Mystery Camera and Polaroid Results

16 04 2011

Well, first up, I’m hoping someone out there can help me identify a camera. *Identified (sort of). See bottom of post for details.

Whilst looking through the huge piles of old family photographs (I’m ever thankful that my family have always been very snapshot-y, and so we have plenty of photographic history) I found a photo of myself aged about 7 or 8, with what appears to be a yellow camera around my neck. Now, I don’t know if this was a toy (as in, non-working plaything), or a functioning camera, but I don’t recall it at all. That surprises me, since although my long term memory is pretty patchy for a number of reasons, I do remember the Kodak autofocus point and shoot I had when I was not much older than in the photograph, and since I’ve always been pretty interested in photography, it seems like something I should remember.

Here’s the photograph.

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And a blurry close up (best my bog-standard scanner/printer combo could do).

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If anyone can help identify it, I’d be hugely grateful. If it does turn out to be a potentially functional camera, I am TOTALLY going for a lengthy root around the attic.

Next up, the results from the Polaroid 320. Ohhhhhh!

The old battery was still in there, and had predictably leaked everywhere, so I spent a while extracting that and cleaning up the compartment and contacts. After a little Googling, I managed to fine out that there were a few options for battery replacement.
One, buy a direct replacement (there’s newer, safer replacement versions on Ebay for around £12).
Two, convert the wiring to accept AAA batteries (not difficult, this video is pretty good at explaining, although my model runs on 3v not 4.5v as mentioned).
Three, gaffa tape the original contacts onto a 3v camera battery.

Oh hell yes. That’s the way I roll.

I found a CR123A is fat enough to jam nicely into the battery compartment, although a regular (slightly smaller) CR2 is also 3v and should work fine (but you might need a bit more gaffa tape/padding to stop it rattling around).

There was a moment of confusion regarding testing that the batteries were working. It seems that you need to cock the shutter, hold a finger over the electronic eye, then when you release the shutter there should be one click, then a second click once you remove your finger from the eye. I wasn’t getting the click. Then I tried keeping the shutter button held down until I ook my finger away. Yup, two clicks.

Still wasn’t entirely convinced, so entered ‘ahhhh, fuck it’ mode, and loaded up the pack of film to have a go.

There’s two speed settings, 75 and 3000. originally, these were for colour (75) and high speed black and white (3000). Since my Fuji film is ISO100, I set it to the 75 mode.

Here’s the first shot 🙂 I’d say it appears to be working just fine. I had a bit of trouble with the parallax correction marks (as in, I totally didn’t see them) hence the head-chopping. Actually, it took all three photos before I finally twigged where they were exactly, so hopefully, my framing on the next shot will be much better.

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The second shot was taken a little later on, when the light was becoming more subdued, so I tried switching the ‘lighten/darken’ settings to slightly lighter (a dial on the front allows you to do this, essentially offering very basic exposure control). I didn’t realise quite how much each notch would affect the shutter speed, though, and went two notches towards lighten, accounting for the slight blur.

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And finally (for now) the third shot, taken again in bright sunlight with the exposure dial set to normal. I’m thinking maybe a notch towards darken in sunshine this bright might be beneficial, but like the first, it’s surprisingly clear and sharp for a very basic 40 year old camera.

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So, it’s safe to say I’m pretty thrilled with my purchase 🙂 I’ve got a few more packs of film to get through, and I’ve just ordered a pack of black and white Fuji FP-3000, which should work nicely with the camera set to the 3000 mode. Much more on this later, since I’m rather loving this camera. All the instant gratification of digital, and SO much more fun 😉

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UPDATE: I finally managed to get hold of my mam on the phone, and after a lot of attempting to describe the camera, I told her “it was on a blue string…” which jogged her memory. Apparantly it was just a toy, non-functional, which is a little anti-climatic. Although I’m kind of happy that I was interested in cameras enough at that age to want to have one to pretend to take photos with *chuckle*

I’m still kinda into the idea of finding it, if only for cute, sentimental value, since it looks pretty nifty from that photograph. But if it’s still around at all, it’ll either be in my gran’s attic or shed, and both those places are dusty, spider-filled, and full of years and years of hoarded objects, belonging to not only my grandparents, but also to myself, my sister, my mother, and goodness knows who else!

Still, spiderwebs notwithstanding, the idea of digging around years of *stuff* is certainly a little appealing. For much the same reasons that I enjoy spending time hunting through antique shops, vintage fairs, carboot sales and charity shops; you just never know what cool stuff you’re going to find.

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