Already funded with indecent speed on Kickstarter, the Ondu Eikan is a modular camera built especially for large format photography.
Ondu Cameras has made a solid reputation for itself over recent years selling an expanding range of pinhole cameras from its base in the Slovenian Alps. It launched its first Kickstarter for a pinhole camera in 2013, and is now following that up a decade later with its most ambitious project to date.
Ondu already manufactures a wide range of wooden pinhole cameras
The Ondu Eikan is the brainchild of company founder, Elvis Halilović, and reflects his passion for large format photography. Made from a mixture of solid, locally sourced walnut wood and CNC-machined aluminium, it is not only a thing of quite considerable beauty but also what he reckons is the first modular folding field camera.
There’s plenty of info about the camera on the Ondu Eikan Kickstarter page, which is already fully funded by over 200% with 24 days still to go. But here’s a quick rundown.
There are three models available, starting at $700, which is an earlybird Kickstarter price - the typical onsale staring point will be $999 or thereabouts. And all ship without a lens, so you are going to have to think carefully about matching one to the camera as large format has definite considerations that need to be accommodated (again, check the Kickstarter page for more info).
Ondu Eikan 4x5" Standard ($700)
The lightest version of the camera with a rigid back and movable front standard. It has a bellows range of 32cm and features a rear and front zeroing mechanism ensuring a quick initial setup.
Halilović reckons that this camera is the easiest entry for those starting their large format photography journey or for those looking for a lightweight setup for their outdoor adventures, partly as it weighs just 1500g and is a breeze to setup. “This camera will fit most photographers large format needs,” he says
Ondu Eikan 4X5" Range ($950)
The fully extended Ondu Eikan Range
Shares almost all of the same features as the Standard but adds a longer bellows and a rear sliding rail that enables the camera an extra 10cm or rear extension. This means that the total extension reaches all the way up to 420mm. Perfect for macro photography or longer focal length lenses. It weighs 1600g.
The switch between the Standard to the Range takes about 10-15 minutes and a hex key, though it's not recommended that it be done too often. Think of it as an upgrade path rather than being able to swap between them.
Ondu Eikan 4x10" Panoramikku ($1400)
Elvis Halilović with the Panoramikku model
Shares the same rear extension of the Range module with the addition of a new rear standard as well as a completely new bellows to fit the panoramic format. Weight of the camera is bumped up to 1970g.
Here, the Range converts to Panoramikku or vice versa a lot more simply by changing the magnetically attached bellows and repositioning the whole rear assembly including the bottom rails. Halilović reckons this is done in a matter of minutes by removing the two rear tightening knobs, meaning that users can swap between the formats pretty regularly.
The Kickstarter is live at time of writing and runs until 27 July. Delivery of the finished units is expected between November this year and February 2024.