Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hot on the heels...the Banner Instax!

Didn't take long for me to start messing around again. This project was much easier, as the Banner is all plastic and similar to the Diana+.
The Banner is a really cheap Diana clone. You think the Diana is cheap? Well, the Banner is designed like someone cast a bad mold of the Diana and tried to make all the pieces fit...and they do. Poorly. It has a super blurry lens and the back barely fits on the camera. In other words, it rocks.

Here are a couple images taken with 120 film in the Banner.

So, I wanted to take a Banner and stick an Instax back on it, like I did with the Fujipet. I figured the lens on the Banner was interesting enough that it might make some sweet shots. The Fujipet took me an afternoon to build. I think I spend maybe an hour and a half on this.
First up was figuring out what's different between the Diana+ and Banner. They are both based on the Diana camera, but the Diana+ has some very obvious differences, like the longer barrel.
The Banner back doesn't fit on the Diana+...

...and the Diana+ back doesn't fit on the Banner, partly because the tripod mount is in the way.

Which means the Instax back doesn't fit on the Banner.

So the goal is to make it fit, only modifying the Banner and not the Instax back.
First to come off are the spool holders. You would need to remove these on the Diana+, as well.

Then I needed to enlarge the exposure area, so I get a full frame on the Instax film. I used a saw and an Exacto knife.

I also had an issue with the lock on the bottom not quite lining up, so I removed a small piece that was blocking it. With luck, I could slide it together and be able to use the lock. I also cut off a small area on one side of the camera that was too thick to fit past the Instax back parts.

Those were the only modifications! I also needed to put the diopter in the camera to fix the focal length. I removed the lens from the mount and used white glue to secure it (this worked with the Fujipet, so why make things difficult).

Now to put it all together!

The fit was a bit tight, but I was able to slide them together and use the lock. The only issue I had can be seen along the bottom on the camera.

The banner back is about 1/8th of an inch shorter than the Diana+ Instax back. No real way to fix this, so I figured if it leaked, I would just have to tape it up. Let's take this baby outside for a couple test shots!

It works! But there is definitely some leakage along the bottom edge. I just threw on a piece of black electrical tape and then took it out with me while walking the dog. The shutter on the Banner is pretty slow, so it performed better in the shade. May make a small ND filter for it at some point. Anyway, a few more test shots!

Nice! I like the output better than the Fujipet Instax. Has the blur along the edges, a bit more toy camera-ish. Will definitely take this camera out with me on my next road trip.
No idea what I'm going to do next. I have a 110 that I want to convert to pack film, but I kind of want to use my Type 47 in it before I take it apart.
So, until whenever, keep shooting!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Fujipet Instax Conversion: Dreams and Nightmares

I had thought about doing this for awhile, since I saw the Lomography Diana+ Instax back. I have a Diana+ that I rarely use, but that just seemed *boring*. The Fujipet is classy and I figured, hey, why not? Encouraged by Skorj who attached an Instax back to a Polaroid J33 (who was encourage by my J33 conversion), I moved ahead with the project. And, seriously, what a pain my my butt. In retrospect, the final product should have ben much easier to put together, but in the beginning I had big ideas and little planning. So this is much messier than it looks. I may do this again at some point with another back (FYI...much cheaper to buy from Amazon with free shipping). As it stands, the current version has some issues with leaks.
Ooo-kay. So we start with a fresh Fujipet camera and a fresh Instax back. And, yes, I am about to shred that poor little Fujipet into bits. Not for the faint of heart!

My original plan was to attach the Instax to the Fujipet back. The Diana+ is a different shape so it doesn't readily fit onto the Fujipet.

There were some problems with this right off the bat. The Fujipet back is taller than the Diana+ back. The cameras are pretty similar in size, but because of the way the screw on the bottom of the Fujipet works, it needs extra space to store the parts. Because of this, the rounded part on the Instax doesn't have a place to go so it doesn't line up properly. If the Fujipet was plastic it wouldn't be an issue...just carve it up. But it's all metal, which is difficult to manipulate with the tools I have.

But I wanted to make this work. I had the bright idea of cutting away part of the plastic on the Instax...but the gears that eject the film are right there (which I discovered after cutting the plastic). And there was the issue of cutting a hole in the metal back so the film would expose. This was basically impossible to do with my tools. I also had to remove some parts from the Fujipet, like the spool holders. Anyway, I'll just let some pictures tell my tale of whoa trying to fix the Fujipet back.

That last shot reminds me of the scene from Alien when the creature bursts out of Hurt's stomach.

Okay, so in the end that was a complete waste of time. It still didn't fit together properly and there was no way to attach the two parts. I still like the idea and if I do this again, I'll have someone (that has tools and skills) cut the opening the same size as on the Diana+ back, and shave out an area for the rounded part on the Instax. Then I can just screw them together using the screw holes on the Instax. But that's for another day.
So, yeah, that was a waste of time and gave me a couple blisters. But I didn't really start making a mess of things until I started tearing apart the Instax back. This was seriously unnecessary, but I didn't figure that out until I was done screwing it all up. My idea was just to use the Diana+ backing on the Fujipet. Not sure why I just didn't try it before I cut it up. But I had the bright idea to combine the Diana+ back with the sides of the Fujipet back. I did have to cut off the bottom of the Fujipet to correct the height difference. That part wasn't a mistake. Anyway, some more shots. Not as many, though, because I was too busy being annoyed to take more photos.

Yeah, that doesn't work. So what I did was glue and tape the Instax back together again. I would just attach it directly to the Fujipet.

You can see it doesn't quite fit, but it's doable. And I have zero shots of all of this. I was just too busy working on it to bother, I guess. But it just took some Superglue and black tape to get it attached. The final product!

Looks pretty sweet! The Diana+ back has little feet that pop out so the camera can stand on its own. I broke these and had to glue them back in place. One more thing to do, as well. There is a diopter that adjusts the focal length (and ISO mysteriously, even though it is clear plastic).

I just removed it from the plastic mount and glued it inside the Fujipet. I figured this would be the most likely issue. The focal length on the Fujipet and Diana+ is different.
Okay, no test shots, right? Yeah. Well, I took it to California with me, figured, hey, it will work or it won't. This is what I got.

Them's some pretty mighty leaks. Okay, so I thought I checked for leaks, but obviously missed something major. Those feet I broke and glued back together? When I got home I found those to be the culprits. Black tape and no more leaks, I hoped. Looks to be in focus under the leaks, though!
Let's do a test shot after the fix! Boring shot out back.

Yipes! Well, that worked a million times better than expected. To be honest, I was correct in my thinking that the camera would look cooler than the output. The Fujipet lens isn't particular crazy, and there isn't really any warp in the middle. So what I get is a pretty darn good photo! Focus and exposure is perfect!
Okay, so I've only used the camera once since then, and only took a couple shots before it started leaking again.

There is a bit of warp, but my guess is it's from the diopter, as the Fujipet doesn't really have much warp in the middle of the lens. Also, aperture is very important. Two shots, first at 16 (all the way open), second at 22 (smallest setting).

So, it's a pretty nifty camera when it works. It's a mess because I made it a mess. Looking back, I should have just taken the Instax back as is, cut off the bottom of the Fujipet, and attached the two. I like the idea of integrating the Fujipet back, but we'll see how that works if I do this again. I also need to figure out how to best put it to use. It takes shots pretty much like an Instax camera. The film is kind of snapshoty. Not sure yet how to make it work for me.
I have another Instax back. Before I go tearing apart another Fujipet, I'm going to try it with something else...a Banner camera. The Banner is the crappiest Diana clone you can get. Super bad lens, super cheap build. Maybe the perfect match for the Instax! Something a bit wonkier but still manageable. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it someday.
Also looking to get a Print Gocco set. More stuff to play with! I'm also working on BSN classes, so busy times ahead. And I need a nap. Until whenever, seeya!