Improving A Modern Instant Camera

Instant film never went away – Fujifilm has been producing instant film for decades before Polaroid ceased production. Yes, cries of a lost photographic heritage were all for naught, and you can still buy an instant camera. [Dan] picked up a Fujifilm Instax Wide camera – an instant camera that produces not-square images – and figured some electronic tinkering could vastly expand the capabilities of this camera. He took it apart and made some modifications, giving it a bulb mode for long exposures and multi-exposure capability.

[Dan] began his tinkering by figuring out how to put multiple exposures on one frame of film. The Instax Wide camera has an eject sensor, a wire for the shutter button, and a few wires leading to the motor. By adding a switch to turn off the motor and a pushbutton to bypass the ejection sensor, [Dan] can stack multiple exposures on a single frame of film.

Multiple exposures are one thing, but how about longer exposures for light painting and all those other cool things you can do with microcontrolled LEDs? Modding the camera for that is pretty easy. All you need are a few mini toggle switches. It’s just a simple matter of opening the shutter for as long as you need, painting a scene with light, and flipping a few more switches to eject the film. [Dan] is getting some pretty respectable exposures with this – somewhat impressive considering the camera’s fixed aperture.

10 thoughts on “Improving A Modern Instant Camera

  1. Smart hacks. I remember once I heard someone say that instant film pictures were the “best evidence” of somthing because they “can’t be faked”, seems a hack like this could be fun, like a double exposure photo of you and say a dinosaur model or a toy ufo.

      1. There was a device for printing digital images from a memory card onto Polaroid 500 pack film, so you could have “evidence” of anything you could cobble together using a paint program.
        I think that I might still have one lurking in one of storage boxes…

        1. There is all kinds of that sort of devices. The SP1, the Pro Palette Series, the Minilab, the Minilab Jr, the Prolab, the Laserimage etc etc. The Polaroid 500 is integral film btw, not a pack film.

  2. I’d like to see a digital film pack for old Polaroid instant cameras. Would be lots of room for a huge LiPo battery. Pop open the film door to access USB data/charge port and micro SD slot.

    There would need to be something like a lens and mirror to unfurl inside the camera to focus the reflection from the camera’s mirror onto a small image sensor, or completely intercept the light as it comes into the lens.

    A sensor as large as the film’s image area would be prohibitively expensive, unless you want to take gigapixel images with an old Polaroid.

    Closer to doable would be a digital 110 or 126 cartridge.

  3. “[Dan] is getting some pretty respectable exposures with this – somewhat impressive considering the camera’s fixed aperture.”

    This sentence does not make sense to me.
    The Instax 100,200 and 210 have a 95mm Fujinon 2-component f14 lens. Why would you expect bad exposures with that kind of a 2-element lens just because the exposure is fixed?

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