jacquesm 7 months ago

That's a very neat project. If you ever need to mate something light sealed consider using a clay mold (using a thin plastic bag so you don't foul up your positive, in this case the camera), sculpt to your liking after the first imprint and then fill with resin for a very nice result.

There is also rubber that you can cast. Be careful, most of these resins/hardener compounds are highly exo-thermic while they cure, make sure you keep things cool or spontaneous combustion or deformation are possible.

  • neuralzen 7 months ago

    Why not just make the seal ribbed, with complimentary ribbing on the other side? ~~~

Animats 7 months ago

That film is still made? Wow. That's descended from Kodak's instant camera film. Kodak was found to be infringing Polaroid's patents and was given 30 days to exit the instant photo business. They even had to buy back all the cameras. But Fuji and Polaroid cut a deal for the Japanese market, and when the patents expired Fuji could go worldwide.

  • Finnucane 7 months ago

    In fact, the Instax line has been quite profitable for Fuji--it's very popular with kids and hipsters. But, as noted above, all the peel-apart films are gone now. You might find some old stock at high prices, but it's not being made any more.

    • TomMasz 7 months ago

      I'm shooting my last pack of FP-100c in my Mamiya RB-67 at the moment. I emailed the Polaroid Originals crew about reviving pack film but they said this:

      Thank you for contacting Polaroid Originals. Unfortunately, that film is no longer in production. Polaroid ceased production of this film type years ago, and we are unable produce new film packs as we do not have the production machinery.

      • Finnucane 7 months ago

        I sold my Polaroid 405 backs when Fuji made their cuts, figuring it would be the last chance to get any money for them. Not surprising that new Polaroid can't do it, unless they want to buy Fuji's production line. (tangentially, I had an RB-67 for a while too. They're great, but I ended up trading it for a Hasselblad, because it's half the size)

  • jacobush 7 months ago

    And I feel I must report that Polaroid is resurrected and make color, black and white in both SX-70 and 600 formats, as well as sell new (with builtin rechargeable batteries, charges with USB) cameras.

    • tecleandor 7 months ago

      Not exactly resurrected. It's The Impossible Company, who were making compatible cartridges for Polaroid cameras, that has bought the Polaroid brand and began marking themselves as "Polaroid Originals". So AFAIK, It's Impossible cartridges (which weren't that good last time I tried, and very expensive) relabeled as Polaroid Originals.

      I don't know if they bought the patents for the old chemical process, and I don't think they are using it.

      • sjclemmy 7 months ago

        I have to concur with this. I tried the Impossible polaroid film a few years ago and it's not very good compared to the original polaroid film and the Instax film. I use the Instax mini now and it's a great little instant camera.

        • jacobush 7 months ago

          Impossible changed recipes several times, and while I hear that the old Polaroid had different (better) colors back in the day, the recipe Polaroid is using now (the "originals" line) is much improved both in development speed and color rendition from what they sold under the Impossible brand.

          I myself think that the colors of the Instax line are fantastic, but if you want a larger image, Polaroid is yet again the place to go.

          • tecleandor 7 months ago

            Have you tried Instax Wide ? The camera is more expensive than the mini but the film price is quite similar to the mini, and of course, way cheaper than Polaroid.

            Polaroid runs about 2USD a picture (being 8 pictures by cartridge).

            Instax Wide, by its B&H price, is around 0.9USD a picture.

            I think Polaroid image size is 3.1 by 3.1 inches

            Instax wide is 3.9 by 2.4 inches

            • giobox 7 months ago

              I’d bet good money Instax Wide isn’t long for this world. It has nowhere close to the popularity of the Instax mini line and is supported by just one not particularly popular Fuji model in their current lineup of Instax cameras. Instax Wide camera models see updates at a glacial pace compared to the Mini models too.

              Instax Mini film can be bought in a ludicrous number of physical retailers (considering the overwhelming ubiquity of digital photography now) - Target, Michaels, Urban Outfitters etc. Instax Wide not so much, another indicator of it’s increasingly niche little market.

              I have the latest Fuji Instax Wide model given to me as a gift and it’s really not difficult to see why Mini is so much more popular - it’s significantly more expensive and much bulkier than the cute little mini models. I used it three times and then left it in a cupboard, it’s simply too large to carry around regularly.

              Finally I’d argue the difference between 3.1 inches of image height on a Polaroid and the 2.4 of the Instax Wide feels much more different in person than the numbers alone might suggest. For me personally, I don’t think it’s a nice substitute for the look and feel of the traditional Poloroid format.

      • jacobush 7 months ago

        I know it is the Impossible Company. AFAIK the issue is not so much with patents, as with process and chemicals. Even Polaroid themselves could not produce it at the end - they had a big batch of some critical chemicals they expected to last for many years, but people didn't stop buying Polaroid film as fast as Polaroid had projected, so they had to announce an abrupt halt. (Whenever it was, 2010?)

        The Impossible Project had to do a lot of research and find alternative recipes to get the thing going again.

        As for expensive, you can get single packs of 8 images for under $20. Not exactly cheap, but not prohibitive. If you compare price per image area with Instax, it's not bad.

        Both come in at around 30 cents per square inch.

        • tecleandor 7 months ago

          You can get a 20pack of Instax Wide for 17USD, and it's almost the same area than a Polaroid. A B&W 10pack (I haven't tested, so I don't know the quality) is around 14USD. I think it's pretty good value.

          I still haven't bought a Wide camera, but even with all the Polaroid 600 cameras I have around, I think I'll buy one...

          • jacobush 7 months ago

            Another point to bring up - now in this day when digital cameras have quite thoroughly succeeded in capturing "perfect" colors, there is something to be said for the slightly more "grungy" colors of current Polaroid stock.

            The Instax film, while I adore it, is almost too good at times. The colors are natural and spot on, of course there's always a fraction of the market that wants something else.

          • jacobush 7 months ago

            But here it's not nested so deep - I can actually answer here. :)

            Thanks for pointing that out. I might get an Instax Wide. But I will try out at least one new formulation Polaroid pack in my 600 camera. I am curious about the colors. It's fun to not have only one formulation to choose from.

            There's also the issue about lens quality. Some Polaroid cameras have very sharp glass lenses, while the Instax cameras have so-so optics.

        • tecleandor 7 months ago

          Ops, I see I answered you in two different comments, didn't check the username . Sorry!

  • a012 7 months ago

    Yes, there are still a lot of films now. Sadly Fujifilm halted production of many large size instant films (FP-3000, FP-100) and keeps small Instax instant films only.

    • jacobush 7 months ago

      The Instax Square and Instax Wide are a bit larger than the Instax Mini though.

      • iNerdier 7 months ago

        Instax square makes the most sense for a Hasselblad back in terms of film size, not only is it square it’s also only 2mm larger than it was designed for. The hardest part is as they say shaving off enough to have a coupling mechanism and keeping the film plane where it is in a standard back and fitting a complex eject mechanism.

        It doesn’t help that square instax as a format is new and cameras compared to mini / wide are more expensive, along with the film.

michrassena 7 months ago

Nice project. There are a lot of cool modifications of Instax cameras out there, including those which add large format lenses for full shutter and aperture control. What's special about this project is the manual feed. I haven't seen it anywhere else. Presumably it allows a pack of film to be inserted and used just like the automatic feeder.

I've toyed with the idea of putting the individual sheets into a sheet film holder for use in a Mamiya 23 camera. But it requires working in the dark and then repacking each sheet of film and running them through the camera to process with the rollers. For the same effort, I could be shooting regular film. Theirs is a much better solution.

snaily 7 months ago

Oh wow, I've been wanting to do this exact project for the longest time. Are you able to share anything more on the custom manufactured bits and pieces, how you interfaced with the chemical roller mechanism, etc?

  • Animats 7 months ago

    If this works like the Polaroid SX-70 system, the rollers are just metal rollers a specific distance apart. They squeeze a package of chemicals inside the sealed film package and spread them uniformly over the film.

    The chemistry of those systems is incredibly complex, but the mechanism is simple.

  • svckr 7 months ago

    This but with a Mamiya 645. The size of Instax frames is almost a perfect match!

    • iNerdier 7 months ago

      Me and a friend of mine made a prototype for one, using the internals of an impossible project phone ‘printer’. It takes standard 600 film. I had no idea that it would be the kind of thing hacker news would be interested in though.

    • Finnucane 7 months ago

      Search the youtube and you will find a bunch of hacks people have done to use Instax film in MF and 4x5 cameras. I recall hearing some time ago of an attempt to make a Graflex back for Instax as a commercial product, not sure if that actually happened.

  • jumelles 7 months ago

    Me too! I wish the article had tons more detail (and pictures!)

misthop 7 months ago

The caption about discharging the flash capacitor is a good one, but even with an non-conductive handle tool you need to be careful. I once did it and the discharge was sufficient to fling the screwdriver out of my hand and embed it in a 2x4 6 feet away.

  • pmiller2 7 months ago

    Holy shit, how many farad was that cap? I've heard of accidents with really big ones that show up in vintage arcade machines, but a camera?

  • gerbilly 7 months ago

    Discharge it using a big ceramic resistor maybe then?

kosma 7 months ago

I have a Rolleicord with a film back set aside for this very purpose. The biggest issue is actually film plane flatness and focus - those are hard to get right!

ratsimihah 7 months ago

This is so cool and has me wondering what I'm doing with my life! More relevantly, I have this Leica M6 but I don't want to take it apart :x