Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dremel Tool meets Square Shooter meets Fuji Pf100 Instant Film

1970's Polaroid Square Shooter

A year or so ago, my wife came home with a Polaroid Square Shooter that she found at thrift store.  She bought it for around four or five bucks with the intent of giving it to me because she knew I enjoyed the instant cameras and it was just kind of cool to have.  I received it with joy and after a few weeks, put it in a box with a bunch of other photography gear and kind of forgot about it as there was no chance of finding film for this little charm. 

The camera is pretty a much a one step, point and shoot which used the old and much discontinued Polaroid 85 films.  It has a shutter release, 4' to infinity focus, a flash bulb socket, and a wind up timer on the side that is used for print development times.  Unlike the Polaroid instant film that much of us are familiar with (see image above), this one used film which was pulled from the camera after the exposure and then the positive print was pulled apart from the negative.  It's kind of cool because you actually have a salvageable negative to keep and reprint if you want. In addition, the print format was square opposed to the common Polaroid print we were used to (see above).

Fast forward a year and I stumble onto an article in which people have been modifying the film storage bay to receive and actually use the Fuji Pf100 film in this camera.  Now, Fuji stopped making this film in 2016, but there is still a ton out there and can be purchased on many internet photo sites.  

After watching a brief tutorial, I fire up my old Dremel tool and begin the surgical process of carefully grinding away portions of the film bay.  The smell of hot plastic is not pleasing and it makes a complete mess, but I believe the procedure is a success. 

I order up several packs of the Fuji film and watch a few videos on how it works.  Sure enough, the film fits.  Its a tight fit, but its in there and everything seems to be working.  The first test shot is of a parking lot at work.  I can't think about composition, lighting, anything photography related other than "is there going to be a picture when I peel the film."  I wait the suggested 90 seconds to develop and slowly pull the positive up.  I feel like Charley Bucket opening a candy bar and waiting to see the corner of a Golden Ticket. Much to my excitement and pleasure, there is a print.  A really good print. Well exposed, great color, and its stable. 

Of course I'm ecstatic and overjoyed.  I snap a cell phone pic of the print and immediately send it to my wife.  She seems pretty excited, but probably not as much as I. 

Many prints followed and many more to come.

State Capitol Building, Madison, WI
April, 2017
Polaroid Square Shooter w/ Fuji Pf100 film

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