Maia (20 Tauri)

Maia is a large camera comprising a grid of film canisters shooting 30 images at a time on 35mm film


Various insects have a compound eye, made up of many independent photoreceptors each oriented to capture a slightly different field of view. The image perceived by the insect is a combination of views of all these receptors. These compounds eyes were the inspiration behind the Maia pinhole camera, an attempt to build a camera taking multiple exposures each with a different field of view. The film canister pinhole camera is one of the cheapest and easiest to make, previously illustrated in the Sirius camera design, and has a very compact format. It is thus a natural building block from which to create a multiple exposure compound camera.

The previous Sirius camera was used with photographic paper but this is relatively low resolution and slow for exposure at around 1-5 ISO and thus there was a desire to use 35mm film instead. A concern leading from this is the practicality of developing the film after exposure. Film development tanks and reels are designed for holding entire strips of negatives and will not easily handle individually cut 35mm frames. The intended solution to this problem was to use a photosensitive medium that can be handled in red light conditions. Fortunately such film exists and is known as Orthochromatic film, or “Ortho” for short. This allows for the individual frames to be tray developed in the darkroom relatively easily. The only complexity would be keeping track of which film was at which physical position in the camera.