The Instant Box Camera

is a camera and darkroom in one. There is a lens in the front and a moveable sanded glass plate on the inside of the camera that acts as the focus. The Instant Box Camera is a paper camera, although you can expose negative sheet film or other light-sensitive surfaces as well. Inside the box are trays for chemicals that allow you to develop and fix the taken photograph on the spot. All the materials are easily available. You do not have to depend on any specific manufacturer. Taking images with readily available darkroom paper and chemicals is much cheaper than any other instant camera film out there.

Image taking

Taking a photograph with the Instant Box Camera does not require any specific skill or training. With a bit of experimentation and following the basic instructions everyone can create fantastic instant photographs. You can choose between different ways of taking photographs.

Negative-positive process: The traditional negative-positive process is the cheapest option and allows the most flexibility. Using regular darkroom paper with the Instant Box Camera, you get a negative image first. The negative is then photographed with the negative holder to obtain a positive photograph. Through this method you can created multiple positive images from the same negative. You can also manipulate the image when taking a positive by cropping, tinting, or montaging the negative. You can use fix either grade or multigrade paper. We recommend multigrade paper with a filter, for example Foma (affiliated link). This allows you to create a soft negative, avoiding images with too much contrast.

Colour Photograph: You can shoot colour as well, as the RA-4 process is possible with the Instant Box Camera. You will need RA-4 paper and an extra set of colour developer/fixer with a black and white developer. Getting the filtering right is a little tricky, but we have tutorials available on that subject.

Direct Positive paper: A faster way of taking a photograph is with direct positive paper. Each exposure results in a positive image. There are many box camera photographers out there who love this type of paper because it creates unique photographs like Instant Film. It is slightly more expensive but manageable if you shoot at a smaller size. (Below direct positive images by performance photographer Mehdi Néddellec )

Alternative chemicals & film: The Instant Box Camera can be used with any light-sensitive surface. You can coat your own paper, expose it and process it in the box. The same goes for sheet film: you just need film developer instead of the paper one.

Images Size

We designed the Instant Box Camera for standard 10.5 x 14.8 cm paper (approx 4 x 6 in). We also designed two adaptors for smaller and more economical image sizes.

The first adaptor is for half a standard 12.7 x 17.8 cm paper (5 x 7 in). With a box of 100 sheets, you can take 200 photographs in the size 8.8 x 12.7 cm (5 x 3.5 in).

The second adaptor is for quarter of a standard 12.7 x 17.8 cm paper (5 x 7 in). With a box of 100 sheets, you can take 400 photographs in the size 6.3 x 8.8 cm (3.5 x 2.5 in).


We chose a very lightweight material for the Instant Box Camera to make it mobile. The camera weighs 4.1 kg (9 pounds) and the tripod 1.7 kg (3.7 pounds). We designed the tripod in three segments to be approximately the length of the camera when folded with a strap that can be used to carry the tripod or to stabilise it when set up. The camera measures: Length  38  cm / width 28  cm /  hight 30 cm


The Instant Box Camera comes with a 110mm f4.5 Industar lens. This Soviet lens is a very well-built enlarger lens. The camera has a M39 mount for this included lens. I have been collecting these lenses for years as they are the most affordable lens with a 4.5 aperture. This lens was also used by all the photographers I met in Afghanistan. You can retrofit your own large-format lens to the camera. Different lenses have different mounting systems. If you are unsure you can get in touch and we can assist you.


Our wooden tripod is 42 cm (16.5 in) long pushed in and 102 cm (40 in) when extended. It is lightweight yet sturdy, with a leather strap. You can use your own tripod with the Instant Box Camera if you prefer, as a standard tripod mount is attached to the bottom of the camera.


The camera is made from poplar plywood with composite wood on the bottom tripod leg. The wood comes from the European Union. The sleeve is made from high-quality light-tight fabric. We use leather sourced from a tannery in Italy. The hinges, screws and bolts are made in Germany and the plastic trays in Austria. The choices were all made to produce a great-looking camera that is lightweight and affordable yet with as much conscious thought as possible.


Paper and chemicals are pretty much available everywhere.  Our material partner in Europe is Fotoimpex and in the US Freestyle Photo & Imagine Supplies.

Photography paper:

You can use any type of paper. Variable contrast, fixed grade, fibre based or resin coated. The native paper size for the camera is 10,5×14,8 (4x6in)  or with our adapters  you can use a 12,7×17,8cm (5x7in) paper and cut it in half or quarter (economical option).  

  • Fomaspeed 311  – this is a resin coated, variable contrast paper. It is the cheaper and easier to handle option. Get in in the  EU / US      
  • Fomabrom 112 – this is a fibre base, variable contrast paper. They are a bit more expensive and need longer developing, washing and drying time. But Fibred based papers are beautiful and certain add value to your photo print.   Get in in the  EU / US


  • Foma multigrade Filter. This filter allows you to change the contrast. We suggest to use the Y filter to create a soft negative for better tonality. You can also use Iford filters but they do require a bit of a longer exposure time. Get in in the  EU / US


We recommend powder chemicals here as they are easy to transport and when sealed properly last a very long time. You can use any kind of paper developer and fixer though. Some box camera photographers prefer Ilford as they say the image developed slower. 

  • Adox Adotol Developer. Get in in the  EU / US
  • Adox Adofix P II / Ilford Rapid Fixer. Get in in the  EU / US

Colour Photography RA-4

  • Adox RA-4 Kit. In the Europe.  
  • RA 4 chemicals in the USA  
  • Paper in the Europe – (Fotoimpex Ra 4 Paper )
  • Paper in the USA 

Direct positive paper

  • Harman Direct Positive Paper . Get in in the  EU / US

Photoemulsion to create your own paper

  • In the EU – Foma Fotoemulsion Fomaspeed N250ml + hardener  
  • In the US – Rockland

Sheet film for your camera 

  • Fomapan 100  & Adox CHS 100 II. Get in in the  EU / US  

Film developer (fixer you can use the same as for the paper)

  • Adox Atomal 49   Get in in the  EU / US