The Lego Retro Camera is a dream for old-school SLR fans

Lego Retro Camera in the hands of young child
(Image credit: Lego)

OMG, I actually want this. Lego has only gone and created what looks like the perfect gift for camera and Lego lovers like me; the Retro Camera creator set. 

I grew up playing with Lego, and 30 years later my own kids play with those original pieces, plus their own new sets added to the mix. And now, as TechRadar’s Cameras editor and a long-time photographer, I’ve found the new Lego set I really want for myself, a SLR build kit. 

What’s even better is that the Retro Camera is part of the low-cost 3-in-1 Creator set series, whereby the pieces included can be used in any one of three builds, in this case a SLR camera, video camera or TV, all for just $20 / £17.99 on the Lego website

That would make it a perfect candidate for a secret Santa gift or stocking filler, but sadly the product is listed as not being available until 1 January 2024.

I’m definitely going to buy this set, and once it arrives I’ll be starting with the SLR, which has some super-neat features that have put a smile on my face already, such as a moving lens and ‘working’ film wind handle, plus a hotshoe. 

You also get a camera strap, two film canisters and the film door on the back opens to slot one of them in. There’s film exposures with shots like giraffe and butterfly on them included, too. It’s an impressive number of details included in what is a low-cost and basic Lego set.

Once that build is done and I feel like a change, the SLR camera can be taken apart and the pieces used to make either the video camera with pull-out film door, or an analog-style TV set.

The Retro Camera is not the first photography-themed set that Lego has made – earlier this year there was a partnership with Disney to celebrate the entertainment giant’s 100-year anniversary with a Walt Disney Tribute Camera (set no. 43240) – but it’s the most accessible.

There’s no pre-order for the Lego Retro Camera (set no. 31147), which contains 261 pieces and is recommended for those eight years and older, but you can put a reminder in the diary for January 1, 2024, which is noted on Lego’s website as the SSD. Bring on the new year! (And sorry kids, this one's just for daddy.)

If you love Lego but cameras aren't really your thing, there's plenty of great Cyber Monday lego deals still available. We've also put together plenty of Christmas gift ideas, plus guides to the best Christmas sales in the US and Boxing Day sales in the UK.

You might also like

Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.