more Retro…

I recently got another camera off of ebay. It’s another Polaroid camera, but this time rather retro. It’s an Automatic 100, produced between 1963 and 1966 taking 3.25×4.25 inch instant pictures using ‘100 series’ pack film (which Fuji still make, even though Polaroid themselves couldn’t continue).

Thanks go out to Option8 for his website describing how to refurbish the camera.

Automatic 100/1This thing is wonderful – it’s a folding camera, and it gets some great comments – especially when the pictures it produces appear! The first picture was this one.

More examples:
Automatic 100/6

Automatic 100/7

Automatic 100/5

tilt/shift goodness

Well, I finally got out for twenty minutes the other night and took some pictures with my large format camera. Firstly, the Manfrotto tripod is lovely and stable – so that’s good. I ended up taking two pictures basically – each shot twice, firstly on Instant film (Fuji FP100C in a Polaroid 405 back) and then on Fomapan 100 sheet film.

instant fake #1First ‘Polaroid’ was a bit marred by the fact I didn’t develop it for long enough – it was rather colder than the film likes.

instant fake #2The second wasn’t developed until I got home, and looks much better (colour-wise – actually the first composition is better in my opinion)…

Wow. There’s an awful lot of people seemingly upset by The Polaroid Corporation’s recent decision to stop making their eponymous film.

Check out
Of course, the current Polaroid Corp. has pretty much nothing to do with the original corporation; the current company being much more interested in slapping their coloured squares onto any number of consumer electronic devices than their traditional analogue imaging processes.

Ironically, Polaroid could well be making the biggest mistake ever. Recent reports seem to indicate that the rush to digital imaging is being stemmed, and consumers are returning to film, whether for

  • aesthetic reasons (some colours just aren’t rendered as nicely as on film); or
  • financial reasons (the constant buy/use/replace cycle which comes from chasing the leading edge of technology becomes pretty expensive after a short while)

Polaroid always had a characteristic look which distinguished itself from traditional negative/positive photography – and the fact that each shot is totally unique (Ok, so is slide film) adds some mystique to the object you hold in your hand…

I for one am going to stock up on 600 series film so that the kids can have some fun (they *really* appreciate the instant nature of Polaroids – they are well versed in 35mm and digital photography, but the sheer immediacy of Polaroid really pushes their buttons). The suspense of waiting for the picture to magically appear is fantastic, and they both want to take pictures with the Polaroid. Best let them do it before it’s too late…

My sense of timing is, as ever,

… perfect.

Just days before Polaroid announced they were shutting down production of their eponymous instant-film, I bid on ebay for a Polaroid film back (so I can use instant film with my LF camera). I have been chasing various 545 film backs (taking Polaroid ‘Type 5x’ sheet film) but they always went up to silly prices (and the film isn’t cheap either). I therefore started looking at the 405 back. It takes a smaller image – 3.25 x 4.25 inches (in a pack of 10 pictures) – but it will allow me the instant feedback on my pictures that I desire.

So, between bidding and winning the 405 back (hooray!), Polaroid made their announcement. Which probably helped me win it actually (for about a tenner less than others had gone for). Fortunately, the 405 back takes ‘pack’ film – and you can get this from the saviours of film (or so it would seem) FujiFilm.

fp100c-1There are minor hurdles in that my MPP doesn’t have quite the right sort of a back to mount the Polaroid holder securely (but it’s good enough for now), but this evening (drum roll please) I took my first ever ‘polaroid’.
Not bad for a first attempt even if I do say so myself… using flash as well, which is a bit of a departure…

Anyway. Instant film is FANTASTIC. I’ve only taken one picture, but blimey – try it NOW… get a camera, and get some film while you still can!