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Thread: Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

  1. #1

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    I was cleaning up some trhings at work, and came across something that I was going to strip for parts, when I had a different idea! I have a Polaroid Freezeframe Video Image Recorder that has a 35mm camera back/thing. It's a focal plane shutter, 35mm camera with no viewfinder, but with a motor drive, and wonderful super accurate plastic film guides.

    It also has some sort of multi element, multi coated close up lens.

    I was going to be working on a 35mm pinhole that attached to the 35mm film back for my Mamiya 645, but this seems like it might be a better device (except for the need for a battery).

    Anyone know how the really works? The user manual has the pinouts for the connector, but I haven't started to play with it yet.

  2. #2

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    I'm not sure I can help you directly, but I have a similar project on the go.
    My film back was from a lasergraphics film writer that was being chucked at work. I nabbed the back and lens, and ditched the rest of it (As it didn't work)
    I opened it up, removed all the un-necessary bits, and proceeded to fiddle and prod things. I now have a 35mm motor wind back that has a bulb shutter. I'm planning to add a pinhole to the front of it and possibly a 555 timer IC to add some shutter speeds other than B.

    It seems like it's a case of "two minds with but a single thought" - I'd be willing to help with a circuit for shutter control, if you want one.

    I was also mulling the idea of adding a light sensor of some kind to give auto exposure - I guess that would beat the old exposure conversion tables!

  3. #3

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    This has kind of slid to long term storage for now. I've got the digital Rollei going, and need to start on my 35mm Mamiya film back pinhole. Plus restoring a first model Rolleiflex. I really want to get the Mamiya back going, then I could use the "lens" section with the 35mm back or the 645 back. I was going to start on that last night, but got side tracked. Maybe tonight while I check out a new to me Gretag Spectrolino/Spectroscan that I'm bringing back from a bad place (you should have seen how they shipped it).

    That said, it is one of the things I think about on the way home from work. Some of my most "brilliant" things come from a long boring drive like that.

  4. #4

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    Sounds like you've got your work cut out!

    Out of interest, which 645 do you have? I have the original M645.
    Are you going down the body cap route, or machining something up nicely?
    I was considering using a body cap, with different combinations of extention tubes for differing fields of view.

  5. #5

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    No, this is the back for the Pro/Super cameras, so I am going to make something to attach to the back. With the older m645 I would still need to extend past where the body cap goes to get the angle of view that I want. The Super and Pro (and 1000s) are my complete system, including (soon) digital.

    Found out that the Spectroscan still needs some repair, and it is really SLOW! I can measure, build, zip, and email a profile with a greater number of patches in less time than this thing takes to measure a single page. The best part of the Spectroscan is the very small patches, so you can either get very small tagets, and very dense pages. I'll either keep it for fade testing papers, or sell it and hopefully get a profit.

  6. #6

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    I said I wasn't going to be working on this for a while, but I guess I was wrong.
    is the connector that is on the camera, pinouts are as follows:
    (1) +5 volts DC
    (2) Film advance
    (3) ground
    (4) end of film
    (5) 35mm camera present
    the other pins are not present

    pin 3 and 5 are connected together

    When you short pin 2 to ground, the shutter opens and stays open until you remove the connection. Not sure what happens when/if it hits the end of film, but it probably connects pin 4 to ground, but other choices would be to connect pin 4 to +5, or open a connection to one or the other. Hard to say and I don't really care what happens, it does have a manual film counter on the body.

    If you rapidly connect and disconnect pin 2 to ground, the camera counts the number of times you do this and "fires" the shutter for each time you do it. However the shutter does not close all the way when you do this, so it is something that you should try to avoid. I need to machine a tripod socket into this camera, and find some metal tubing that will fit in the lens mount. The mount takes a 1 15/16 inch (50mm) outside diameter tube, and uses locking screws to secure it. From the end of the lens mount, it is 54mm to the film plane, so wide angle is out!

    Here is a really crumby picture of a different image recorder that uses the same 35mm film back/thing:

  7. #7

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    Found that a 2 inch ID to 2 inch OD exhaust pipe coupler (for automobiles) fits inside the lens mount flange if you grind a very small amount of material off the edge of the steel pipe. I now have a 138mm to 140mm FL for a 17 degree angle of view.

  8. #8

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    Since this is an electronic camera, I thought an electronic timer would be best, so I just bought a couple of kits to operate the shutter. I chose the first and the last (just to be safe).

    I'll try to get some pictures up tomorrow or the next day, depending on when I get the rest of the parts for the timer box (box, battery holder, switches)

  9. #9

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    Ha! this looks very similar to my unit.
    I took mine to bits and removed the cable (as it was only 3 inches long). I now have much more practical wires soldered to the PCB.
    As with yours, if you short two lines, the camera fires, although i've never jammed it as you report.
    It is now effectively a B mode camera.

    Mine has a 2x16 LCD on top, which displays various info, and a rewind button.

    When I got it, I completely disassembled it, and found at the heart of it, a copal FP shutter, which I originally intended to drive directly from a microcontoller.
    After powering it up, though, I decided to use the existing brains and just add some kind of timer.

    When mine comes to the end of a roll, it displays (I think) "FILM END" on the LCD.
    Then you can hit rewind and the camera does it's stuff in reverse.

    In theory, it should be possible to multiple expose a single frame by shorting a different pin across, as the original film writer unit could produce colour images from it's mono CRT by triple exposing through it's RGB filter wheel.

  10. #10

    Trash to treasure? Polaroid Freezeframe

    Your's must be newer. Mine is exactly like the one in the photo above except it has about a 3 inch cord. I took a female DIN connector and soldered it to a long cable last Friday. I'll probably pick up a project box and battery holder after work tomorrow. My big fear is that the control box will look like a timer for a bomb. Not much I can do about that, but it will have a nice range of shutter speeds. I hope Qkits ships quickly.

    On mine, there is plenty of room under the shutter box for a 1/4-20 T nut, so I'll need to pick up a couple of those too. Then I just need to solder a plate over the exhaust pipe and paint the insides black, and wait for some pinholes to arrive.

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