Monday, June 08, 2009

J33...the loneliest conversion in the world!

Moving on from the J66, I decided I wanted to convert the previously mentioned J33, a smaller version of the J66 designed to use Type 37 (and 32) film. Type 30 films are smaller than Type 40s (which have an image size similar to 100), but the same size as Type 20s (used by the Swinger family). I haven't held Type 20 or Type 30 in my hands, so I'm not sure how the two rolls differ. So the J33 uses film that has been discontinued forever, basically. There were quite a bit fewer J33s produced than other roll film camera, only about 280,000 over three years according to Land List. But there are still plenty of them available. So what am I planning on doing with the J33 again? Oh yeah, converting it to pack film.
But...didn't I say the film size is smaller than 100 pack film? Yep. So the camera is smaller, and the resulting image is smaller. So, is this possible? That's what I wanted to find out!
Okay, so we start with the J33, unscathed.

Certainly a pretty camera. Many of the steps are exactly the same, and this camera was actually a bit easier to convert. First remove those pesky doors.

Here you see the difference in size between the camera and a 100 film pack back. The idea is to make that big thing work on that small camera.

Then that pesky spool holder. Note that there are no screws, only rivets. So just a bit of brute force needed. You want to keep those two silver rivets in place, as they secure the front clasp.

This has the same plate that the film slides across and also holds the bellows in place. I wanted to be able to leave this in place, but it has two raised edges, and the back needed to be as flush as possible because of the way the two pieces fit together. So I ended up ripping it off, and regluing the bellows in place.

The spool holder on the right side can stay, as it will add needed support for the pack back. Here, check out the image size difference between the camera and back, and how the back will sit on the camera.

No need to cut the top, as the back sets against it perfectly. But we do have all that extra open space on the back to take care of. I used a couple 600 reject cards and cut them into a mask. Black tape to secure everything.

And, quite honestly, that's about it! All that's left is to fix the back onto the camera and clean up the end. I used some foam tape to level out some on the indented areas, and then just epoxied the back on! I did cut the end piece as well, which was the most painful part of the entire process. Not sure how this metal differs from the other roll film camera, but it was stupid hard metal. The saw wouldn't cut through it! It just kind of rubbed its way through. I didn't even have much dust left at the end. Was a real pain in the butt. So we have the finished camera already! Much easier process.

Notice the small piece of leatherette from another camera on the front bottom of the back to pretty it up. Nifty looking! But, the big does it work?
The J33 was designed to use Type 37, which is 3000 speed film, with an adapter (that I don't have) for color film. So I used Fuji FP-3000B for my test shots. I only had a couple left in a pack, so not many examples, but enough to see what the camera does. First shot, you can see the difference in image size.

Kind of like a Hassie shot! But not. Or looking at a dog through an airplane window. Okay, so I expected the image size to be smaller, but I didn't expect the bottom to be cut off. This is because the back doesn't sit quite high enough on the camera to allow for the additional white border. So if I did this conversion again (or if I decide to pop this apart and rework it), I would cut out about 1/4 of and inch from the plastic camera cap to bring the back up a bit, allowing for the full image to present itself on the film.
Moving on, cropping it actually produced a kind of cool image size!

Nice! I actually quite like this! Again, be nice if the entire image fit on the film, but still pretty cool! And the same shots, goop side, along with another test shot.

The end! Again, I actually like this camera quite a bit! I like the interesting shape of the final image, and the camera is easy to hold and use...quite a bit smaller than the Type 40 roll cameras!
This will probably be my last conversion for awhile. Can't really think of any other cameras that I'm super eager to try. I've already done the odd choices, the rest would probably be more of "less interesting". We shall see, though. Really would like to get the full image on this camera, though. And get the color adapter. Will have some fun using this one! Should get some looks, at least.

Okay, so I didn't much care for the image being cut off, so I took the conversion apart and reworked it. SA?ELfJC E GF/Lhes?gK RDEPzbnjZGHE (sorry, that's how I feel like I'm typing right now...I keep backspacing every other letter to fix something). Anyway, so I know I would have to take the top off and keep it off, as cutting it would be very difficult. There is glass and metal in the finder...would have just been a pain. So I took it off, readjusted the back and set off.

I used a J66 finder since I couldn't put the J33 finder back on. Looks okay, problem though. I fixed the up and down, but not the left and right. It's still cutting the image on the side and I can't push the back any more to one side. So, I had to do what I didn't want to...cut the end off the camera. Mostly because -- hardest metal to hack through ever! Seriously, not sure why these are different than the other roll film cameras, but the saw would not cut through the long way. It just kind of rubbed through from friction. Huge pain in my butt. Did it though, and unfortunately had to cut more off than really desired just because it would have been impossible to saw on the curved part of the body.
Redid my mask for the back and used a piece of Fuji film pack for bracing so the pack back would have some more support.

And the final product! Surely a bit uglier, but 100% more functional.

And the results! I like! With Type 667.

And you can crop, of course...

Some leaks to contend with, though I kind of like them. But chances are they will get worse before I got through another pack. Now all I need is the color adapter set and I will be...set!


  1. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Hello Sir!

    Sendt You a mail some time ago about sending You a Colorpack 88 for free, I used the adress in your profile. Are You interested?


  2. sorry! i must have missed it... i actually have more type 80 cameras than i could ever use, but thanks anyway! i'm sure that there are plenty who would take it in an instant, though!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. What type of film do you use for this type of camera?

  5. The original used type 30 or 40. The conversion used pack film.