the highest level and exposed my shots from 4 to 8 times! What you'll see next is an impressive mix of colors, textures, places and people captured in a very surreal way!

  • Shop News

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ and Diana+ 75mm Premium Glass Lens are now ready to give you the best shots with vignetting effects, crisp quality shots together with the signature dreamy appeal of the Diana! Save 15% on the Glass Lens in this Bundle!

  • The Horizon Perfekt: A Camera for Perfect Panoramas

    written by wesco on 2014-06-23 in #reviews
    The Horizon Perfekt: A Camera for Perfect Panoramas

    For a lover of panoramic photos, the Horizon Perfekt is one of the most sought after cameras in the market. Through the revolving glass lens, it makes pictures that are sharp right into the corners at an extra wide panorama format. The distortion that can occur gives its pictures a special appearance.

  • Fräulein Catherine Takes on the Konstruktor Challenge

    written by zonderbar on 2014-06-16 in #people #lomoamigos
    Fräulein Catherine Takes on the Konstruktor Challenge

    About a year ago, we introduced the Konstruktor to the world, and the little do-it-yourself camera has left us in awe ever since. Even the Viennese blogger, Fräulein Catherine (Miss Catherine), was keen on our 35mm SLR camera that you can build yourself, and she took on the DIY challenge. Here you can read more about the feat.

  • December 4th Advent Offer: Looking for a terrific camera for the holidays? (Online Code: BRIGHTDELIGHT15)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-04 in #news
    December 4th Advent Offer: Looking for a terrific camera for the holidays?  (Online Code: BRIGHTDELIGHT15)

    It's that time again — the Lomography Advent deal of the day! If you're in search of a beautiful gift for creative folks or looking to get into the game yourself, we've got your back. Today's super deal is on our Diana F+ and Diana Mini, as well as a continued discount on our plastic bodied cameras.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Newcomer of the Week: macosta

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-05-25 in #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: macosta

    She stumbled upon the Community last year when she was looking for a lightweight camera that she can easily bring during her backpacking trips. She settled on a Holga 135 BC, which she fondly calls "Hogs." Meet our Newcomer of the Week, Marilia Costa or also known in the Community as macosta!

  • Make Your Very Own DIY Waterproof Camera Case!

    written by cheeo on 2014-07-03 in #gear #tipster
    Make Your Very Own DIY Waterproof Camera Case!

    Still keeping a look out for an affordable waterproof case that can take a beating? Well, if your neck’s a bit sore from all the looking then why not make one yourself? Check out how to do it with this quick tipster!

  • Technology Will Save Us x Lomography DIY Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-12 in #world #news #competitions
    Technology Will Save Us x Lomography DIY Rumble

    When it’s cold outside and the rain is pouring, it can be the perfect time to sit down and build something. Lomography UK has teamed up with Technology Will Save Us, a company that makes build-it-yourself electronic kits, to bring you the perfect DIY Rumble. Get the chance to win a Konstruktor camera and a DIY Instrument Kit. Read on for details on how to enter this fab competition.

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Mini Neo & 10x Fuji Instax Mini Film

    Fuji Instax Mini Neo & 10x Fuji Instax Mini Film

    Save 20% on Fuji Instax Mini Film with this bundle and get 100 sheets for pure Instant fun! Plus, get to choose which Fuji Instax Mini Camera fits your personality!

  • Shootin’ Across Town with the Lomo’Splitzer: Vienna

    written by fl0werp0wer on 2015-03-26 in #world #tipster
    Shootin’ Across Town with the Lomo’Splitzer: Vienna

    Who knew that by making a hop, skip and jump across town you could create such crazy lomo'instagraphs?! When equipt with the Lomo'Instant and the trusty Splitzer accessory - anything is possible. Take a peep at this selection taken from different locations across Vienna and see for yourself the phenomenal results. Read on to discover how you too can splice-up (and spice-up) historic buildings on your next sight-seeing trip.

  • Lomography Diana Tips + Tricks

    written by joellep on 2014-09-27 in #gear #tipster
    Lomography Diana Tips + Tricks

    I have been using the Diana extensively for the past two years. It was actually the camera that got my into film photography (something that I am so grateful for). So I have compiled a list of Diana tips for y’all…

  • Lomopedia: Nikon FM10

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-18 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Nikon FM10

    Dubbed as an ideal analogue camera for beginners, the FM10 boasts a myriad of features that can definitely teach photography newbies a trick or two when it comes to shooting. Read on to find out more about this trusty SLR from Nikon.