Polaroid 320 With Electronic Flash

30 04 2011

I’m becoming obsessed with this camera. It’s all the instant gratification of digital (actually, more, since there’s not the added step of waiting for the images to upload from a memory card) but with the bonus of providing me with a lasting print, plus a potential negative.

I’m still really having a play around, seeing what it can and can’t do – and let’s face it, it’s a 40 year old automatic point and shoot, so its capabilities are limited. However, since my first shot and my fifth, I’m certainly getting the hang of what little control there is. Obviously adjusting the exposure dial to darken by a stop compensates nicely for the slight film speed difference.

Todays experiment involved the use of flash. I noticed when the camera first arrived that it had a PC socket on the side, for old style flash bulbs, and wondered at the time whether it might be possible to connect an electronic flashgun successfully. After reading several discussions in the Flickr Land Camera group, and finding some extremely useful information on the Polaroid Land List, it turned out that yes, this was entirely possibly. I decided the best course of action would be to just have a go.

I’m using a Polaroid 320 Land Camera connected via sync lead to a Cobra Auto 210 flashgun (an old electronic model picked up from a charity shop for very little money). Of course, there’s no shoe to sit the flash on, so I handheld it out to the side, and possibly very slightly in front of the lens. Here’s a photo of J working on his own Polaroid 100.

Polaroid 320 with Cobra Flash

Te flash was directed straight at J, and there’s some overexposure on the wrist and hand area. I’d left the dial set to ‘darken’ one stop, mostly because I didn’t think to alter it, and I think it’s probably a good thing I did. I’m seeing some light falloff around the edges, but the centre all appears to be close enough in terms of exposure. I haven’t made any modifications to the camera, just plugged in the flash, switched it on, and taken the shot. No obvious issues with shutter synchronisation. Frankly, I’d have been happy to get any picture at all, so getting this was wonderful.

The second shot was taken at night, in the garden. Again, I’m getting a similar highlight around the subject, with drop off to the sides, so it seems pretty consistant.

Polaroid 320 With Flash

Pretty much all I need to do it work out some way of mounting the flash on the camera, so that I don’t have to hold it out at the side every time. I found a smaller flashgun in a charity shop today, so I plan to test that with the 320, and if it works in much the same way as the Cobra is doing, it might be easier to attach that one to the camera (even if it’s via the tried and tested gaffa tape method).

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