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c.a. church
07-25-2005, 03:51 PM
So, I found a polaroid spirit (type 600, basic, no flash, no shutter speeds, etc.) at a local resale shop for $3, and figuring it worth the investment, went ahead and picked it up. I'm hoping to modify it for pinhole by doing the following:

a) disassemble it
b) remove the shutter
c) create a 'tube' to mount the pinhole on - both to decrease the angle of the shot, and to avoid getting the bulky body in the shot.

Has anyone tried modifying a camera like this, or similar? I'm having two logical problems that I want to get worked out before I break (literally) open this camera:

1: there is a mirror that reflects the image down to the film (type 600 pack film) - will this affect it, i.e., will it no longer be a 'pinhole' image? And, should I measure only from the pinhole to the mirror for focal length, or from the pinhole to the mirror, and then from the mirror to the film plane?

2: while there appears to be no ability to control shutter speed, it does have a 'light/dark/neutral' setting that adjusts a screen over a little window to the side of the shutter, just below the view piece... Anyone know how this works? I'm not sure if this is just a sensor that controls the aperture/speed of shutter, or if this [don't ask me why I'm thinking this] actually lets in extra light?

As an aside, I got to playing the with bad exposures I made playing with the camera, and although the literature says you can't do emulsion lifts with type 600 film, I found a way to get at least one layer (blue/purple?) lifted and it's not so hard to create the 'transparencies' from the positive image layer - I haven't found text about either of these processes on line, and I'd be willing to share what I've learned if anyone is interested (and willing to accept my poor explanation =)

!c

Tom Persinger
07-25-2005, 04:11 PM
does this help?
http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1117465467

c.a. church
07-25-2005, 04:25 PM
does this help?
http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1117465467


Yeah, and I see now I should spend more time with the search function =)

I think answers pretty much everything I need to know. Guess I'll crack it open tonight - I'm definitely going to remove that lens/shutter though. 1 second seems awfully short.

!c

Tom Persinger
07-25-2005, 06:28 PM
keep us posted on how the tranformation goes!
good luck-
tp

c.a. church
07-26-2005, 12:38 AM
Well, I stopped on the way home and got the last few things I needed, and broke into the camera =)

(sorry, but I didn't take photographs)

I popped off the name plate around the lens, and the lens comes out easily by popping two clips back with your fingers. I didn't want to damage it much, so I tried cutting the shutter out with an x-acto knife. Mounted on the name plate over where the lens would be. This left too much material left in the way of the pinhole (see first image below) - and the picture came out poorly. So, I tried to cut out more of the shutter, and in the process messed it with enough to bend the actuator bar (?) that led from the motor to the lens, and it kept firing over and over again.

After a while trying to get it back into place, I broke it =(

I almost threw it away at that point, as it would attempt to just spit out film whenever a pack was attached (I used an empty pack to test it's ability to feed the film). But, at the last minute I sat back down with a multimeter and some lead wires, gutted everything that was unnecessary and figured out what drove the pack to push the film instead.

You can basically rip everything out of the top section of the body, without doing any real damage. There are four pins (contacts) to the bottom left of the body, near the switch (which you should remove), you can take the top half of the contacts off and remove them -there's a lead wire that's attached to them that you want. Feed it to a switch between the first two bars (so that with the switch in the on position will create a connection between it and the first two bars) - I chose a soft-press, normally off one for this. [I'm still not sure why I have all of this stuff, until these random occasions pop up =]

Soldered the switch on, then tried with the lens holder (that 'cupped' the pinhole a bit) - but as the 2nd image shows, it still didn't look so nice. So, I opened it up again, and took out the lens holder, leaving nothing but a hole back where the lens holder led to. The third picture shows with the lens holder removed.

You just press the button after you've exposed it (using tape over the pinhole, whatnot) long enough for it to spit the print out.

!c Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/finished_4247.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/finished_4247.jpg) http://f295.f295.org/uploads/1sttest_2160.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/1sttest_2160.jpg)

c.a. church
07-26-2005, 12:43 AM
2nd image (with lens holder - no lens) - ~ F/242 @ 45 seconds under flourescent lights

and 3rd image (no lens holder) - approx. same as above

Also, I forgot to mention above, the focal length is almost 3.25", so I used the pinhole size of 3.15" in the chart in "pinhole photography" to get the value .013" for the pinhole. Used a needle in a pin-vice, measuring the hole with a ruler and a loup 'til it looked to be right about 0.01" =) Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/2ndtest_7687.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/2ndtest_7687.jpg) http://f295.f295.org/uploads/finaltest_1815.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/finaltest_1815.jpg)

ImageMaker
07-26-2005, 01:50 PM
The camera spitting out a frame when you load the pack is normal -- those cameras expect to be loaded and left loaded until the film is used, so they eject the dark cover on loading and if you unload and reload a partial pack, they'll try to eject a dark cover that isn't there -- thus spitting out the exposed/ruined top print, if you didn't keep the film in darkness while working.

The ejection process is timed such that holding the switch too long will start to eject the next frame, which could be bad if it moves far enough to rupture the chemical pod -- but that would be a pretty big overshoot. If the original electronics are left intact, they'll time this perfectly every time (as long as the battery in the film pack is good). Also, with the electronics gutted, you'll have to manually eject the dark cover every time you load a new pack. Not a big deal, but (to me) looks like doing it the hard way. OTOH, I haven't even gotten one of these to convert...

Sure seems like you still have some vignetting from something in the lens area -- did you leave an aperture stop in place from the original lens, perhaps? Has to be something inside the camera, given your pinhole on the front as shown above. It might be sufficient to cut the pinhole material to a size that can be attached down inside the original lens tube; if the hole is against the aperture stop, it won't vignette and you'll get the original field of view that matches what you see in the viewfinder (which is a nice touch for a pinhole camera).

Once you have that figured (or decide you like the round picture), you'll most likely find that you can load either Time-Zero or 600 film packs. The 600 packs are slightly cheaper, but can't be manipulated the way Time-Zero can (though there have been some recent runs of Time-Zero that don't manipulate properly; Polaroid is working on correcting this). 600 film is also two stops faster than Time-Zero, about, so it would require 1/4 the exposure time. Could be handy if you like to shoot in other than bright sun (I'm guess the Venus Flytraps above weren't shot outdoors).

c.a. church
07-26-2005, 02:12 PM
The camera spitting out a frame when you load the pack is normal -- those cameras expect to be loaded and left loaded until the film is used, so they eject the dark cover on loading and if you unload and reload a partial pack, they'll try to eject a dark cover that isn't there -- thus spitting out the exposed/ruined top print, if you didn't keep the film in darkness while working.

Well, I understand that - the problem was that there is a mechanical bar, made of plastic, that locks into place with a bar from the shutter mechanism - when you hit the switch, it disengages the bars, causing the first bar to press down on the contacts (and the 2nd bar to engage its spring and open the shutter) - if either of these bars are bent, or damaged, as happened when I started mucking with stuff, the bar won't stay up and will continuously press down on the contacts, causing it to keep "firing shots". I.e. - it was trying to spit out an image every second or so. Any attempt to remove the shutter machanism will mess up this arrangement, hence why I removed it all together and added my own switch. (It's worth mentioning that I was able to keep the exposure counter working - as it's a seperate, but connected, mechanism.)


The ejection process is timed such that holding the switch too long will start to eject the next frame, which could be bad if it moves far enough to rupture the chemical pod -- but that would be a pretty big overshoot. If the original electronics are left intact, they'll time this perfectly every time (as long as the battery in the film pack is good).

Haven't had a problem yet (8 frames run through with the button) - there is a lag where the mechanism is switching over, and you just let go of the button during that lag - it's long enough that you don't have to time it any where near perfect. You can even stop it just a bit early, with no ill effects.


Sure seems like you still have some vignetting from something in the lens area -- did you leave an aperture stop in place from the original lens, perhaps? Has to be something inside the camera, given your pinhole on the front as shown above. It might be sufficient to cut the pinhole material to a size that can be attached down inside the original lens tube; if the hole is against the aperture stop, it won't vignette and you'll get the original field of view that matches what you see in the viewfinder (which is a nice touch for a pinhole camera).

Yeah, there's an 'inner body', behind the shutter workings and old lens - I removed the lens housing, but didn't cut out the inner body - there's enough of a gap from the opening of the lens tube/inner body and the outer body (1/2") that I think I'd have to cut out part of the face to avoid it cropping the image, or mount an extension on it. I figured that I'd get another one, and just cut out the inner body, fully exposing the mirror. The viewfinder, unfortunately, had to go as I broke it's extension body gutting it, and it became a major contender for light-leak.[/quote]


The 600 packs are slightly cheaper, but can't be manipulated the way Time-Zero can (though there have been some recent runs of Time-Zero that don't manipulate properly; Polaroid is working on correcting this). 600 film is also two stops faster than Time-Zero, about, so it would require 1/4 the exposure time. Could be handy if you like to shoot in other than bright sun (I'm guess the Venus Flytraps above weren't shot outdoors).

I have been able to do a little manipulations with 600 film, you can easily get the blue/magenta emulsion out of the color film and mount it on water-color paper (I can scan one and show it to you) - although, admittedly, it's not nearly as nice as the other films. Also, it's not terribly hard to make transparencies out of the 600 images, which can easily be mounted on metal, or whathaveyou for a neater look. I haven't tried with the b&w 600 yet, but I think it could be useful, too. The trick with 600 film seems to be to boil it for about 10 minutes, then work quickly in cool water to seperate the useful layers from the useless ones.

!c

ImageMaker
07-27-2005, 11:28 AM
Ah, that's a different kind of manipulation from what I'm used to reading about with Time-Zero. The ones I know of (that aren't working well with some runs of the recently modified film) are where a stylus is used to push the dyes around as and shortly after the image comes up, giving a "painting" sort of effect, with strokes and blending visible. I hadn't even been aware that Polaroid integral films were amenable to emulsion transfer, and never heard of any Polaroid yielding a transparency (other than one of the roll films from the early 1960s that gave a B&W positive transparency, for overhead projection, instead of a print or print and negative).

Now I'm going to have to get some fresh film for my SX-70 Model 1 (or see if the battery is completely dead yet in the pack I've had with the camera for the past 4-5 years -- expired 2000, IIRC). And then I might have to find the instructions for hacking the camera to use the slightly cheaper, faster, 600 film (which also has better color rendition, I've read). However, I'll probably just buy a cheap camera for pinholing. There's a Spectra model of some sort at a local thrift store for six bucks...

c.a. church
07-31-2005, 04:58 PM
I got rid of the vignetting by cutting out some of the inner body - this time I had to remove what remained of the wiring, but the two leads from the battery are easy to find (one at the bottom left, and one at the rop right, attached to a clear piece of plastic). I just wired those directly to the motor, and let's just say the camera is a LOT lighter than it started out =) It's easy to wire it backwards, and dislodge the develop mechanism that pushes the film out - so I attached an image showing which wires should go to where on the motor. I'll post some images I took with it over in the polaroid image area.

I really liked the circular vignetting though, so the next one I see for sale, I'm going to grab one and leave it with the vignette.

!c Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/wired_8369.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/wired_8369.jpg)

dwalters
08-02-2005, 02:26 PM
I gotta say, you seemed to have solved the problem of the "~1 second shutter" completely. I'm going to have to go back into my 600 BE and see if I can install a switch onto mine to do the same. This would enable the camera to use either the 600 or the Time Zero films. It is apparent that the 600 camera-in it's un-modified form-is almost useless for Time Zero film (see below). This is a incandescent 60 watt bulb taken with Time Zero 150 ASA film, ~1 second shutter speed at about 1" away with a Polaroid 600 pinhole camera, then the image was "manipulated" with a burnishing tool to get the desired effect. *AAR, it's back to the drawing board for me and my cameras.
David Walters
S. FL, USA Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/174b_8744.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/174b_8744.jpg)

ImageMaker
08-02-2005, 08:48 PM
That's seriously cool, David. Of course, the bulb is dark because the camera exposed to make the whole scene average on the 600 film -- but in this case, with the manipulation, I had to look a couple times to see it as anything but some kind of red animal eye, and I was trying to figure out what animal even as I was reading your post. :)

murrayatuptowngallery
08-09-2005, 12:39 PM
Anyone know if the mirrors in foldaroids are 'first surface' or 'front surface' mirrors?

If so, there's a cheap source of them for my project.

Thanks

Murray

ImageMaker
08-09-2005, 12:58 PM
Yes, Murray, the image redirecting mirrors are first surface. If you take apart one of the SLR Polaroids, you'll get TWO first surface mirrors, one the size of the film gate with a first surface Fresnel focusing mirror on the other side (this one covers the film in focusing mode, and the Fresnel surface acts as the ground glass with split-image etc.). The non-folding cameras have just a single trapezoidal first surface mirror, similar to that in a TLR only larger.

If you can get the cameras at yard sale prices -- a dollar or two each -- they're a great source of first surface mirrors. Also, the old Kodak instant cameras (for which there hasn't been film in about 25 years due to the Polaroid lawsuit) that look like a fat book with a bulge in the back have a pair of first surface mirrors in the bulge -- the Kodak film was exposed through the back, so the folding Kodak instants don't have mirrors, but the solid body ones have two. I rather miss these cameras -- had one of the hand cranked ones just before the film disappeared; the colors were better than anything I've gotten from the integral Polaroids.

murrayatuptowngallery
08-10-2005, 10:05 AM
OK, so there's a use for the Kodak Pleaser II, although it appears to be astraight shot from the lens/shutter to the back on that one.

I took apart some instant camera & got a mirror, but that was so many victims ago, I don't remember what model or brand it was.

Murray

ImageMaker
08-10-2005, 02:43 PM
Nope, the Pleaser (if it's like a biggish box camera or plastic-body, non-folding Polaroid in layout) is useless unless you like the plastic lens or can find a way to adapt it for the Fuji film that uses the same technology (without, somehow, offending Polaroid). The Fuji integral is tiny, though, and spottily available in this country, if at all.

Sorry, I'd forgotten about the sheer bottom-end non-folding, mirror-free Pleaser. That one was even zone focus instead of using the shrinking ring stadimeter rangefinder, wasn't it?