Bulb-i-fy Your Nishika N9000




Introduction: Bulb-i-fy Your Nishika N9000

Are you dissatisfied with the limitations of your Nishika N9000 camera?  

If you answered yes, you are probably a bigger fanboy or fangirl than I!  

I did a few mods on the predecessor to the N9000, the Nishika N8000.  Someone e-mailed me and asked if those modifications would work on the N9000.  I didn't know, but figured that it wouldn't be too hard.  As it turned out, I was right.

In this Instructable, we'll modify a Nishika N9000 camera to give it a "bulb" shutter speed. 

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Step 1: Camera Overview

I won't go through the sad story of the Nishika's adventures in 3-D land as they are covered here.  The N9000 is probably what the N8000 should have been.  Instead of all the fakery, the N9000 is what it is: a cheap, plastic, point and shoot camera that happens to have 4 lenses.

In some ways the N9000 is better than the N8000:

1.  It is small and pocketable (unlike the N8000).

2.  The image is actually better.  I'm not sure if Nishika listened to their customers, but the image area does not vignette like the N8000.

3.  Does not include the pretty useless meter system of the N8000.  No batteries!

4.  Has an actual lens "cap" in the form of a sliding shade that covers the lenses and the viewfinder.  That way, you can't accidentally take a photo with the lens shade in place.

5.  Has an aperture adjustment with only two settings.  The N8000 has three, but they change so little it only adds confusion.

The N9000 also has some of the standard features of the N8000.

1.  Hot shoe.

2.  Tripod bushing.

3.  Takes pictures. 

What is "bulb" and why would you want it?

I'm glad you asked.  Bulb is an old timey photographic term that means you can open the shutter for as long as you want.  Originally, you used a pneumatic system that consisted of a rubber bulb that you squeezed (hence the name).  With a bulb feature, you could take long exposures when using slow film or in dark conditions.  Many people like to do long exposures for star trails or "light painting."  In fact, the Nishika can give you 3D light painting!  Just what the hipsters are crying for!

Note:  The lenticular cameras of Nishika et al are ideal to use when creating "wiggly GIFs."  You will have to develop and scan your negatives before you assemble the GIF, but you have to suffer for your art!

Step 2: Disassemble the Camera

Time for disassembly.  This is easier to take apart than the N8000...more like a toy camera (which it is, but a high end toy camera).

 Locate the film supply chamber and take out the two screws and the metal tensioner.  Set aside.

2.  Locate the film takeup chamber.  Pry up the metal tensioner and carefully remove.  It has an orange sticker stuck to it.  Set aside.

3.  Take out the two screws located in the film takeup chamber (they were hidden by the metal tensioner).  Set aside.

4.  Carefully take off the front cover.

5.  The wrist strap, lens shade and the back catch will likely fall out at this point.  Gather them up and set aside.

Step 3: Attach Dental Floss

Time to use the patented dental floss trick to control the shutter paddle. You can use thin thread if you like, but nylon dental floss is strong and self lubricating (the waxed version anyway).

1.  Locate the shutter paddle lug in the upper  left of the camera by the shutter release button.

2.  Take your dental floss or whatever and tie it around the shutter paddle lug.  Ensure the knot is fast.  I normally add a drop of superglue to ensure it does not come off, however there is a risk of gluing the shutter permanently, so we'll skip it this time.

3.  Thread the floss under the shutter spring and below the screw support.

4.  Work the shutter a few times to ensure the floss does not inhibit the shutter mechanism.

5.  Work the floss to ensure it controls the bulb function.

At this point it would be very easy to add a double exposure feature by attaching some floss to the shutter cocking mechanism and adding a cable release bushing near the shutter release button.  I chose not to do them at this time because I didn't see the particular utility of those functions on this camera.  If you would like something like that on your N9000, e-mail me and I could either walk you through it or do an update to this Instructable.

Step 4: Reassemble and Finish

Time to reassemble and finish off the project.

1.  Replace the lens shade, the door closure and assemble the front plate.

2.  Thread the floss out the lower wrist strap hole.  Normally I'd drill a hole in the side of the camera for the string to exit.  In this case, the wrist strap hole was perfectly placed.  I will be leaving the wrist strap off the camera as it usually gets in the way of photos anyway.

3.  Replace the front plate on the camera ensuring the floss isn't binding.

4.  Pull the floss a few times to ensure the bulb function.

5.  Replace the screws in the supply and take up chamber.

6.  Replace the tensionors in the reverse order that you took them off.

Finishing up.

1.  Glue two rare earth magnets to the side of the camera.  One will be the "slack" magnet.  This will hold the floss slack for normal camera operations.  The other will be the "Bulb" magnet.  This will hold the bulb feature open for as long as you like.

2.  Tie the floss off to a ferrous washer.  Adjust the length so when attached to the bulb magnet, the shutter is fully open and when attached to the slack magnet, the floss is fully slack.


1.  With the washer in the slack position, the camera will operate as designed.

2.  To get the bulb function, Close the lens shade, attach the washer to the bulb magnet and open the lens shade to start your exposure.  Either close the lens shade or remove the washer from the bulb magnet and attach to the slack magnet to stop your exposure.

Enjoy your bulb capable Nishika N9000 Quadralens 3D camera! 

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