Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Polaroid Super Shooter to Pinhole Conversion

I converted a vintage Polaroid Super Shooter to a pinhole camera - giving me an instant pinhole camera. I mostly followed the steps in this video on youtube. There are 3 videos in this series. It is good background for making the pinhole camera.

I picked up a Super Shooter at a local fleamarket for $10. You want to be sure to get one with steel rollers and not the spreader thingy. Make sure the rollers are in good shape. It doesn't matter what shape the shutter/lenses/battery contacts are in - these are not used anyway.

The guy in the video trims down the camera to decrease the focal length. I did not.

I removed all the battery stuff. This exposed 3 screws which I removed allowing the front part of the camera including the shutter and lenses to come off. I also removed the flashbulb attachment. My camera didn't have a timer, but if yours does - decide whether or not to keep it or remove it.You can also remove the hinged film pack holder. After that you are ready to build the camera. I masked off the insides of my camera and painted the outside with spray paint made for plastic. I painted it a bright red. I like the look.

I made up the front piece of the camera and shutter from black Canson conservation board. This board is black all the way through and nice and stiff. I got a 16"x20" piece from Hobby Lobby. I purchased my pinhole assembly from fireseller66 on Ebay. I bought a 0.4mm Laser drilled pinhole. In hindsight, I wish I had got a smaller diameter - more on that later. This assembly has a small piece of copper with a pinhole glued onto a 19mm diameter washer. I cut a piece of board the size of the front of the camera and punched a 12.25mm hole in the center. I centered the pinhole assembly on this hole and glued with instant glue. Then, I layered another board on top with a 16mm hole. I glued this on with white PVA glue. I built up the shutter as in the video and attached with white PVA glue. Here is the end result.

I epoxied a 1/4"x20 threaded insert into the plastic box area that was the viewfinder. Again, this was similar to what the guy did on the video. I used the 6 min JB weld. Worked great.

The problem with such a large pinhole is that outside in sunshine a 3 sec exposure is all that is needed. It's nearly impossible to manipulate the shutter without moving the camera, so getting sharp images will not be easy. I am used to using photo paper in a pinhole camera and this paper is so slow that it is very forgiving for movement. I used 100 speed Fuji Instant B&W film which is no longer being produced. I started with 20 sec exposure which was washed out. Reduced to 10 secs and the image was better. Reduced to 5 secs and just about right. Somewhere between 3 and 5 sec exposure in sunlight gives the right exposure.

Here are some images made on the camera.