How to Turn a 20-Year-Old Computer into a Camera

Tuesday August 20, 2019 Written by James

CompCam G1

Let’s be honest: a camera is just a box with a hole. Manufacturers like Canon and Nikon have designed beautiful boxes, and built some very technical and expensive holes (read: lenses), but anything will do in a pinch.

For Iranian science nerd and photography buff Alireza Rostami, the pinch was some old computer bits he had lying around from the late ’90s. Using scrapped motherboards, spare RAM and the odd USB slot, Rostami was able to upcycle a functional film camera.

It wasn’t exactly easy. Alireza first had to calculate the precise ratios and physics involved, then mount a Linhof camera lens and Mamiya Universal lens ring into the Transformer-like frame. There’s even a printer port on the side (which does absolutely nothing).

CompCam G3

CompCam G2

Rostami started the project as a sort of recycling challenge: seeing if he could breathe new life into defunct hardware. And the results (see below) are surprising. Don’t expect to find these in your local Apple store, but the “Frankenstein” camera does take a decent selfie.

CompCam G4