long live Polaroid Backs – new design, RZ67 in the works.

After a full year of sitting on it, i took the time and finished the design for using newer itype Polaroid cameras as a support for my Polaroid backs!

Impossible Lab limited and super expensive inventory, move aside!

Here is the prototype for an integral film Polaroid Back for RB67 (for now, since this is my most used camera).

It uses 4 AA batteries as power source for the motor so no more recharging, lost charging cables, etc. The charge from one set of AA should last for quite a while, have not tested it yet but I would not be surprised if it lasts for 20-30 packs, one alkaline AAA has a capacity of ~2000 mah, which is more than 6 times the capacity of the Impossible Lab batteries (old or the replacements I make/sell).

I know I know there’s already other backs out there on ebay that use iType cameras as the basis for Polaroid Backs so how it this special ?

  • Mine has a dark slide (stainless steel). My competition does not. And it’s really nice to have one.
  • The backs have single action automated eject. You press the eject button once, it ejects one frame. You need to keep pressing the eject button till the frame ejects for the “other” backs and you can easily eject multiple frames at once, since the polaroid eject action is so quick. Sure, you can get used to this but why?

So when can you buy these? Not just yet. This is just the prototype, the finished product will look slightly different and may use a nicer looking and less fragile eject button. And still need to undergo testing. So maybe mid September 2022 till they hit the market.

What about the other systems you’re making backs for based on IP labs? I will redesign those this fall, maybe available in Oct 2022 or so?

And the question I receive so often, what about RZ67?

Yes, it’s possible, based on my measurements. As a matter of fact, I am working on the design now and stay tuned for news mid September 2022, hoping to have a prototype by then and maybe have it on the market by mid October 2022.

What about Hasseblad series V or Bronica SQ, etc? Nope, sadly never. Those systems are simply too tight and they have a frame size of 58x58mm, so Polaroid film is such a waste on them anyway. Instax square is my only (complicated and therefore expensive) option for Hasselblad now and yes, I will make more of those backs.

 

Shipping Updates

I have shipped the first 4 orders of the Hasselblad Instax Back, hurray. A bit of a milestone, all sorts of little unexpected delays, but a lot more mature product now.

Serial numbers 5 and 6 will ship at the end of February 2022, I will be on vacation till mid February.

RB67 backs and kits are going to be shipped up to orders placed before January 11th 2022, I will resume the production in mid February as well.

two Impossible Labs on the way, also more Mamiya Instax Wides soon, and yes, maybe the Hasse Instax SQ :D

If you’ve expressed interest in a complete Polaroid back for your RB67, MUP or P600SE, I have two Impossible Labs on the way so that means some of you will get notifications of availability, be on the lookout for an email from me ( alin tolea) sometimes next week.

Also, I have a complete Mamiya Instax Wide almost dolled up with all the brackets, etc, just waiting for the cable releases, and have two more Fuji Instax wides to be converted, so I should have 3 of these ready by next week!

And yes, I may have found a solution to build that motorized Hasse Instax SQ back after all, upright frames and automatic frame counter and automatic eject, but I no dark slide, at least for the prototype. No promises, BUT i may something working in a week, No additional anything needed for infinity focus.

A Mamiya Instax Wide with Mamiya Universal Press lenses

Yes I know I’m no pioneer and I know that https://sprkplg.com/ popularized and is selling 3d printed adapters to do the same thing.

But when you have pesky customers (that shall remain unnamed on request) who’re not quite happy with the existing solutions and really need their lens to be upright, you get to work.

Long story short, I designed my own version of an an adapter that allows me (and you!) to mount a Mamiya Universal Press (MUP) lens on a Fuji Instax Wide 300 camera.

Of course, you’ll need to disassembly the Fuji Instax Wide 300, remove the electronics and rewire the eject to be triggered by pushing the trigger button, and cut a bit of the plastic “nozzle” on the Instax Wide, but none of that is very difficult. It just takes a bit of time and patience. And a Phillips 00 screwdriver and a wire cutter to cut the plastic, and maybe a file to even out sharp edges.

So how’s this mod/adapter different than what SPRKPLG offers?

I added a 3/8″ tripod socket with a metal insert, and this is built into the lens collar/adapter, so it centers the weight better.  And I went through two iterations with this, first using a narrower adapter, but then going for a wider base, though that may be overkill.

A under the hood improvement is the way the adapter mounts on the Fuji Instax Wide body, as in it uses an existing breech mount on the nozzle to mount and register the adapter. This results in a consistent mounting position and assured the tripod socket is always vertical and the mounted lenses end up upright.

Why is that last bit important? Initially I thought of that being just a cosmetic issue, but then Leong really wanted to use this with his Mamiya Universal Press 100mm 2.8, and this lens has a rectangular field stop on the film end of the lens and if that ain’t vertical, you’ll notice, to the tune of half a degree off.  It ended up that because of the internal light cone of the Fuji Instax Wide, this particular lens vignettes a lot.  So I’ll have to actually make a V2 of this with a replaced / designed in house light cone for the MUP 100 2.8 (or the 65mm 6.7 for the matter). Not there yet.

So while we’re at this, I tested this build with the MUP 100mm 3.5 and the 90mm 3.5 lenses and I recommend you use these. Another _good_ reason to use these lenses is that the original plastic crap lens that Fuji decided they’d use in all their instax wide cameras is a 90mm focal lenght lens. Thus the viewfinder it designed for a 90mm lens. But since the MUP 100 3.5 is a lot easier to find, I’d go fo it. It provides almost perfect coverage for Instax Wide, with only a bit of corner darkening at 3.5.

I also made a trivial but oh so useful improvement, I added a little raised plastic ring around the trigger button. How’s that useful? Before adding that, I would accidentally touch that trigger ALL THE TIME,, resulting in partially ejecting a frame and well, losing it. Same thing would happen inside a non padded camera bag. I once ejected a whole pack by mistake. While typing this I realize that I could really add an on off button switch somewhere (I think rewiring the existing on off may not be possible, or not really useful since there would be no indicator the camera is now on and I really don’t want to add an extra led for that). So there you go, something you didn’t know you need it but you really did and now it’s there.

And thanks for an idea by another modder/builder out there, I printed a little holder for a standard cable release that allows you to shoot the way you should, using your index finger to push on something. If you’re right handed. I know, I DO need to find a either hand solution.

So that’s that for now. With my 3d printers in storage till early July, I really only have one camera ready for sale (after I sent one to Leong), and that’s the one I’m currently using.  It has all those improvements, cable release holder, and two cold sockets designed for light meters, flashes, or electronic range finders. None that I use, but you may. This is the “all dolled up version”.  I may have another copy with no cold shoes or cable release bracket, but the adapter is reall tight (it was a draft) and I’m not comfortable selling that to anyone, I’d rather use it myself if the “dolled up” version sells,

So go ahead, buy your Mamiya Instax Wide from my Candy Store!

I’ll need to shoot a “how to” video to cover the eject part, but luckily enough, it’s a fairly trivial and consistent process with these Fuji Instax Wides.

project updates

So, some status updated on existing and new products:

 

  • On the same Impossible Lab mods front, I am working (and close to a working prototype) on a second iteration of either MUP or Polaroid 600SE Polaroid back, but with the claws rotated 90 degrees. Why? This way one can use the built in dark slide? So are your pictures going to have the chemistry on the side? Well, if you shoot in landscape mode yes, but both MUP and Polaroid 600SE have a left sided handle and one can easily hold the camera in portait mode, resulting in Polaroid Prints with the chemistry down! Did I forget to mention both cameras also have a second build in tripod socket in the proper place to allow you to mount the camera the same way? Yeap. Excited to offer this option, especially to the appreciable community of Polaroid 600SE shooters.

 

  • Due to the scarcity of Impossible Labs, I have been looking into using currently available itype cameras as the basis for Polaroid Backs. Unlike the Impossible Labs, the itype cameras are of course, real cameras not designed to be used in a manual mode, so the eject electronics is not detached from the rest of the camera electronics. So they require complete replacement of the camera electronics, and a new battery, since the onboard battery is again a sandwich of two 3.7V LiPo cells, now connected in parallel. I’m not here to second guess the decision to do so, but I think a single cell would be easier to service. Of course, these are not really meant to be serviced. Long story short, I have designed replacement electronics that provide automatic eject and they include a user replaceable 3.7 LiPo. So that’s done! Now itype cameras being… cameras, they don’t have a built in dark slide. That was the only design sticking point left, and I’m happy to report I have found a source for custom dark slides. Stay tuned, as this is the way I will take mods. These will not be offered as kits, as they really aren’t, they are full fledged camera rebuilds. I will be able to offer these for RB67, MUP/RB67, MUP only, and Polaroid 600SE only (the latter two rotated 90 degrees). To reiterate, these will have a custom dark slide and automatic eject.

 

  • So what happened with the Instax Wide projects? Well, they are not abandoned. Still have a manual instax wide back on the back burner, and yes, with a dark slide. This is thought for Mamiya MUPs or Polaroid 600SE.

 

  • And the super exciting Instax Square back for Hasselblads series V? Physics and stupidity failed my last attempt. BUT i may still have a way forward with this. Stay tuned. This would still be a motorized back.

 

  • What about an Instax SQ back for RB67? Now that’s something that SHOULD be easy, motorized and all.  If I get a breather (and once I setup a second 3d printer, yes, yay, getting a better one), I will probably get this in line, ahead of the Instax SQ for Hasseblad series V.

That’s all. Stay tuned.