This past weekend one of my best friends finally graduated from Smith College. I personally graduated from Smith a few years ago so it was a fun experience to go back and relive graduation without it really being a reunion year. We had good time going to Illumination Night and going to the ceremony the next day with Arianna Huffington as the speaker.
I decided to take a nicely re-skinned folding Sonar SX-70 with me and some PX70 Color Protection Film from The Impossible Project. The camera was having some issues with the rollers and the Sonar is out of wack. I did manage to fix the rollers a bit by pressing the apart with my finger so the Polaroids were no longer getting stuck, but I had to use the camera in manual mode the whole time due to the Sonar issue. Nevertheless I was able to take some amazing photos with it. Below is my said camera which I managed to re-skin myself!
Though it is the end of May the temperature was still pretty cool that all of the pictures were able to develop without me having to do anything extra. I just avoided the Polaroids having direct sunlight on them when they were ejected from the camera. Hope you enjoy!
The super cute SX-70 The Button camera was I believe first manufactured in 1981 for about the cost of $30. It has an off white colored body and a light grey face plate with the words The Button in cute white typeface lettering on the right front part of the camera below the lens. it’s main features are that it has a light meter knob and a socket on the top to take flash bars. This camera can sometimes be found in stock in my Etsy Shop or you can also find them on Ebay and in thrift shops. Since it is somewhat “newer” than a lot of other Polaroid Cameras it tends to be in good shape. The main problem that I tend to see when I get these types of cameras is that the socket for the flash bars no longer works or the light meter sensor no longer works. It is most disappointing to find that the light meter no longer works. All of your Polaroids usually come out overexposed, but you generally don’t find out this is the problem until about 3 photos later which have basically all been wasted. I will put a post up on that later that shows how you can tell with using just an empty cartridge that still has battery life and a flashlight.
The Button Polaroid SX-70 currently takes film from The Impossible Project. That is the only film that I really trust to still be used. If you buy expired film from Ebay you may get film that is dried up and unusable or just so old that all of your Polaroids are washed out and and covered with streaks. You can find film in my shop for either Color Shade PX70 Film or Silver Shade PX100 Film. They can also be bought directly from The Impossible Project.
The Button camera does not come with a flash, but it can accept flash bars and electronic flashes such as the Q-light. I would high recommend find an electronic flash since flash bars are no longer being made so there is a finite number of them left in the world. Both flash types can be easily found on ebay and in specialty camera shops. Each flash bar has 10 one time use flashes with 5 on each side. If you run into some trouble with having the flash bars go off you can sometimes run an eraser over the contacts to clean them. When you are using the flash your subject will be best lit if they are between 4-8ft from you, otherwise your subject will appear to bight/light if they are within 4ft or too dark if they are beyond 8ft. This camera has a fixed focus anyways so everything that is 4ft and beyond is going to be in focus, so I wouldn’t really try to take any pictures within 4ft.
Lighten/Darken Control Knob
For most outdoor use you will not need a flash unless you would like to use it for flash fill. So the next thing that you have to worry about is the lighten/darken control to the right of the lens. Most times I start out by keeping it in the middle but if it gets very bright out or if you are in low light and don’t think the flash is going to reach all the way you can adjust the knob. Either looking straight at it you turn it to the left to make it go lighter or to the right to make it darker. What this essentially does is it covers up the light meter on the the camera with different shades of dark plastic so the shutter stays open for a longer or lesser time
Overall in taking photos with the The Button my main issue that I run into is that alot of the images come out washed out and overexposed. I have been dealing with Polaroid cameras alot and I mainly run into this problem with the SX-70′s. I believe it has to do more with The Impossible Project Film than with the camera itself, but I can’t be sure. So contrary to what I said above I would actually try to keep the light/dark knob a few turns to the darker side.
You can see that this picture came out way to bright and washed out, though I do like that it’s pretty clear. This was taken indoors with an electronic flash pointing up at my wall. The next picture a still a little washed out, but has much better color contrast with the knob turned a little bit to the darker side.
This picture was taken outdoors on a very cool spring day and I had it develop in my bag.
So those are the basics, and now you are ready to go out and shoot some amazing Polaroids! I think this camera has an amazing design and can easily fit in your bag. Having the flash bars instead of a large bulky electronic flash still make the camera pretty portable.
If you really like this camera and it’s design as I said before you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop at this link here. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but I was able to get my hands on a hard copy of it. It covers mainly The Button Camera, but it also can be used for other similar SX-70 cameras. If you would like to have a download of it you can find it below.
The Color Protection Film is some of the latest and greatest film that The Impossible Project has made. It is amazing that we no longer have to shield the Polaroid from light once it has come out of the camera. Although their film is still in its early development stages and I glad that they have been able to progress so far in this amount of time. As of right now the Color Protection film only comes in color, but it is currently being made for 600, SX-70 and Spectra model cameras. You no longer have to shield it from light and it develops in about 40 minutes.
This being said The Impossible Project is still working on their formula for the film and it has its quirks. For this particular film its saturation and color is affected by temperature. If you develop the picture in super hot weather you will have lots of red and orange tones, but if you develop it in cold weather then you have lots of green and blue ones. You have to find the sweet spot, and find the balance so that you reach just the right temperature to produce the best picture. Now spring is in the air and the weather is only going to get hotter, which in turn is going to make you and all of your equipment susceptible to it. This causes a major issue to all of your Color Protection Film as there is going to be a risk that all of you shots with come out with an orange tint.
The Polaroid above was taken on a mild spring day and the valley is actually full of bright emerald fields and luscious green leaves, but due to the camera having sat a few moments in the hot car and of the humidity outside the Polaroid developed with orange and red tones. You can’t even tell that it was green outside it looks like it’s the fall and everything was starting to die
The same thing happened in the below Polaroid. Though it is a little better, because you can actually see that my coat is blue, there are still a lot of orange and red tones to the picture.
The trick is to try to keep your film and camera as cool (not cold) as possible. Don’t leave film or your camera ( with film) in the heat such as outside or in the car. Your Polaroids will definitely come out tinted orange even if they develop in cooler temperatures. Always keep your film stored in the fridge until you need to use it. Let it sit out for about an hour to get up to room temp and you should be ready to go. If you are travelling around with your film and aren’t going to have a cool place to store your film I would pack a small ice pack in your camera bag. Such as like the ones you use for injuries or the ones that keep your camping coolers nice and cold. I would get either like the Rubbermaid Flexible Ice Blanket or the Twin Lunch Packs. You can then wrap the ice pack up in a hand towel or other cloth and keep it in you camera bag or backpack. I wouldn’t keep the film to close to pack though since you don’t want it too cold. Keep you bag slightly open so that most of the coldness airs out making your bag cool. The Impossible Project Blog also says to do just about the same exact thing. The below Polaroid was taken on a nice Spring Day, but it was still pretty cool outside so I didn’t have to do anything special to it. I just had to leave it in my bag to develop. You can really tell the difference between this one and the other two and how rich all of the colors are.
If you are just taking picture outside, but are close to your home or a building that you are using, I would just take the Polaroid and have it develop inside instead of taking the risk of having it be too hot outside. If you have your car with you and you had the AC blasting inside for a long time and just took a few shots I would let them develop in the car if it’s going to be running. This next picture I took on an overcast day, but I just got out of the car took some cool looking shots of the buses parked and then got back in and drove to lunch. The nice temperature inside the car and then at the restaurant were just right to really let the yellow in the buses pop.
I hope that this little tutorial helps with trying to take a good rich colored Polaroid while being out and having fun in the sun. No reason to be having a great photo shoot only to discover discolored Polaroids! So keep shooting and please let me know if you have any other good tips or tricks!
The blue Polaroid 600 camera with yellow accents is one of the more modern version of the 6oo Polaroid cameras. It was made in the late 90′s to early 00′s. It has a plastic body that is a midnight blue in color with bright caution yellow accents in the shutter, “close-up” lens knob, and light management slider. This camera can sometimes be found in stock in my Etsy Shop or you can also find them on Ebay and in thrift shops. Since they are somewhat “newer” than a lot of other Polaroid Cameras they tend to be in good shape. The main problem that I tend to see when I get these types of cameras are stuck shutter buttons and broken straps, so check that out first if you are able.
The Polaroid 600 currently take film from The Impossible Project. That is the only film that I really trust to still be used. If you buy expired film from Ebay you may get film that is dried up and unusable or just so old that all of your Polaroids are washed out and and covered with streaks. You can find film in my shop for either Color Shade PX680 Film or Silver Shade PX600 Film. They can also be bought directly from The Impossible Project.
In my own opinion of using many types of Polaroid 600 Format Cameras I think that these modern versions take a more of a crisp looking photo than the older versions. The photos they produce seem to be much clearer and brighter. It could just be me Anyways I think this camera is great as a kind of no hassle sort of camera. The main things that you have to worry about are the “close-up” lens, the light management switch, and if you think you are going to need your flash or not.
This little blue camera has a plastic lens with a “close-up” lens that can be shifted over to give the a distance change the distance from 1.2 meters and beyond to 0.6 – 1.2 meters. This option would be best used for portraits and close-up of large objects.
I love that if you happen to not be able to understand the units of measure that surely you understand switching between the two happy people (I assume they are happy otherwise why are their arms up like that) and the smiley face for close-ups. It you get to close to an object an take a picture within the .6 meters or if you forget to move over the lens and are with in 1.2 meters your Polaroid will come out blurry. You can see that in the example below.
Blurry Polaroid of my Record Player due to being too close.
You can see that most of the picture is blurry, but further down there is a Tchaikovsky record that is in focus because it is within the focus range. That is one of the downsides to these types of Polaroid cameras is not being able to have the ability to take very close up photos. That is reserved to more of the folding type cameras and specialized Polaroids that would be used by Dentists or Police.
In taking a photo the next thing you would have to address is the light management slider. Most times you can just keep it in the middle but if it gets very bright or if you are in low light and don’t think the flash is going to reach all the way you can adjust the slider. Either to the right to make it lighter or to the left to make it darker. What this essentially does is it covers up the light meter on the the camera with different shades of dark plastic so the shutter stays open for a longer or lesser time.
I guess that the last thing that you need to think about is if you are going to need the flash or not. The great thing about these more modern 600′s is that you have the ability to choose if you want to use the flash or not. There are two sort of shutter buttons on the camera. The first shutter button that you mainly see is the Yellow one and if you pull that back it automatically also pushes the black shutter behind it and the flash will always go off. If you do not want the flash then you can use just press the black shutter button back and the camera shutter will go off without the flash.
Polaroid 600 Shutter Buttons
To keep it safe I generally always use the flash in all of my pictures. Especially when I am indoors as there is usually not enough light inside anyways. The only time I think I would not use it is when maybe the sun is directly hitting the object that you are taking a picture of. In that case I would just push the black shutter button to avoid the picture looking washed out or overexposed. I have yet to really test this camera out at night without the flash as I am not sure how long the shutter can really stay open, but you might also want to not use the flash if you want to capture bright light or neon signs. Many people forget that this option exists because the first shutter button is so small, so remember to keep it in mind just in case.
So those are the basics, and now you are ready to go out and shoot some amazing Polaroids! I really like the design of these particular cameras as they have a side strap that is good to use on the go. You can carry it around in a large bag or purse, but then you can always carry it around by the strap so that it can be ready in an instant. I have taken this kind of camera to several nights out and happy to say that it takes great group photos.
Polaroid 600 Strap
The strap has Velcro strips on the inside and can actually be adjusted to have different size openings. The #1 problem that I have seen with these cameras is the straps either being broken, or one of the Velcro strips has come off, so now the strap won’t hold together. You can easily buy some Velcro strips from the hardware store though and cute a strip to size and glue one on.
If you really like this camera and it’s design as I said before you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but I was able to get my hands on a hard copy of it. It is for the whole spectrum of these modern shaped Polaroid 600 cameras including the Polaroid OneStep Express and the JobPro2. If you would like to have a download of it you can find it below.
Shutter: electronic; range around 1/4 – 1/200 sec.
Exposure system: programmed automatic
Built-in electronic flash
Has built-in “close-up” lens
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.
I have also included one of my favorite shots that I have taken with this camera on a night out. This was actually taken several years ago on The Impossible Project’s first experimental batch of PX600 film. You can see at the top that even before I got a chance to scan this in the picture started to get a little hazy, but it’s still one of my favorites!
PX600 Experimental Silver Shade Film taken with a Polaroid 600
Yesterday I started off the day somewhat bummed that I had to go to work and that I really hadn’t thought about taken the day off to go see the Marathon. I have lived in Boston and Cambridge for over 6 years and have never gone to see it. I generally work for small businesses that never take the Patriot’s Day Holiday. I guess it was a blessing in disguise for yesterday. My thoughts an prayers go out for the victims of the bombings and I hope that they find and bring to justice the people that are responsible.
In homage to Boston I am posting some photos that I have taken with some of my analog cameras. I hope to show the beauty and strength that this town possess and how it will continue to stand tall despite all that has happened.
The time has finally come that Kelly Angood has resurrected her cutout pinhole camera project again! After having to cancel her first Kickstarter project due to the possibility of legal action that might be taken over the design of her original camera, she has created a brand new design in the time span of less than a month. Her new camera is called the Videre, and it is a medium format pinhole camera that she specifically created by keeping in mind the community of pinhole camera lovers in mind.
The camera will be a do it yourself kit that will be printed on to thick cardboard stock. You can then pop out all the pieces and assemble the camera yourself learning about the pinhole style of photography in the process.
The delivery date for the camera is currently set for November 2013, so as she says herself it would make an excellent Christmas gift for budding photographers or students that are interested in learning about photography.
As a bonus for backers that purchase the kit, Angood is also working on a 35mm printout version of the camera to be available as a free printout around the July time frame. This gives backers the ability to have 2 camera designs for the price of one.
If you would like to back her project you still can at her KickStarter page below:
The Color Pack II is a in the family of rigid plastic body cameras that were made as cheaper version than the Polaroid 100-400 series cameras that had folding bellows. This camera was first produced by Polaroid in 1969 and was discontinued in 1972. The original cost was right under $30 making it very affordable for the everyday consumer market. You can find these cameras relatively cheap online and in thrift or vintage shops today. They are somewhat old so their shape is always questionable.
Some of the first things to look for in a Polaroid Colorpack II Camera is if there is any corrosion in the battery compartment, which you can check by opening up the camera from the back. There is a metal latch that you can pop up that lets you open it up. Small amounts of corrosion may be cleanable, but I have seen batteries that explode or leak and then corrode entirely making them impossible to even take out of the camera from the holder. I would definitely pass on these if you see this is the case, they are unusable. Since Colorpack II’s are also almost entirely made out of plastic I would stay away from ones that are cracked or chipped. Any small bump or fall can then cause the entire camera to come apart.
FP-100C Fujifilm – Color Film
Fujifilm FP-3000B – Black and White Film
Once you have your camera it is (in my opinion)fairly simple to use. First of all you need to add 2 AA batteries into the camera that go in holders right behind the lens. These control both the shutter and the ability for the flash to go off. The Colorpack can take both color and black and white pull apart film and you just have to change the switch at the top to either 75 for color or 3000 for black and white. Film that is readily available and still sold for this camera is made by Fujifilm. There is FP-100C, which is for color, and FP-3000B, which is for black and white. This film is actually not your conventional Polaroid film that everyone first thinks of. It is pull apart film that you take a snapshot with and then you pull it out of the camera. You wait a designated amount of time depending on the temperature and film (there are guidelines on the film itself that tells you the recommended of time to wait), then you pull apart the pieces of the paper apart to reveal your picture on one part and the negative on the other. Be sure to let the image dry first before touching it so that you don’t smudge it while it is still wet.
Once you pick out your film you can load it into the back of the open camera with the plastic back facing out and the window with the paper facing in. It should fit snugly in the back with the paper tag facing towards the open end of the camera and will stick out one it is closed. Pull on the tag once you have closed the camera and you should then see the first white pull tag sticking out of the camera with the number 1. Each picture is tagged with the numbers 1-10 so you can know what picture you are on.
Once you have the film inside the camera all set up now you just have to think about your settings and location. There are not many dials on the camera and so the things that you have to worry about now are the focus, light management and if you believe you might need a flash cube. The manual focus is controlled by the metal ring around the front lens and it labeled in feet and goes from about 3.5 to infinity. The number that you need will have to be lined up at the top of the lens in a little window like outline that is made by the plastic. You have to guess the focus to be what ever distance that you believe you are from the subject that you are shooting. Next thing you have to adjust is the light management, which I generally leave at the standard.
Light and Dark Knob
You can move the dial to make the picture darker or lighter depending on your lighting. If you think you would want it to be darker because you are in blinding white sunlight then turn the dial a bit to the darker side. Otherwise you mainly use this dial after you have taken you first shot and then adjust it to compensate.
As I said above this camera does take FlashCubes and they are no longer being made. Not to fear though since there are still many around and they can easily still be found on sites like Ebay.com or Etsy.com. For the most part FlashCubes come in packs of 3 and each cube has 4 flashes for a total of 12 flashes in a pack. Each flash is one time use, so use them wisely. Flashcubes are generally needed the same way as when you would need a flash on your point and shoot camera or phone camera. If you are in a low light setting such as at night, indoors or you need a flash fill because you back lighting then you will probably need a flashcube. You can get away sometime with indoor settings without a flash cube it you set the camera on a steady surface and press the shutter button down for a few seconds. Just tell the subject not to more or the image will come out blurry. I think that the best pictures taken with this camera are outdoor ones on a bright sunny day so that you don’t have to worry about Flashcubes or settings as much.
Black and white images are nice as the shutter opens much quicker and you are able to action shots much better and everything has a romantic look to it. Color pictures are nice as well, but I find that if you do not have just the right setting you may wind up with images that either looked washed out or ones that are just too dark. Then you have to take another photo after adjusting the knobs and you still may not get it right. Although when you do have the right settings pictures are amazing! I have fixed up and resold this camera quite a bit and they are very popular I believe mostly due to its slick look and pretty blue faceplate. I have had many chances to work with this camera and have built up a good collection of photos taken with this particular model of Polaroid camera. If you are ever in the market for purchasing one for yourself it is generally in stock in my Shop. You can also find it at the direct link to it below:
So now you should be all ready to go out into the world and take some amazing shots! I hope that this review has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything else to add. I am always interested in what others have to say.
Film type: Peel-apart 100-Series Land Pack Films (discontinued) or Fujifilm FP-100C (still manufactured).
Lens: 114mm, f/9.2 3-element coated glass or uncoated plastic.
Shutter: Electronic; range about 10s-1/500s
Automatic exposure system similar to the folding pack cameras.
Accepts flashcubes such as Phillips PFC 4 which automatically rotate after each exposure
ISO 75 for colour prints, 3000 for black and white.
Settings for 75 and 3000 speed films. (fixed aperture for each)
Manual focus from 3 feet to infinity.
Viewfinder contains a red square to show where the head in a portrait at 5 feet should appear.
Has metal “spreader bars” instead of rollers.
Body is dark brown-green in colour, with usually a cyan stripe on the front.
Today was a great day to receive mail. I had just gotten back from lunch to discover a nice little box from Lomography waiting at my desk. I ordered their Smartphone Film Scanner and some 110 color pocket film, and a review of both are to come soon. You can purchase both at Lomography.com
This month’s Julep box was a little different for me as I went with the It Girl box instead of my usual Boho Glam. I was not as interested in the beauty products so I took having 3 nail colors instead of the lotion that they were offering. Each month you receive a goodie box of Julep products that consist of 2 nail polishes plus another item that can either be another nail polish or a beauty item such a a lotion or mascara. The items are promised to be a value of $40 or more. The items that are sent to you are based on a quiz that you take that makes you out to be one of four categories. You are sent an email the 20th of each month that gives you a preview of what is coming next month and you have between the 24-27th to change what you would like to another of the categories, send it to a friend or simply cancel that month. On top of the subscription you receive 20% off all of their items and free shipping for being a member and every month you can have add on’s to your box for a low as $5.
So as I mentioned before this month they sent 3 nail colors plus a surprise extra of strawberry lip balm.
The colors that were featured in the It Girl box were Simone, which was a lillac color, Shenae, a minty green shimmery color and Teri, a soft pastel coral color. All of them were a pastel chalky kind of pallet that are perfect for spring.
Value: $14 each
The bonus beauty item this month was a very practical strawberry flavored pink tinted lip balm. It is a nice size, but thin enough to be able to able to carry around with you, either stashed in your purse or in your pocket. It goes on very creamy and keeps your lips super moist. I used it one day walking around Boston and it was very nice to have handy.
Julep Strawberry Lip Balm
This was a good box with colors that are pleasing to the eye and a useful beauty product that I will actually use. The value of the box came out to about $48 which is worth the cost of the subscription.
I have tried using the Simone and Shenae colors on my nails, but I am finding them to be very goupy and hard to control. I actually gave up on the Simone because I was always getting built up areas of polish. The Shanae was better, but still the same consistency. I was able to get a good coat below and I finished it off with the Julep Freedom Polymer Coat on top! Perfect for St. Paddy’s day coming up.
I have had my Diana Instant Back+ for about a year now, and I have to say it is a really neat accessory. I actually have used my Diana F+ more with the Instant Back than with actual 120 film. The first time that I used it was in Ireland while trekking around the country in our rental car. I was able to get some fantastic shots with the pleasure of having them instantly in your hand. My only problem was that I forgot to buy batteries before the trip and we had to scramble across tiny towns looking for an obscure type of battery.
Anyways I just wanted to post a quick tutorial on the use of the back with your Diana F+ camera. In my experience I received the box with the Instant Back and right away wanted to use it, though there weren’t clear instructions to me on what needed to be done. I’m not sure if I lost the manual or what, I can’t really remember, but your first step if to open up you camera and remove the back as if you were going to put in some film. Inside you will see the 120 spool where you film winds on to, as well as a small bracket at the bottom of the camera that holds the spool and the film in place. You may also have a square frame inside depending on how you were having your film turn out in terms of sizing. You need to take all of these components out of the camera as they are not really needed to take the photos and my cause issues in your shots. Keep all of these items in a safe place, as you will have to put them back if you want to use film again.
Items to take out first
Next your Instant Back kit comes with a special lens that you have to pop into the camera that goes behind the current lens in your camera. This is needed to change speed and size of the picture that gets projected on to the instant film.
Lens used to put into the camera for your Instant Back+
Once the lens is in place you can install the back similarly to how you would put the regular Diana F+ back on and turn the knob at the bottom to the locked position. Now you just need the film and the batteries. Film for this back is made by Fujifilm and is called Fuji Instax Mini and generally comes in either a 10 pack or a twin 20 pack. It produced cute little credit card sized pics in color similar to a Polaroid. This film is pretty popular and I have seen it sold in both Wal-Mart and Target. The back is powered by CR2 Lithium batteries that can be found in electronic store like Radioshack or Best Buy. You can also find both items in the links below.
Once the batteries are installed and you have film then you should be set to start shooting. Just add the film cartridge into the back and remember to turn on the back button everything you want to use it. It lights up blue when it’s on.
All ready to go!
Shooting with the Diana F+ and the Instant Back is similar to shooting as with normal film. Focus and aperture are much of a guessing game in everything has to be manually chosen. Framing is also a guess, but I think that you have to angle your shot to be a little to the left to get things centered. A great thing that you are able to capture on the instant film is multiple exposures and night exposures on the bulb setting just like on regular film. I love that the pictures show up as hazy and dreamlike.
The Diana Instant Back+ can be purchased at Lomograpy.com for $89, and is a steal for the lovely pictures it produces. You can find the link for it below: