Blow It Up: Convert Your Konstruktor into an Enlarger


Shoot with your Konstruktor by day, then print photographic enlargements with the SAME Konstruktor by night! Yes, you can do it. Some basic camera modifications, coupled with some common camera accessories, and PRESTO! You can have your own DIY darkroom in your home.

Credits: themindseye

That whole scanning your negatives thing and converting them into digital images is perfectly well-suited for online display. Likewise, the inkjet/laser printing of your digital images can be similarly satisfying. If you want to make a “big” and clear photographic statement, however, there are no substitutes for a real genuine silver enlargement print.

In fact, a hand-developed photographic enlargement is nothing short of a transcendental experience. This force is so powerful, that it is one of the reasons why we are all fanatical supporters of Lomography. Right?

Somehow, something has been lost from the romance of photographic prints. If you’re like me, then you know exactly what is missing…an enlargement from one of your negatives, thoughtfully processed by your own hands. Very few photographic labs can handle custom requests like: I want to add a photo montage to my enlargement or I want to try a darkroom double exposure with these two negatives. If, on the other hand, you had a photographic enlarger at your disposal, then you could easily perform all of your manipulations right in your own darkroom.

Well, you can build your own enlarger: it’s easy and very inexpensive. And it’s hiding right in front of you.

The main component in this enlarger is the Lomographic Society International’s Konstruktor DIY 35mm SLR Camera Kit. Yup, that’s right, we’re going to convert the Konstruktor into a photographic enlarger. Let’s call this project: Konlarger.

The Konlarger


  • Konstruktor
  • Small Guide Number (GN) Electronic Flash (e.g., Holga Manual Shoe Mount Flash with a GN of 22 meters or Vivitar 125)
  • Camera Tripod with Adjustable Head
  • Single-Layer Facial Tissue
  • Thin Black Flexible Foam Sheet
  • Large Sheet of Black Foam-Core
  • (1) 11×14-inch Picture Mat for an 8×10-inch print
  • Ilford Multigrade IV MGD.1M Black and White Variable Contrast RC (Resin Coated) Glossy Paper 8×10-Inches – 25 Sheets Value Pack (1858468) [This pack comes with 2 free rolls of 35mm film!]
  • (3) Paint Roller Trays
  • Several elastic bands, rubber bands, or tape
  • Some Red Transparent Plastic for Covering a Flashlight
  • Photographic Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer


  • 1 Hour


  • Moderate


  • $120 USD


Step 1. This step is optional. There are two simple modifications that you should do to your Konstruktor. Remove Part B19 (the film door) and Part P10 (the film door lock) from Konstruktor. This removal will make things easier for you later when you are attaching the electronic flash to the back of your camera and sliding film into the film chamber. Both of these parts can be easily reattached to the camera for normal film exposure. Or, you might opt for building one Konstruktor for taking photographs and another Konstruktor for acting as a permanent enlarger.

Step 2. Attach the modified Konstruktor to your tripod. Tilt the head downwards 90-degrees. Also, pan the head so that the camera is equidistant between two of the tripod’s legs.

Step 3. Determine which negative frame you want to enlarge and lay this frame on top of the camera’s film chamber. Be sure that this frame is both backwards and upside down in the film chamber.

Step 4. Cut your Thin Black Flexible Foam Sheet into a mask that will sit on top of your negative and keep stray light from the flash out of the film chamber. The opening in this mask should exactly match a 35mm film format frame. Unfortunately, sprocket hole exposures are not practical with Konlarger.

Step 5. Load fresh batteries into your electronic flash. Wrap one layer of Facial Tissue around the flash head. Lay the wrapped flash head on top of the foam sheet mask. Secure the flash to the Konstruktor with criss-crossed elastic bands, rubber bands, or tape. Make sure that none of these bands are covering the camera’s lens.

Step 6. Set the camera’s N/B Lever to “B”, cock the Mirror Reset Knob, press the Shutter Release Button, and hold the button down with an elastic band, rubber band, or tape.

Step 7. Raise the tripod head until the camera is approximately 0.5 meters above your floor.

Step 8. You are now ready to make an enlargement. Take your Konlarger, Paint Roller Trays, Photographic Paper, Red Plastic Covered Flashlight, Foam-Core Board, and Picture Mat into your darkroom.

Step 9. Pour your photographic chemicals into the three trays: developer, stop bath, and fixer (these chemicals should be available at the Lomography Online Shop). Turn off the lights and switch on the red flashlight. Remove one sheet of photographic paper and carefully center it inside the picture mat. This mat will provide a white border around your final enlargement. Place the mat/print sandwich on a flat surface directly under the down-turned Konlarger lens. Turn on your electronic flash and…wait.

Step 10. Take a deep breath, you are about to make a real photographic enlargement from your Konstruktor. Can you believe it? Trigger the flash, develop the print, run it through the stop bath, fix the silver halide photographic process, and wash the print in running water. All chemical times and temperatures are thoroughly discussed on a technical information sheet that should be packaged with the photographic paper.

Be very patient and keep accurate records and you should get a great enlargement from your Konlarger. There are four issues that could give you trouble:

1. Light Source. Every electronic flash is different. Not all will work with the Konlarger. You might have to try several flashes before you get a good match. A Vivitar 125 Electronic Flash will work, however.

2. Focus Setting. All adjustments with the Konlarger are blind adjustments. This means that you will only be able to check your focus after processing your print. Unless your electronic flash has a modeling light (with an appropriate red-colored filter), you will not be able to flick on a light for focusing the negative on the photographic paper. This is a “trial-by-error” process. For example, it took me three “test” prints to get my final Konlarger print. Once you’ve determined this focus setting, however, the tripod’s height and lens setting should be applicable to all of your future enlargements.

3. Exposure. The strength of your electronic flash (its guide number) will effect your print’s exposure. For example, my Vivitar 125 takes 9 discharges for creating a final print. Your discharge times and flash might be different. Keep accurate records of exposure times, light sources, and focus settings and your Konlarger will become your personalized photographic enlargement lab.

4. Soft Light. Due to the diffused tissue layer on the electronic flash, your enlargements will have a “soft” look and feel to them. This effect might not be problem with some high contrast negatives, but thin negatives could produce awful enlargements. Don’t be tempted to use a “bare” electronic flash head. The flash’s tube and lens screen will actually be visible on your enlargement.

Once you get the hang of this unusual setup, your DIY Konlarger could become as useful as the DIY Konstruktor, itself. For example, by keeping one Konstruktor configured as a full-time Konlarger, you can easily create an 8×10-inch enlargement is less than one hour.

Don’t stop with conventional enlargements, however. Attempt photo montages (e.g., laying items on top of the photographic paper) with your base enlargement. Likewise, double exposures are easy with the Konlarger setup. Just remember that you will have to remove the undeveloped photographic paper and temporarily store it in a light-proof container, while you load and setup your second negative. Then return the previously exposed paper to your picture mat and make the second exposure.

If you create your own Konlarger and upload digital copies of your photographic enlargements to your Lomo Home, please be sure to tag each enlargement with “Konlarger.” That way we can all admire your handiwork!

The Konstruktor is the world’s first Do-It-Yourself 35mm SLR camera. With it, you can easily build your very own camera from scratch. It’s the perfect tool for having fun whilst learning the exciting mechanics behind how analogue photography works. Get yours from the Online Shop or Lomography Gallery Stores Worldwide. Find out more about the camera on the Konstruktor Site.

written by themindseye on 2013-10-03 in #gear #tipster #enlarger #diy #konlarger #tutorial #development #35mm-film #darkroom #enlargements #konstruktor


  1. guanatos
    guanatos ·

    wow! this is great :) thanks for sharing :)

  2. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    This is a cool idea and a great experiment but for much less than the $120 you could go on ebay or craigslist and pick up a top of the range enlarger with all the accessories and a stash of old paper too. People are virtually giving them away these days. This is a fun idea though.

  3. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Brilliant :)

  4. mynamehasbeenstolen
    mynamehasbeenstolen ·

    Thanks for sharing-this is great :D

  5. yyyhorn
    yyyhorn ·

    well done!!! loved it!!

  6. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    I agree with simonh82. This is an interesting concept, but darkroom equipment is very low cost these days. A constant light source, red filter, knowing your focus and all that would avoid much frustration. Besides, I'd rather use my time and thoughts to make prints, not trying to get some toggled up experiment to work. Of course, that's just IMHO.

  7. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    This reminds me of something similar I saw on Ebay (and didn't buy) - a Soviet-era enlarger that used a Smena camera as the enlarger-head. I don't know how big it could enlarge (and given the source I had questions if it would work).

    I already have an Enlarger (35mm), so I probably wouldn't follow the above example. But has anyone considered looking into doing something similar for 120 film? I've found those to be more expensive.

  8. b2377
    b2377 ·

    A question: could I just pre-focus the image by shining a normal light through the negative in the Konlarger onto a sheet of plain white paper instead of wasting sheets of photo paper by exposing them to out-of-focus images? Only a theory, now to go put it into practice! :)

  9. jvujnovi
    jvujnovi ·

    That is probably a good idea & worth trying.

  10. davezula
    davezula ·

    Very ingenious!

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-02-04 in #world #competitions
    Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    Do you love being creative? How about instant photography? If the answer is yes, no or maybe, then we've got a jam happening with your name written all over it! Being the most creative instant camera around, it's difficult to imagine the Lomo'Instant becoming any more awesome. But what would happen if you and your pals put on your thinking caps for a Lomo'Instant accessory brainstorming session of the ages — limitless creative potential! Show us your skills by joining the Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge!

  • 18 Awesome Belair X 6-12 Squares

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-13 in #gear #news
    18 Awesome Belair X 6-12 Squares

    Having a Belair X 6-12 feels like owning more than just one camera. It's a medium-format camera, but paired with its special accessories you can shoot 35mm or instant photos with it, too! The versatility of its 3 photo formats also offers more options to suit your shooting needs. Here, we present to you some of the most gorgeous Belair X 6-12 photos in classic 6x6 format. Enjoy!

  • December 19th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-19 in #news
    December 19th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    Can you ever have enough film for your treasured cameras? Are you going to take a ton of awesome analogue photos this holiday season? If the answer is yes (and we know it is), then now is your last chance to save on our super selection of analogue films!

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Wide 300

    Fuji Instax Wide 300

    Shoot wider and bigger with this new instax camera that has film format twice the size of the instax mini films!

  • Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    written by cheeo on 2014-12-05 in #lifestyle
    Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    Shooting with film can be considered a labor of love. From carefully loading the film and adjusting for lighting conditions to the darkroom process, it’s a laborious process but certainly a fulfilling experience. What more if you created your own cameras?

  • Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news
    Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    Have you ever tried going lens-less when taking a photo? Try shooting with ONDU Pinhole Cameras and see what it's like to take photos through a tiny pinhole. Check out these lovely shots taken by Lomographers; if you do have some ONDU pinhole photos of your own, upload and tag them accordingly so that we can see them!

  • Workshops and Events for January 2015 at Lomography UK

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-01-05 in #events
    Workshops and Events for January 2015 at Lomography UK

    Happy New Year Everyone. We're confident that our January 2015 workshops will help you dust off those January blues and get you smiling again. You'll be able to learn how to expose an image onto fabric or canvas with our LUMI paint workshop, learn the basics of our super Diana F+ camera and take to the streets with the Lomo'instant. There is also a great exhibition of analogue prints from photographer Arat “Huge” Komsawadichai. Find out more and book your spot by clicking here.

  • Shop News

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Want to be more creative and level up your bokeh shots? A wide selection of special apertures for Petzval are here to blend with your artistic side and give your Petzval images some analog twists!

  • Shift School Paris Photo Competition: The Winners

    written by efrost on 2014-11-05 in #competitions
    Shift School Paris Photo Competition: The Winners

    It looks like it’s time to get out the cameras and pack your bags. Together with the Shift School Dresden, we offered amazing prizes, including an insider trip to Paris, where you can take part in photography courses and visit the world-famous Paris Photo Tradeshow. Of course, there’s also a ton of Lomography prizes at stake like cameras, accessories and film so that the winner can capture memories from the trip on film. And now to announce the winners!

  • Down By The Water With The Krab - 10 Quick Tips To Try

    written by shhquiet on 2014-07-10 in #lifestyle
    Down By The Water With The Krab - 10 Quick Tips To Try

    There's a lot that you can do with a Lomo LC-A+/Lomo LC-Wide and a Krab, besides the obvious (which is take it in the water with you). Get creative by trying various angles and perspectives; you'll be surprised how a slight tilt can make a dramatic difference to your photos. Take a look at the gallery below for some inspiration!

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-02 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    Here’s a random and rather mysterious tale for you folks. Just the other day, I was at a local bar with a few friends. It was much like any other evening; we were sipping a couple of cocktails, recounting our adventures, falling over ourselves with laughter and half-drunkenly meditating on the meaning of life (a scientist once told me it’s 42 by the way). But then something truly strange happened. Read on to hear my story and please make a comment with your guess at the end!

  • Shop News

    Summer Inspired Camera at 20% off

    Summer Inspired Camera at 20% off

    The brazilian summer inspired camera is now at 20% off! You can now celebrate life in full color and treasure every culture in a snap! This summer is no exception; make sure you’re prepared to capture all the sporty action with the Fisheye No.2 Brazilian Summer Camera!

  • I am a Mad Analogue Scientist: New Experiments with 35mm Films and Chemicals

    written by blackfairy on 2014-08-07 in #gear #tipster
    I am a Mad Analogue Scientist: New Experiments with 35mm Films and Chemicals

    Unfortunately, it happens sometimes that your resulting pictures are not what you expected - the image doesn't look that good, the colors are bland, and the subject is banal. Indeed, it couldn't be picture of the year! Herein I propose a second chance for your pictures by modifying your 35mm negatives. Just pick up some ideas from here, experiment, and scan your negatives with the Lomography Smartphone Scanner. Anything is possible: burning, scratching, putting on hydrochloric acid, balsamic vinegar, nail polish, bleach, or raspberry juice... use your imagination and write down your new film soup recipe! You can find a sample of the effects in this article.

  • 5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-25 in #news
    5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    We love sharing photos! So, with the recent release of the beloved Lomo'Instant camera, we thought it would be a great idea to look at some of the best ways to share your instants with the world. Rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf or stay hidden away in a drawer somewhere, why not let everyone else in on your superb instant creations? Check out these 5 awesome ways you can do just that!

  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #people #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!