Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pinhole Polaroid

I suddenly got interested in pinhole cameras and decided to try and make one myself. Since I don't have access to a darkroom and all that stuff, I couldn't make the normal film/photo paper kind and instead had to try and use polaroid film instead. I started by buying an old Polaroid Land Camera. They're not expensive, but aren't often sold at thrift stores because, as it was explained to me by a few thrift store employees "We don't see anyone wanting them, so we just throw them out or move them along to our bulk stores." Anyway, I got mine off Craigslist for 10 bucks. And yes, you can still get the film, it's made by Fuji and can easily be purchased here: BH PHOTO.
Also, here's a link to a whole website dedicated to the features of each of the Land Camera models: LAND LIST

Interested in making a shitty pinhole Polaroid camera too? Read on.

I got the el-cheapo model 210.
First step is to pull the front panel off the camera and to remove the lens. I didn't take any pictures of that, but it's just 4 screws on the back and the whole front pops off.

Then you'll need an aluminum can, scissors and some sand paper.

Cut out a small square..

I changed my mind, cut a circle instead. I think it's a little safer that way, but I don't know why.
Sand both sides. There's paint on the outside and some sort of gnarly thin plastic coating on the inside that keeps the can from corroding that you'll want to get off.

Open the back of the camera and remove the back half of the lens. It's held in place by a thin spiked washer. Just get a small flat-head screwdriver and the washer pops right out.

Take the lens and trace its outline on your aluminum for size. Then take the Smallest pin you can find and poke The Tiniest hole you can in the middle. (Smaller is better for some reason. Look it up if you're curious why. Then let me know.)
After poking the hole, go ahead and re-sand the aluminum a little to remove any burs. Then cut away the excess aluminum around the circle you made.

Now put the aluminum disc in where the lens used to be and secure it in place with the thin spiked washer you took out. Hopefully you didn't mangle it when taking it out cause then you'd be fucked.

Boingo! Done. Now all you need to do is figure out some sort of way to cover the hole. I just use a strip black electrical tape, but I'm sure they has got to be 1000 better ways than that.
Here's the first two pictures I took with it. Unbelievably, there's a discernible image, albeit a shitty one. Plan on wasting A Lot of film. The next four I tried did not come out at all. Since you don't know how big the hole is you can't use a light meter, so you've just got to guess how long to expose things for. It was bright and sunny and these were exposed for 30 and 45 seconds respectively. Good luck!