Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shop's closed till 12/2. Everybody have a great weekend.. Gobble till you wobble!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oops... and a Sneak Preview

I forgot to go shopping for supplies this week. I drive myself nuts when I sit down to get to work to find that I'm out of Goo Gone, rags, soldering braid, and duster. Derp. So I took the time to prep a very nice Sonar that I'll be finishing up hopefully by this weekend... I also took some pics of my latest custom that will be up for sale Sunday night... :)

Shop's closed!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sonar and Alpha Out the Door

Quick update tonight... finished up 2 quick reskin/repairs last night. As I mentioned before, sometimes cameras get sent that really don't need a ton of work but just need a little tweak here an there. This Sonar from NH needed nothing more than a fresh film pack battery and a nice reskin. And for the Alpha... a new geartrain cover and a pickarm that needed lubed (the original skin was in great shape!). Simple fixes for these 2 beautiful cameras... thanks to NH and DC! Next post will be some FAQs so stay tuned. Enjoy these 2 pics... Shop's Closed!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shipping a Six-Pack - Farewell to "Pops"

Not a lot of new development but I finally was able to finish up on a six camera repair order... the most challenging group I've had yet. The Model 1s in this group needed a lot of extensive repair ranging from ECM replacement, shutter blade cleaning and fresnel lens replacement. I have to keep telling myself the same thing I tell myself when I'm working on either of my VWs... these things are old and just machines. They aren't programmed to mess with my mind. Always start with the easiest fix and troubleshoot from there.

Part of this group is a camera I call "Pops". Pops is the oldest camera I have yet to work on (it's weird I'm calling him Pops... he's not much older than me). He is an original 1973 first-year very early model SX70. At some point in Pops' life he was taken to a Polaroid repair center and fitted with a replacement split-circle viewfinder as was offered back in the day. The original Model 1s were built without any focusing aid and proved to be very difficult for customers to get good shots. Polaroid offered those with early models to take their cameras in to have an upgrade to split-circle for free... pretty cool huh? Another thing interesting to note about Pops is that his serial # is stamped on the chassis underneath the shutter housing unlike later-on models that had the serial # marked under the upper mirror housing. It's amazing to see how the SX70 started with a very complex shutter system (TON of parts) then became greatly simplified as models progressed. It was fun to work on this on and in very good shape to begin with.

Nonetheless, I'm extremely happy with how these turned out and again, many thanks to a customer that I consider being one of the people that helped start off 2nd Shot... Thanks Steve! Shop's closed!

Minty cameras!

Gotta have my Pops!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Polaroid J66 - Magnificent and Misunderstood

Hey kids! Time for something a little different. The last several posts have been a lot of SX70 nuts and bolts geekery and I wanted to switch gears and talk Polaroid cameras in general and the different formats used though the years. As promised in a previous post, I wanted to talk about some cameras in the 2nd Shot collection. It's not a huge collection but a good representation of various instant cameras from the past. I like using ALL kinds of instant formats... packfilm, roll film, conversions, integral, if it represents instant gratification, I'm absolutely fine with it.

2 years ago, Dubbs found an old Polaroid camera at an estate sale and brought it home for me. I admit my initial reaction was a bit of disappointment (great guy right?) as I remember reading about the rollfilm cameras and how they don't make film for them any more. Sure enough, the camera was a J66. Nonetheless, this thing looked really cool and I wanted to either find film that would work or modify the camera to take film that would work. A while back I read a blog post from a guy that goes by the name of moominsean (I greatly apologize that I don't know his full name) that inspired me more than I thought it would. You can find his original post here. Check out his blog if you can... amazing photograpaher and his posts are very entertaining. Basically his post describes how he converted his J66 and I immediately did the same.

So without going into too much technical detail, I hacked apart a film back from a crappy plastic 210 or something and JB welded it on to the back of the J66. What an awesome camera! Yes it's cheap and has a single element fixed focus lens and has a pneumatic shutter (pneumatic?) and weighs 175lbs and uses AG bulbs that make people think a bomb went off when using the flash in public... but each shot I have looks awesome. The results are a beautiful blur of a different time caught in a sharp black and white image. Because of how easy it is to use thanks to the electric eye and fixed focus, I can see why it was so popular back in the day.

Taken from The Land List:

Produced: 1961-1963 / Original Retail: $89.50

"Probably the most common camera in this group. This was a very popular camera at its time-- it wasn't particularly versitile, but it was easy to use, had a built-in flashgun, and was somewhat less expensive than its brandmates at the time."
  • Lens: 114mm f/19 or f/14.5 meniscus (single-element) plastic
  • Shutter: pneumatic rotary; 1/15 - 1/1000
  • Flash: built-in hinged tilt-out flashgun for AG-1 bulbs Flashgun can be rotated and pivoted to provide either bounce or direct flash.
  • Automatic exposure; shutter speed controlled by selenium cell; manual control not possible.
  • Designed only for use with 3000-speed (B&W) film, though a color adapter kit (#660) was made available later in the product's life.
  • Flip-up viewfinder with projected framelines
  • Simple two-position zone focus.
  • Self-erecting bellows on scissor struts; no bed.
  • Polished steel body with grey textured covering. 
Here's a few shots of the camera and some shots I've taken with it (works great with color film too but takes a larger bulb... you can see my daughter already anticipates the blinding of another shot). It's been a while since I've used my J66 (I also have an unmodified rollfilm version that I like to use on sunny days) and writing this is making me want to take a peek at using it again.

Really quick before I forget, we here at 2nd Shot (me and Dubbs) are also 3-D dorks... movies, games, images, comics, even lenticular bookmarks. It just so happens that a little company by the name of Robins developed a stereoscopic attachment for the J66 that included a split mirror attachment and a viewer. The viewable print is a bit narrow but actually works quite nicely... I love using this camera and I plan on using it for a long time or as long as Fuji keeps cranking out packs of instant film. Thanks Fuji!!!

Shop's closed!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tinkering in the Shop - Introducing the Alpha 600

Early November. Halloween came and went (a favorite holiday of 2nd Shot) and it's now officially always cold. Being inside more often gives me more time to tinker in between filling orders and completing repairs. there's currently 8 cameras in the queue and each has brought more an more challenges to get these working properly. With these challenges come some experiments as well and it's always a learning experience. Some new things this week... shutter blade swaps, icky fungus lens swaps, substrate conversions, and custom color buttons (coming soon).

Completed jobs this week included 3 Sonar "no skins". If you ever want to simply get your camera fixed and cleaned, 20.00 will be deducted from your order. I like to call these "Terminators"... they look pretty sweet. Also, currently up for sale is a very nice custom SLR680 that features an SX70 body... the bodies on the SX70s were much sturdier and built solid and makes a nice pairing with the 680 electronics. A big plus... no more of the Impossible 600 film divot! Check out the auction here.

And speaking of customs, today 2nd shot finished up a prototype of what we're calling the Alpha 600. All the classic styling of the Alpha 1 but this camera takes 600 type film. No ND filters, no adjustments, no fuss... simply pop in a pack of 600 film and away you go. All the features of the Alpha 1 are there - flash fill, tripod hole, neckstrap posts, and use either flashbars or and electronic flash pack. These are available for custom order so if interested, please drop us an email. Shown below are sample shots using 600 film.

That wraps it up for early November. Next post, look out for a completed order of 6 fixers that needed quite a bit of time and patience, some more shots of completed orders, and more updates on the Alpha 600. Time for pics... Shop's closed!

A few shots of a 680 shutter blade swap and replacing a fungusy inner lens on an older Model 1. Screws were used on earlier shutter housings but later were changed to heat stakes most likely due to cost reduction...

The Terminators... I'll be bahk... *crickets chirping*

the 2nd shot SLR680. Classy, distinguished, intriguing, handsome... and all that stuff.

And finally *drumroll* introducing the Alpha 600 prototype. Also shown are pics taken using 600 film. These will be offered with custom colored buttons... more on that soon.