Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Loading Pack Film

This is my fourth pack of Fujifilm since I got shooting with a Land Camera 320 in January. My interest came from seeing and holding a couple of Land Cameras, described here. Even with this 210 that was stored in the original boxes, I am having trouble with exposure and mechanical workings of the Fuji pack film. So unless I stumble upon another pack film Polaroid camera, I ’m holding off buying more film. Today’s blog commemorates my last pack for a while by showing the loading process. Here is the Polaroid 210 with the back open and the film loaded.
Loading Fuji FP3000B into Land Camera 210, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
Close the back and remove the backing sheet:
Loading Fuji FP3000B into Land Camera 210, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
The white tabs should come out here. These tabs usually pull off as the main film negative emerges from the other slot towards the back.
Loading Fuji FP3000B into Land Camera 210, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
And prepare to be let down. At least in my experience. This Land Camera seems to underexpose everything, so even when the compensation is all the way to lighten, it is still too dark.
Two wasted shots, Land Camera 210, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
Something went terribly wrong in my other Land Camera (a 320) with a previous pack of fp3000B. This time, the pack worked fine mechanically, though I shot 6 pictures so far and they are all dark like this:
FP3000b under exposed in Land Camera 210, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
I lightened that up some in the computer. It is a neat high contrast photograph of a stack of firewood. This repeated failure with pack film cameras tilts my enthusiasm for the Fuji Instax 210. About a year ago, I got excited about shooting some kind of film. I probably had to go through these adventures and missteps with the pack film Polaroid Land Cameras. Thrift store prices and the old-time look and feel of the Land Camera does have a draw. Once I was over the nostalgia and wanted my instant pictures to appear consistently, the Instax 210 does that job well.

Today, I stumbled into a recent good blog about the SX-70 that discusses the drawbacks of pack film cameras that motivated Edwin Land to keep innovating. After making instant film a reality, he really wanted to make it easier and achieved a considerable feat with the sx-70. People loved their sx-70s; an slr for instant film. I liken the Instax 210 to a late model, consumer grade integral film Polaroid camera. It is not a great camera, but it is much less complicated and more reliable than pack film. To use an sx-70 today, you have to try your luck with expired, expensive Polaroid film, or film from The Impossible Project. I have seen a method referred to as ‘cuckoo’ that can get you a reversed, single shot through an sx-70 on instax wide. Since getting the Instax 210, I have grown an deep affection for instant film and won’t put it down for a while. I’ll continue to hope for a way to use Instax Wide film in a better camera. The film has so much potential, I would like to see someone make a back for it! It is possible to put it in a 4x5 film holder and run it through a 210, seen here.

I wasted two Land Camera exposures here (too dark) before I put it back in the bag and gave the Instax a go.
Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Instax 210, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
Here is how the little Nikon saw that scene:
Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
I went out to Sisters Rocks for a relaxing sunset shoot. I really expected the wind to be howling, but I was pleasantly surprised by the tranquility above the beaches. The light was great and tonight again, I miss a good dslr body. I go back and forth on this, saying things about size et certera, but the D5000 with the 35mm prime was a very small dslr and vastly more capable. It still is small, but it now only does infrared. All right, enough whining. The sun is getting low (Nikon P6000).
Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
Looking south.
South from Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11

Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
I put the P6000 on a tripod and shot some long exposures of the sea. The straight ocean, when shot this way, is very different from waterfalls or streams over rocks. Looking down to the south:
Sunset at Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
And looking towards Humbug and and Port Orford to the north. There was a reasonably big wave that crashed during the exposure; big rock on the upper right hand side:
To the north from Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11
Here is an 8 second exposure well after sunset.
Sun has set Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©7/31/11

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