View Full Version : Vivitar Slide Printer question

07-04-2006, 12:28 PM
I just came into a Vivitar Slide Printer (essentially a dedicated copy camera molded onto a Polaroid 405 film carrier -- uses 3x4 pack film, like 669, 690, 664, etc.) -- thanks, Bill! -- and have a couple operating questions. I'm sure these will be answered in the manual, but a) Polaroid won't even be in to ask for a manual until tomorrow, and b) I'm not at all certain they'll still have a manual for a unit that was discontinued something like ten years ago.

In testing (without Polaroid film -- I have only 667 on hand, and it's more than a little too fast for this unit), I see that the unit won't fire its shutter and flash unless there's something about the thickness of a slide mount inserted along with the film carrier, which suggests there may be focus issues with using unmounted film even after I make a shim to trick the sensor and let the printer fire. So -- does the slide in fact go on top of the carrier, or inside it? Either way, it appears to me either the slide or unmounted film would be significantly out of focus, since there's half the thickness of the slide mount as a minimum change in film position between mounted and unmounted. I suppose it's conceivable, with a flash behind the slide, that the aperture could be small enough to keep both positions within DOF (it's a small print, after all), but I wouldn't think that very likely given that the image on the Polaroid is close to three times the size of the slide.

Also, is the printer supposed to insist on a slide mount (equivalent) being present, or is the thickness sensor a little out of kilter (i.e., should I be able to fire it with just the film carrier)? And does it require the carrier when using a slide, or should it fire without the carrier when using a mounted slide (without the carrier would alleviate some of the focus shift concerns, by letting the slide mount sit lower in the printer slot)?

If no one knows, and assuming Polaroid still has the manual, I'll post back with the answers I get from that side...

07-04-2006, 06:53 PM
Man, I want one of those.

07-04-2006, 11:19 PM
Buggy, if I find it doesn't work well with the B&W slides I've been making from Tri-X, you might well get this one. :) Polaroid is too expensive for me to just play with, and I don't shoot color slides -- originally, I wanted this thinking the Polaroid part was a removable 405 back equivalent, but I now see it's permanently molded as part of the internal camera chamber; I could probably hack it, but there'd be questions of film position for correct focus and it'd be a one-way conversion.

I'll still get a pack of 664 and see how it does with my slides -- if that doesn't fly, I probably won't be willing to spend more on film and it'll go on down the line. A Daylab with multiple film format capability would be a lot more useful to me *as a printer*, but those are still pretty spendy...

07-05-2006, 04:53 AM
I had problems with mine at first (wouldn't fire) and not sure how I figured it out but I wound up unmounting the slides and sandwiched the film between the two peices of the film carrier. I never thought to test the focus once I got it to work since I'm using it for image transfers.

Mine will (now) fire with just the plastic, glass mounted, cardboard slides inserted into the slot or with the two part film carrier with the tabs facing up or down (manual says they should point down).

I have the manual and I can make a copy if you'd like.

Oh btw, the manual says the best film to use is Type 669 or 665 for b&w prints and negatives.

07-06-2006, 05:14 PM
Unfortunately, 665 is gone, and 690 didn't yet exist when that manual was printed, I'm guessing. I'd expect anything close enough to ISO 80 should work. Which reminds me, I've missed Polaroid for another day, most likely... :P Anyway, I fiddled with mine, there's a little switch on the right side of the slide carrier and at least on this one, it doesn't acutate from the two-piece film carrier (which only inserts one with, it's got an extension on the right side that fits a slot that isn't present on the left). I can reach in with a toothpick and depress the switch, and the flash/shutter will fire, but there's no way the carrier would even insert with a slide between the plates (too thick for that slot on the right side), and a millimeter or more difference in film position between a slide mount and the film carrier. I wonder if the film carrier triggers a change in focus, but if so, I then wonder what's supposed to operate the switch in that case?

Oh, well, I just have to try to remember to call Polaroid during the day. If they don't have the manual any more, I'd welcome either a clean copy or a set of scans (or, if you'd be willing, I'd be happy to scan yours and mail it back when done).

Tom Persinger
07-06-2006, 07:45 PM
this may be obvious, but i assume you checked the polaroid site?

i didn't see it, but i'm not sure what i'm looking for...

07-07-2006, 02:29 AM
Sorry I couldn't help out more. When I got mine I got all excited about using it until I went to price out the film ... :o

I've sent a scanned copy of the manual to your email address.

07-08-2006, 07:38 PM
Thanks, Paxette. Tom, Polaroid only has a very few manuals up online, and that doesn't include a slide printer that's been discontinued for several years. I got what I need from Paxette.

BTW, the film isn't all that bad if you buy mail-order, and that goes double if you buy the Fuji brand -- Fuji FP100-C in 3x4 size is about 1/3 less than the best price I've seen for 669 or 690, and is effectively identical to 690. I suspect the Fuji films in this class that I see in this country are gray market, but if it means I can afford to use Polaroid stuff, I have to consider it. Mind you, I've never bought Fuji film for a Polaroid yet, but I keep thinking about it...