Recesky DIY TLR


An exciting camera that’s fun to build and fun to use.

I like to think of myself as a fairly open-minded person who’s interested in a lot of different things, but when it comes to all things technical I’m useless. Seriously. So I don’t even know why I ordered the DIY kit to build my own twin lens reflex camera. When I ordered it, I thought that I could easily ask someone for help in case I got stuck (which I was sure I would). Especially since the instructions only came in Chinese and unfortunately I don’t know any Chinese. So I had to rely on the graphics entirely. Now imagine how proud I was when I managed to assemble the entire camera all by myself! I had read before that most people took around 1 hour to build it, and I must admit that I took a little longer, mostly due to some problems with the shutter. That part was a little fiddly but the rest came together pretty quickly.
Fortunately the instructions are very well illustrated, the way it’s done kind of reminded me of IKEA instructions. So if you have built an IKEA shelf before that might be an advantage here ;)

Now I couldn’t wait to pop in a roll and to test it and see if I had really assembled everything the right way! And although I can hardly believe it, it sure looks like I did. The Recesky takes regular 35mm film which is quite handy.

Credits: cornborn

The lens is a very simple two element design with a lot of flaws that make it perfect. Seriously, I love the way it’s sharp in the middle and blurs the edges! Most pictures also show a beautiful vignette. It’s still very contrasty though.

Credits: cornborn

The camera didn’t come with a strap so I just use some ribbon instead. Since the camera is made up of plastic it weighs literally nothing and if you tie it well it shouldn’t be a problem.

By the way you may know the Gakken DIY TLR – the Recesky seems to be a copy with a few minor alterations. It is largely believed that the Gakken and the Recesky are actually manufactured by the same company. So appearantly whether you buy one or the other is just a matter of personal preference.

Credits: cornborn

I really recommend this camera – not just for the beautiful pictures it takes, but also for the experience of assembling it! The fact that I could do it without help shows just how easy it is and that it requires no technical understanding. If I can do it anyone can do it! So be brave and have fun!

written by cornborn on 2011-04-30 #gear #film #diy #35mm #review #camera #twin-lens-reflex #tlr #do-it-yourself #gakken #recesky #user-review


  1. cheese
    cheese ·

    The camera sounds like fun, and the results look really good!

  2. mythguy9
    mythguy9 ·

    Does it have an option to choose between 35mm and 120mm format?

  3. purpleheaven26
    purpleheaven26 ·

    I have one and I'm Actually loving it :3

  4. cornborn
    cornborn ·

    @mythguy9 No, it only takes 35mm film!

  5. hidings
    hidings ·

    Loving the sharp middle blur edges effect!

  6. timesvelocity
    timesvelocity ·

    lovely photos. the selective focus on the leafless trees are especially my favorite [=

  7. -walsh-
    -walsh- ·

    Now that is cool!

  8. clogged
    clogged ·

    this was really great, thanks! i have been thinking about getting one of these, i was just scared of the assembly... but i think i'll get one, now. horray!

  9. kribbzor
    kribbzor ·

    i love my Recesky! ;D

  10. ripperzane
    ripperzane ·

    broke mine, bought another heh

  11. linusbm
    linusbm ·

    It was very fun to build, I've only shot one roll on mine but loved the pics!

  12. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Ha; Same. I had a blast making it; but only shot a single roll. On the other hand I really skunked that roll. I might have a redue when I get a chance.

  13. jiwan2011
    jiwan2011 ·

    Hi, I am trying to load the film. Everything is fine but the Film Advance Axle/Wheel and the Film Rewind axle/wheel are so lose that I am not able to stretch the film properly. I rotated several frames in the film advance axle, but the stress of the film itself tries to pull the film back (or at least not allow it to be tight) . How can I make it tight and stretched? Thank you in advance.

  14. cornborn
    cornborn ·

    Hi jiwan2011. This seems to be a fairly common problem. You can try and stick some tape on the back wall (the inside of the door) so the film is held in place more tightly. Otherwise I'm afraid you'll have to stretch the film each time before taking a photo by winding/rewinding and holding on to the wheels as you take the photo. Fortunately my own Recesky doesn't have this problem but my friend's camera does and we found that it got better towards the end of the roll. Maybe someone else has found a better solution!
    Good luck!

  15. jiwan2011
    jiwan2011 ·

    Thank you Cornborn! I will try to work on it!

  16. stuigi
    stuigi ·

    I've had mine a month and only got chance to take it out and about today. I really don't know how they'll look, but that's the fun of this camera! I too have that problem of the advance knob slackening the film - I'll try and work out a botch fix for it.

  17. odax
    odax ·

    I had the same problem with the film advance wheel on mine. I stuck a few layers of masking tape on the inside back wall to hold it in place. Only problem with this was that it seemed to let a little light in through the back. So I have a couple of light leaks, but I kind of like them.

  18. ipdegirl
    ipdegirl ·

    I just ordered a Resesky and I'm SUPER excited to get it now that I've read your article and checked out your pictures. The B&Ws are especially stunning. YAY!!

  19. lighttomysoul
    lighttomysoul ·

    the blurring of the edges are fucking awesome!

  20. ojjvz
    ojjvz ·

    Wow, the manual is freaking retarded. It was a pain in the ass to build it, especially the panel with the mirror on it. Normally i'm rather good with that kind of stuff. But i'm so psyched to finally have finished it :D
    Just didnt anticipate it not having a long-exposure fuction, so now I have to wait for daylight :P

    and I gotta say, I love your B&W pictures

  21. matwurst
    matwurst ·

    camera looks cool but the lens is just sh*t. my bbf looks way better!

  22. mademoisellemarie
    mademoisellemarie ·


  23. breakingmyself
    breakingmyself ·

    Better bet myself on eBay! :D

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