photo: Polaroid 600/SX-70 => film mod?

I'm wondering if anyone is aware of attempts to use standard process film in a modified Polaroid 600 or One Step type camera... These things are a dime a dozen at Salvo and other such stores -- I'm curious as to an adaptation to, let's say, 120 type film, is possible. Anyone have ideas? The first 600 I just tried to take apart is now in shambles, those puppies do NOT come apart easily that I can tell. Any ideas would be much appreciated. Still attempting to iron out bugs with Kodak Instamatic modification, so far 3 have been murdered in the process.

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ftno29 years ago
Ideally what the hack would involve is a conversion to a 3x4 graflok back. (the type found on a "baby" speed graflex), or full conversion to a 4x5 graflok back. The ideal camera is the Polaroid 680 or 690 SLR. (I have the 690). These cameras with their fast autofocus mechanisms are stellar portrait and square format shooters. The flash is super accurate, and the lens is nice and sharp. Given that Polaroid 600 film is discontinued and Fuji probably is not going to pick it up, this would be an excellent project for these cameras.
photozz11 years ago
that would be a serious hack to attempt. The main issue I can see is that the battery for driving all the electronics is in the film pack. you would have to replicate this somehow, and then fabricate a film stage at precisely the right plane and angle. Not to mention the roll mechanism. Then you have to get it light tight. it would be easier to pull the optics out of the camera and build something by hand instead of adapting the existing chassis.
peterrabid9 (author)  photozz11 years ago
I agree and understand completely, but I have a great love for lessons in futility. So far, the hardest part has been getting the friggin camera apart. So far I can tell, the hardest part is going to be getting the film to stay in that plane... still under consideration though. I picked up an SX-70 type instant today, maybe that would be more suitable due to the closer ISO speeds (my personal favorite being Plus-X at 125 matches closely). Any other thoughts would be appreciated, the things you mentioned occurred to me late last night. How serious is the issue of adapting optics to film sizes? I imagine distance from the lens to the film plane is the biggest concern. Thanks for the reply, I'll keep the world posted, I suppose.
well, if you can get the film to the same plane as the existing film pack, the focus and such would work fine. If you want to try and adapt the focus to a different film size, that would involve moving the stage, and recalibrating the focus, which I don't think would even be possible. You will need to rewire the electronics for a battery pack of some kind, unless you can find an older model that takes AA batteries already. I believe the standard 600 type film pack delivers 6v, so you could use a 9v with a 6v regulator, or 4 AA batteries..
peterrabid9 (author)  photozz11 years ago
Thanks for replying, it's good to know someone can imagine how difficult this is might be, and can help trouble shoot it. I stayed up late last night and started mapping the break-down procedure for the 600 OneStep style, which I will post some point for... whoever wants it. I think if I stick to a reel-to-reel build, one of the spools is going to have to sit outside the body, either on the back or the front. Ideally, i want to use the top half of the film pull-through as an advance mechanism for the 120 (take-up, naturally). 600 type I am sure will also require higher ASA film, like 400 speed, for better exposure, without monkeying with the circuitry like I have seen on other sites. I have one SX-70 OneStep I'm going to modify in time, but the first attempt will be a cheaper and easier version. So far, I've got the guts operating without the outer casing, which helps me understand how the mechanics work to a degree. A friend gave me a bunch of the old battery packs from the cartridges, so I hotwired one to the thing so I could run it sans cartridge. For power source, AA's seem to be best bet since they're user-serviceable, and 6V is dead on. The whole point of this venture is to make this something other people could do if inclined, so I don't want this to be a truly complicated process. I know the exposures won't be dead on the film, and that's okay -- this is a silly undertaking in an effort to make kooky medium-format cameras out of junkstore specials. On that note, do you think this might be worth attempting with larger 4x5 inch sheet negative? Light management would be the biggest issue, I would imagine. Thanks again for the advice, I'll take what I can get.
Hi, Did you ever get any further in this project using 4x5 sheet film. I have over 1000" of this stuff in aerographic format(@asa125) plus-X and besides my pinhole / ULF format projects I need a new toy. Sure would be nice to use a SX70 with 4x5 sheet and a external battery pack. Surely if you can stuff a a 4x5 film holder into a speed graphic ......we can come up with a way to put one in a SX70. Cheers Rob
peterrabid9 (author)  avrial9 years ago
Hey Rob. I never did make more progress on this project, but I think about it often, and just recently met some more people that might be able to shed some light on the concept. I think an SX70 might be a little weak, but I have come across some older pack-film Polaroids, larger models, that might better qualify since it will support ASAs of 75 or 150 (or 3000 -- yikes!). Is the film in a roll format, or pre cut into sheets? Let me know if you get any other ideas, I love this concept and can't let it go. Regards, -p
to help with the 120 film, look for spare MAMIYA or such interchangeable roll film backs from ebay.. You can sometimes find them cheap. That would take care of keeping it mostly light tight, as well as how to actually "roll" the film forward. ..