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!

No comments:

Post a Comment