Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Life for a Square Shooter

Polaroid made lots of different cameras that used lots of different film formats. There were 2 different types of roll film, 3 types of pack film (peel apart) and 7 different types of integral film. There were also 2 different sheet films for large format cameras. Many of these cameras are still around in closets, attics, and drawers. Many of those make it to auction sites where they are sold (usually) for a fraction of their original price. A while back my father-in-law gave me an old Polaroid Land Camera - Square Shooter. This camera used Type 88 film which went out of production in 2006. So, do I toss the camera? Convert it to a single-shot or a pinhole. Of course not! There is still pack film being produced by Fuji. Unfortunately, it is for 100 series cameras and won't fit in my Square Shooter. But this thing is just made of plastic. Certainly there must be a way to mod the camera so that the Fujifilm FP-100c will fit, right? Right! And it turns out that it is super easy. There is a black plastic holder in the camera that holds the film pack. I wiggled that until it broke free. Toss that. Then there are some ridges or struts that hold the film pack. Those need to be cut, sanded or ground down. I used a rotary tool with a cut-off wheel and in about 90sec. that was done. Now the film fits. Make sure there are fresh batteries in there since the shutter is electronic. Load up the film, close the back, pull the dark slide paper and you are ready to go!! Easy Peasy! One thing to note is that the Type 88 film was iso 75 and the FP-100c is iso 100, so you might want to set the exposure dial on the front of the camera one step toward "Darken" so as not to over expose. Here is an example. Notice that the whole frame is not exposed. Remember, this is a "square" shooter, modified for rectangular film. The mask blocks part of the film so you will end up with black bars on one end of the photo. I like squares, so I am okay with this.

So dig out that old Polaroid Square Shooter or go grab one for cheap and start taking instant photos again. It's super fun!

This one was taken with the exposure compensation dialed down toward "darker".

This one was taken indoors under mostly fluorescent light with the exposure compensation dialed up one step toward "lighter".