Photography is a State of Mind

Revitalizing a Polaroid Land Camera

posted Nov 18, 2013, 6:38 PM by Yung Amos   [ updated Nov 18, 2013, 6:39 PM ]

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Revitalize a Polaroid Land Camera

posted Nov 15, 2013, 1:13 AM by Yung Amos   [ updated Nov 15, 2013, 2:11 AM ]

Today I bought a #230 Land Camera from a user on a Photography blog. You may wonder why I bought #230 instead of others. Well, it has plastic case that can be drilled and cut easily. The end product in my plan will have a few switches, knobs and a number of LEDs, therefore a plastic case Land camera is a better option.

The condition of the camera is fair. It can be operated and the shutter etc. seems running smoothly.

There are two problems that I need to tackle. First is the rusty developing roller part and second is the "possible" light leaking bellow. 

I cannot test the light leaking at the moment coz I don't have a darkroom at home. A limited test with a bright flashlight in a dark corner in my house suggested that the bellow doesn't have light leaking. So, I will tackle my worry later.

But the rusty roller part, I polished it with fine sand paper to remove most of the rust. Some hidden parts, however, cannot be cleaned. I, therefore, used WD-40 to spray those areas and try to dissolve the rust out. The result looks good. I will place it in an open area, open the film chamber, place an used Instant film cartridge (stuck with thick tissue paper) and wait for at least 2 days letting the WD-40 to vaporise before I paint the polished area. Drops of silicon oil will be added by that time to lubricate the rollers and joints.


The whole machine casing (except the lens) was cleaned with alcohol. Some area with rigid dirt was cleaned with a WD-40 sucked cloth. DO NOT use water to clean this machine. 

DO NOT use WD40 on the bellow.  I have not figure out if it is coated with PVC or other kind of rubber,  but WD40 will harm these old synthetic rubber.  SO, DON'T use WD40 on the bellow.  Alcohol should be good enough. 

The machine is cleaned now, and is ready to be modified with a micro-processor controlled manual and automatic exposure camera.

Of course, I will take it out and take a few shot before I start modifying it into a digital machine.

By the way, #230 is a 4.5V machine. The ex-owner connected a CR123A (3V) with a AA (1.5) battery to get the 4.5V to work. I must, at here, emphasis NOT to do so. It may result in fire hazard. The energy density of a Lithium battery is much higher than an AA battery. You need to use batteries of same type to power up the gear.  3 x LR44 (PR44 is the best) is a good choice if you are lack of experience to hack electronic gadgets.

A few photos are enclosed to record the "pre-modification" state of the camera. 





Revitalize a Polaroid Land Camera

posted Nov 10, 2013, 8:02 AM by Yung Amos   [ updated Nov 10, 2013, 9:04 AM ]

My Polaroid Land Camera #240

Polaroid Land Camera is a piece of art in Photography history. It is a camera uses Instant Peel Film. You can now buy cheap second hand Land Camera from at low cost. Some modification to the battery compartment should be done as these machine powered by either 4.5V or 3V batteries that were not produced for long.

I have two Land Camera - A #350 with Zeiss Range Finder and Glass Lens and a #240 with Polaroid Range Finder.

Some repairs had been done to these two camera :

#350 - repaired the light leaking bellow with electrical tape 
#240 - rewired a broken circuit inside the shutter compartment to make the shutter work again, and make a 3xLR44 battery holder for this machine.

Both machine uses glass lens and the image quality are awesome.

These cameras are truly "Analog" Photography, even the auto-exposure circuit is running in analog mode. If you are looking for a complete experience in Analog Photography, I highly recommend you to get one.

As these cameras are coming from 1960s, problems or malfunctions are expected. There are many Land Camera enthusiast on the Internet, their experiences and the workaround suggested are a good resources to hack these machines.

There are some "gear-head" modified their Land Camera from fully automatic shutter control to completely manual shutter control. Those are so cool. However, it may not be convenience to the user when every shots have to be light measured and adjust their shutter speed before they can take a photo. 

What if there is a solution to combine the best of manual shutter control and the best of automatic shutter control?

Now, I am planning to revitalize another Polaroid Land camera, probably a broken one. Add in a manual shutter control with an option to use the "A" (Automatic) mode.  So, whenever I need an automatic shutter control for responsive photography, the option is there.

Here are the specifications:

  1. Powered by 6V (2 x CR123A) battery
  2. Power on when expanding the bellow
  3. 12 manual shutter speed
    1. 1/1000s
    2. 1/500s
    3. 1/250s
    4. 1/125s
    5. 1/60s
    6. 1/30s
    7. 1/15s
    8. 1/8s
    9. 1/4s
    10. 1/2s
    11. 1s
    12. B-mode
  4. 1 Automatic mode (A-mode)
  5. Operated by a AT89C2051 MCU
  6. LDR photo cell for automatc exposure measurement
  7. with X-shoe for Flash
  8. 6 Aperture size:  f/8.8, f/12.5, f/17.5, f/25, f/35, f/42 (manually selected)
  9. An LED indicates the electronic shutter fired properly
  10. 3-elements Glass Lens
These specifications lead to a number of models : #100, #230, #240, #250, #340, #350, #360, #440, #450

Model #230, #340, #440 have plastic casing which may be easier to drill but their appearances (after these 50 years) cannot be good as the other models in metal casing.

Now, the first step of this project is to find a good but electronically faulty Land Camera. I don't want to destroy my good-to-use camera without a reason.

Wish me good luck.

In the meantime, please take a look on below link for some DIY repair information about these nicely built Land Camera:

Light - is my drawing pen

posted Sep 29, 2013, 5:23 AM by Yung Amos   [ updated Jan 1, 2015, 8:03 AM ]

Exhibition Floor - Colour

The Exhibition Floor - B/W

Time Lapse Video by Ricoh GXR mount and Voigtlander 21mm f/4.0 Color Skopar Lens

posted Sep 22, 2013, 7:45 PM by Yung Amos

Time Lapse Shots by Ricoh GXR Mount with Voigtlander 21mm f/4.0 Skopar Color

Wish you a happy mid-autumn festival

posted Sep 19, 2013, 7:31 AM by Yung Amos

Canon 5D MK2, 400mm 2X, chopped, ISO 200, 1/125, f/11

The use of the Depth of Focus Gauge

posted Sep 17, 2013, 7:28 AM by Yung Amos   [ updated Sep 17, 2013, 8:19 AM ]

I have long been away from manually operated camera since 1998. My last manually operated camera was a Minolta X700 which was great for photography at that time.  It is still in my sealed cabinet as a "collectible" as the cost to take photography with film is not accountable when compared to a digital camera. Since then, I used a few DSLR cameras (Fujifilm S1, Kodak DSC Pro/C, Canon 10D, Canon 5D Mk2) and many digital compacts. 

Even I had a long history with DSLR and digital compact, I still miss the flexibility and the feeling of complete control that the manually operated camera will provide. 

A manually operated camera does not helping to get the compliments, "Wow", "Cool" in modern day because people already set up their expectation of the speed of a photographer should be fast and accurate ( as the AF and AE speed of any digital compacts are faster than a manually operated camera in every senses).  However, if you did understand how to operate a manually operated camera, you can take better photo at a faster speed than your buddies whom were using a digital compact or a DSLR.

The key to operate your manually operated camera faster is to utilise the "Depth of Field Gauge (DOF Gauge)" on your manual focus lens.

The "Depth of Field Gauge" is a set of markers to indicate the depth of field of that camera lens under the marked aperture size. Let's take below photo of my Voigtlander 21mm f/4.0 lens as an example:

Counting from the top to bottom: 

  • The top ring marks with 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 is the Aperture ring
  • The middle ring marks in red (ft.) and white (m.) is the focus distance ring 
  • The bottom ring which as a white dot in the middle and on both sides showing the Aperture size 4, 8,11,16, 22 is the Depth of Focus Gauge
The function of a DOF Gauge is to indicate the DOF of a lens under the indicated Aperture size.

In the above photo, the white dot is pointing to the approximate distance of the focus is 2 meter away from the CMOS Sensor (or film, in a manually operated camera). If you set the Aperture size to f/4, the DOF that this lens can provide is within 5 meters to approximate 1.3 meters. If the aperture size is set to f/8, the DOF will be within Infinity to approximate 1.0 meter -- or in other words, objects within the distance of 1 meter to infinity distance should be "in-focus" on the picture.

This DOF Gauge gives photographers maximum control of their cameras. There is no more mis-focus or out-of-focus as you can estimate the distance to the object, select the suitable aperture for the event you are participating, preset the focusing distance with the help of the DOF Gauge and let the camera choose the correct ISO speed and the shutter speed. Once you have preset your equipment and then you can focus on framing your photos.

The use of DOF Gauge will give you speed in photo taking. It can also eliminate the time for auto-focus, and allows the camera to shoot once you press the shutter.


- 17 Sept. 2013 -

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