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Thread: Polapin suggestions

  1. #1

    Polapin suggestions

    I took the first step today toward making a pinhole Polaroid: I got the replacement camera operating (so I'm now the proud owner of a Polaroid Model 350, with good enough lens and in good enough condition to bother putting film in -- the first 667 print is exceedingly sharp).

    Now, I get to take apart the old 210 that hasn't ever focused correctly while I've owned it and seemingly can't be adjusted. I'm trying to decide between making a pinhole to replace the original lens, and taking off the bellows, lens board, struts, etc. and adding a box to the front to make a wide angle with either a manual shutter or a transplanted leaf shutter (and if the latter, how wide?).

    If I stick with the original position, I could mount an f/360 or so pinhole in the large aperture originally for ISO 75 film, turn the dial all the way to "Darken" and use the auto exposure with 3000 speed, as well as using the original 3000 aperture for very fast, but very fuzzy images (f/48, about, at 114 mm, but hand holdable in any "daylight" conditions) Both would allow using the original viewfinder to compose, potentially even preserving the parallax correction (by manually setting the distance in the finder, even though it no longer affects the actual image focus). Both would also allow use of the M3 bulb flash, and auto exposure with the flash as well (yeah, I know -- auto exposure with a pinhole camera seems just a little strange).

    OTOH, if I make a wider angle, I'll get sharper images (because a smaller and more optimum hole) and more of the traditional "pinhole" feeling in using the camera, but I'll need to either promote a shutter from a junker camera or make one; Type 667 is too fast to manually time exposures in daylight with a pinhole in the f/200 to f/300 range (Sunny 16 for ISO 3000 and f/200 is about 1/8 second), but 669 gives that annoying (to me) blue shift from reciprocity failure and 665 is too expensive to experiment with (though might be attractive once I have the kinks out, mainly for the negative).

    So -- what would YOU do?

  2. #2

    Polapin suggestions

    I feel like both of your stated options seem less than ideal, at least in terms of the cost of burning polaroid film.

    I don't think I would do the f/48 route with auto exposure, unless you had a particular creative need to make "almost-abstract" polaroids - meaning that through the use of extreme softness, you have an interest in exploring what might be considered the fuzzy edge between information and noise. Or the soft dichotomy between light and shadow, on an abstract level.

    I could personally get into that kind of project - but this camera would then be a specialty-use camera, only good for that type of shot.

    OTOH, it would be nice to retain the bellows feature, for use as a possible pinhole turret with variable focal length.

    Perhaps you could explore how to retain the bellows, take out the old lens/shutter, and add a mechanical shutter to the front with pinhole turret.

  3. #3

    Polapin suggestions

    Nice suggestion, Joe. Unfortunately, unlike, say, my Ideal plate camera (which is a fine candidate for that stuff -- I can make interchangeable pinhole lenses for the shutter in which I mount those, and use them at focal lengths from 65 mm to about 270 mm or so, on 9x12 cm film), the Polaroid doesn't have a huge amount of bellows extension and, as built, no means of locking the bellows in place short of the (wrong) infinity focus position for the original 114 mm plastic lens. In practice, with the original bellows, front standard, and focus mechanism, I have a range from about 110 mm to around 125 mm, which isn't enough to require a change of pinhole or produce visibly different FOV.

    While I might be able to improvise a means of holding the standard at shorter distances, I wouldn't see anything but wide to normal, and in any case I'd be duplicating the capability of my plate camera (except doing so with instant film).

    Polaroid film isn't *that* expensive, though -- even Type 665 is only about $1.90 per frame plus shipping from Freestyle, while the Fomapan 100 I use in my plate camera is about $0.58 per frame without processing (and takes a lot of my time to process); current dated Tri-X sheet film, if I can even get it in 9x12 cm, is more than twice that price, or about half the cost of Type 665, while the print-only stocks like 667 and 664 (B&W, 3000 and 400 speed respectively) are only about 50% more, including processing, than name-brand sheet film in a comparable size without processing or a contact print. And in Polaroid, color is about the same price as B&W; I can shoot Type 690 for much less than the cost of buying, processing, and contact printing C-41 4x5 sheet film (though I don't get a negative with 690, the instant results are big plus for pinholing, if you don't mind the color cast or have a filter available to correct it).

    FWIW, the f/48 route wouldn't be locked in; it'd be in what amounts to a turret, interchangeable with a hole of around f/300 in the "75 speed" opening of the stock aperture plate (possibly with a filter or use of the Lighten/Darken control to get normal exposure with the hole two stops too large). That would give me a "normal" view with either option, around 110 mm focal length onto the not-quite 3x4 Polaroid Type 667 print -- but those options would pretty much lock me into the Type 667.

  4. #4

    Polapin suggestions

    Hi Don:

    Do you happen to know by any chance the polarity/color arrangement on the B/W wires on those cameras? I saved an e-shutter & want to use a normal battery & haven't figured out yet how I would determine polarity short of hooking it up to see.

  5. #5

    Polapin suggestions

    The white wire in the Polaroid is the positive, it would go to the red on a standard battery case. So you'd solder white to red, black to black. Do be aware some models used a 4.5V battery (531) while others used a 3.0V (532). My experience is that the 3 volt versions work very well with 2xAA or 2xAAA alkalines (allowing for the "dark print syndrome" that's common with 30-40+ year old electronics); I would expect the 4.5 volt variety to work equally well with 3xAA or 3xAAA.

    There's also a page with instructions on how to open and adjust the shutter on these; depending how much internal adjustment there is, you might be able to get automatic exposure for arbitrary film speeds, even with pinhole, with a combination of the internal, film speed, Scene Selector (if present) and Lighten/Darken controls.

    BTW, the 350 is an *excellent* camera -- no chance of *that* one winding up with a pinhole... Thanks again for that one, check my gallery for a shot made with the close-up lens.

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