My most recent work.
Taming the automatic beast.
When it comes to shooting instant packfilms like 669, 690, FP100C and the like, there is nothing better than an original Automatic Land Camera.
But the automatic, aperture priority shutter, sometimes, just isn’t enough. Especially if you want to experiment under controlled conditions, such as multiple and really long exposures. Polaroid did offer a couple of manual control models but today they are priced very high and more often than not require servicing before you take a single shot.
This solution gives you the best of both worlds, a solid metal body Polaroid camera with 100% manual controls and a super bright lens. And beyond that it uses a press-type shutter meaning you don’t have to set the shutter before taking a shot, using a standard cable release or the finger trigger. Connect an external flash with the X-sync PC socket.
Automatic to Manual Control Conversions
- Polaroid Metal Body Packfilm Land Camera
- 127mm Lens (typically Tominon or Rodenstock)
- Copal or Prontor Press shutter
- Rangefinder with split image focusing and parallax correction
- new foam light seals
- custom leather covered shutter housing
The following things can be added to your camera. Prices and availabilty are subject to change.
- Distance chart in feet or meter – $10
- NON-press shutter – $contact
- Flash shoe – $35
- Built-in cable release – $40
- Different coverings for the shutter and body – see this page
Because all of the Automatic packfilm cameras are 114mm in focal length, the rangefinder is coupled to it. When using the newer, brighter 127mm lens you will find that infinity focus is tack sharp even wide open. However, as you get closer to your subject the focus will drift. To compensate, stopping down to f8 or greater eliminates this issue entirely. Though many of my customers simply learn how to compensate inside the rangefinder after a couple of shots.
It is also possible to modify the camera (free of charge) so that close up is calibrated to the RF, but not infinity. However, since infinity on the camera is known be sharp, regardless of the RF, you can use the RF closeup wide open and as you focus towards infinity stop down to f8. But as you approach infinity you can open it up again.
I offer a custom made distance chart to replace the 3 zone pictogram from Polaroid. This will let you use distance and wide open apertures without need for the RF to be accurate.