Monday, December 08, 2008

Polaroid Pinhole V 1.02

I've made a couple Polaroid pinholes in the past, most recently using a ProPack back. That camera is now defunct, as in no more. The ProPack back is currently attached to a box camera. Well, I kinda missed my pinhole, and I thought it about time to make a "proper" pinhole Polaroid. Something a bit more permanent that doesn't look like crap. I bought an Automatic 102 awhile ago that I've never used because I didn't feel like messing with the batteries. That, and I have 10 other Polaroid cameras to use. The 102 is a folder, as well, and I thought that would make more sense for a Pinhole, as I could adjust the focal length at any time. And it has a tripod mount, which my previous pinholes were lacking. Though this camera doesn't have a "foot" on the front like my 180 and 195, so it leans forward (and down) when you place it on the ground. I'll have to make a small piece to brace it.
So I took the thing apart. Not a lot of pictures of this process, as it was basically messy and just involved removing as many innards as I could, while keeping the parts I needed.

I used the same pinhole I've used for most of my other projects. I just taped it to the underside of the front cover.

With previous pinholes, I've just used a piece of tape on the front as a "shutter". I wanted something a bit nicer for this one. I thought about using the actual camera shutter...most simple cameras just require removing a spring to allow you to slide the shutter open and closed. Not this camera. The shutter is quite complicated, probably because of the "cocking" system. You cock the shutter with one lever and push the button to fire it. It had a lot of little springs and levers inside. So I just took it out. The camera does have an aperture plate, though. I just taped up the holes I didn't want to use (on a side note, this still has the same plate as the 100, because it had multiple aperture sizes, even though this camera only uses two of them...basically 3000 and 75). So now I can just turn the plate to open and closed.

Another issue to deal with was lightleaks. The camera originally had a seal that I destroyed when I pulled it apart.

I had to think about this one for a day or so. I thought about using some kind of sponge, but I couldn't think of any way to guarantee that light wouldn't shine right through it. While browsing though the craft section at the grocery store, I happened upon the perfect clay.

I just made a seal with the clay...

The clay is also oven-bake clay, so I don't have to worry about it melting when I take it out in the summer. Chances are it will just cook and harden.
Next, it was just a matter of putting it back together. You can see I snapped a piece off by accident...I just used superglue to fix it. And, in the end, we have a very nice looking Polaroid pinhole!

The simple shutter system. Black is closed, red is open. And I can just cover the front with my hand while opening and closing to prevent camera shake.

I also removed a spring from the underside, because the bellow would slide shut by itself when not latched open.

So, it looks nice, but is it functional? I did three test shots from my patio, at three different focal lengths, using Fuji FP-100C. These are 15 second exposures.
First, fully extended (that's what she said).

Then halfway. You can see that the angle is much wider.

And then, just for kicks, bellows closed.

Interesting, but not something I'll probably do again. Next, a couple self shots, the first fully extended, the second somewhere in between, all at 10 seconds.

The first shot, I must have let the shutter open a bit while the bellows were closed. I look bald in the second shot. And, there is obviously some point at which the edges of the pinhole become visible on the film. I'll have to figure out where exactly that is. Another issue is with the bellow not being stable. If the camera is level, everything is fine, but if the camera is at an angle, gravity makes it want to close, so the pinhole moves while exposing. Though the effect is pretty cool.

So I want to come up with some simple, not ugly mechanism to brace the camera at certain focal lengths. I'll have to think about that for awhile. One last shot into the sun...

That's it! This is a much easier pinhole to take out in the field. It's more compact and I don't have to worry about the tape peeling off and creating a bunch of leaks. Just a couple small issues to tackle to make it easier to plan my shots, and I will be set!
I almost titled this post "It's not a pinhole, it's a funhole!" But that just sounds wrong (and oh so right).
For those into Polaroid that haven't noticed, Polapremium (previously Unsaleable) has three new Polaroid 100 types. 100 Chocolate, similar to the 80 Chocolate; 100 Blue, which looks like expired ID-UV to me, maybe a bit softer; and 100 Sepia, a nice, sharp, sepia-toned film with an ISO of 1500, oddly enough. Must be either based on an old recipe (there was a sepia Polaroid film a long time ago), or it's a combination of 667 and Chocolate. I've ordered some, of course, though I skipped the 100 Blue for now. I'll post some impressions when I get it. I love the 80 Chocolate, so I imagine the 100 will just be more magic. The shipping is a bit killer, so if you can combine an order with a friend, you'll be able to buy another pack of film.
Anyway, I'm sure I have other things I need to post about in the future, but I'll think about that stuff later...
Oh, and check out Gake no Ue no Ponyo if you get the chance. Very nice Ghibli feature, made me smile.


  1. Anonymous9:52 PM

    I have a secret...

  2. yxsxdx12:24 AM

    Thanks for this post!
    I just gave a new life to a dead 210 as a pinholeroid inspired by this article!

  3. Anonymous2:08 PM

    I just bought a 102 today at the flea market. Do you know where I can get film for it?


  4. im having trouble figuring out how to life the front of the camera off...ive tried prizing it off with a scalpel but no joy. any hints?
    great instructions btw :)