Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hanged Man

I had this idea to do a tarot card of the hanged man with a polaroid shot - this is the result with my newish ee55 camera:


Odin hung himself for 9 days on the world tree to gain secret knowledge - don't know if this little action figure got any wiser though! Shot at Tawharanui with an EE55 and 125i film.

Across the Divide

I tested out my EE55 Camera today, absolutely loved it. Its a fixed body camera, unlike my EE100 Special - no light leaks. It performed wonderfully today. Here is the first shot I took, at Tawharanui Park near Matakana:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh Shit!

The edge was giving away...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Polaroid 600 Onestep Review.

This camera has heaps of reviews - so I won't go into to much detail about, and just talk about a hack that I use. If you are new to polaroid, want to know more about what kind camera to choose - go visit this post on the mocking-bird blog. Or here. Or just about anywhere on the site.

I am primarily a pack type of guy, so I don't use this camera very much as it uses integral film (the type of film most folks associate with polaroid film). Generally quality of the film that goes in this camera absolute shiite, but thats why you should love it. Seriously. Polaroid Integral have their own look and feel to it. They are kinda like bulldogs of analogue world - these beasts are ugly and cute at the same time. And chicks really dig them.

Now, this here one step is good camera. Its actually the first polaroid camera I bought. Its the only integral film Polaroid Camera I use. Here's a pic of this bad boy.

Here are some notes on using this camera:
  • If you can get 779 Film, its a bit harder to come by but the results are typically better than standard 600 film.
  • Focusing close ups you can get up to 60cm away from the subject, This camera has a focusing slide for this. Use a measuring tape for this.
  • The flash is overbearing most of the time. If I do have a take a shot using the flash, put your finger in the middle of the flash (so it divides the flash bulb evenly) and take the shot. This usually diffuses the flash enough so it doesn't over expose the subject. Also you the shuttle release has 2 levers. See image label shutter release. Use the one in the behind the main release and it will fire without the flash. I didn't
  • Never, Never, Never leave camera in open position when not in use. Why? It will drain your battery. The Camera has no battery, the battery is in the film pack. You drain the film battery, you can not shoot any of the film left in the camera. There is a little green light that comes on the back of the camera to indicate the camera is ready for use - this will drain the battery in the film pack. I will show no pity to you if leave your camera open by mistake. You have been warned. A closed camera will look a bit like the head of Ridley Scott's Alien.
  • It works really well outdoors with a polarising filter.
  • Shoot in as much daylight as possible - I haven't had much luck shooting at night.

Ok - don't have any custom built filters for this camera, however being the kinda of guy with more practical sense than with any style - here is how I use a polarising filter with the camera that obviously doesn't fit the lens. You will need the items below:
  • One non fitting polarising filter (mine is 58mm in size)
  • One piece of foam

  1. Place the filter so it rests on the lighten/darken slider, make sure that the slider remains in the middle.
  2. Scrunch up the foam on top so it holds the filter in place. its ok that it bulges, just make sure that it doesn't bulge over the lens.
It should look somewhat like this:

Yep, I know its not pretty, but you can get some great results using a polarising filter:

However, if you fail to push all the foam back, it will show on the film. You'll have to look at the front of the camera to make sure its not bulging out as it does in this:

So enjoy your 600 OneStep, don't be afraid to use it.

EE100 Special Polaroid Camera Review

Ah the EE100 Special, yes it indeed is special. Like most polaroid cameras available on online auctions, owners have long abandoned these jewels in favour of snappy little digital cameras. I was able to pic this one up on the cheap.

The first thing you will on the EE100 Special has very sketchy details.? Hey I even found it here as listed as a digital camera!

First of all, EE100 Special is a Packfilm Camera, and you can still buy film for this (get yourself some expired Polaroid Packfilm (type 100) or FP-100c film. You will notice there are some funky features, most notably, the square plastic lever on the side. What is this thing?

I posed the question on a flickr polaroid forum, in which user Becky replied:

That is the flash cube diffuser which probly can be taken it basically doesn't do much. But some more than likely swear by it. I never found use for it. You can also find that thing on several other Polaroid models.

So if you flash cubes (in which this camera doesn't) it would basic take off some overexposure caused by flash. My diffuser remains a vestigial limb on on my camera.

Another feature is that it allows 3000 ASA film or 75 ASA (you can use 75 setting for most of your polaroid/fuji films). The 3000 setting is primarily for black and white films, and said to be useful for low lighting. I haven't used it, but its nice to know its there (circled in red below):

Ok the biggest complaint on the internets about this camera are light leaks. Like all older Polaroid cameras with bellows, your gonna get light leaks, these are commonly caused but tiny holes in the bellows themselves. Here is an example photo with light leaks:

Generally, the bright the light outside, the stronger the light leaks. However, don't be dismayed and buy a digital camera just yet, or moan on the Flickr forum about horrible this camera is!You can fix the light leaks to large degree, and quite cheaply. And you don't have to go into a very dark cave and shining a torch inside the bellows to find the microscopic holes.

Now, this ain't pretty solution, its working solution. What you need is a back T-Shirt, so find that old black AC/DC T-shirt (the one numerous stains of unknown origins) and rip off the sleeves:

After doing this, wrap the black sleeve over the bellows like this:

Try cover as much of the bellows as possible. The added bonus is that you also have sleeve-less black t-shirt, so you can now show off your biceps from lifting crates of expired Polaroid film you bought from Ebay (you have been hoarding film, haven't you?). Now the camera ain't gonna win any beauty contests, however - some of your pictures might!

This should eliminate most light leaks (some occasionally sneak through) but you can wrap the bellows with another black sleeve.

This EE100 Special has become my favourite packfilm camera, I use it all the time. In short I love it, I reckon it takes splendid photos and is super durable.

Some notes:
  • To set the picture to darken, turn it down to the 'O' feature not the filled in 'O' at the top. I made this mistake several times and got a very pale photo as a result.
  • If you plan to do close ups, make sure you invest in measuring tape (and for you Yanks out there, make sure you get one with the metric system). You set the distance by turn the lens to the appropriate distance. If you shoot alot at 1 metre, i've noticed that you usually add about 5-10 centimetres extra - my shots at exactly 1 metre are a bit blurry.
  • Unlike my 104 Polaroid Camera, this doesn't eat Fuji FP-100C film. I've never had a problem pulling out film from this camera!
  • Its plastic, but durable. Seems like these cameras (aside from the bellows) have a good shelf life. You can often find these on the cheap, its well worth it.
  • Like any Polaroid camera, you might waste a few films getting a few shots right. This is the badge we where as Polaroid photographers. Smokers have there cigarettes, we have our film. They are both cause severe addictions and are expensive habits. However, cigarettes are bad, full stop. Polaroid film can you take you both to the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy. Polaroid Film is much more rewarding addiction.
Now get out there and shoot some film!

My Polaroid Cameras (Collection so far...)

These are my polaroid cameras to date, I'll do a basic review on them a bit later, click to enlarge:

  1. Polaroid 104 Camera
  2. Mini 202 Portrait Camera
  3. Instax Mini Camera
  4. Onestep 600 Camera
  5. 452 Portrait Camera
  6. Instax Wide Camera
  7. EE100 Special Camera
  8. Polaroid 104 Camera (backup)