Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Snowvember!! - Ivory SLR680 For Sale

I was just looking out the window to watch a car crawl up the steepest part of the summit of Jewett Holmwood Road here in East Aurora, NY right outside the shop. He made it but not without a little driving drama. Buffalo Southtowns got slammed with an average of 4-5 feet of snow and are likely to get more. I actually had a snowday today (from my day job), the second in the last 2 years and a quarter of the city is shutdown. I've been reading on social media, everybody's first instinct is to stock up on booze and food... booze first... one of the reasons why I absolutely love living here. So needless to say this gave me some time to catch up on the business end of 2nd Shot and answer a lot of emails. Please keep an eye out for the next post to review a few issues that have been coming up involving film jams when using Impossible's latest batch of films.

*****The Ivory 680 is SOLD! Thanks for all those who stopped by to take a look!*****

Ok... finally! I'm proud to offer up for sale the 2nd Shot custom Ivory SLR680 complete with hardshell professional case, 2 packs of Polaroid 779 film (exp. 10/06 batch tested), tripod adapter, owner's manual, and SLR680 strap. This custom outfit is being offered for $595.95 which includes shipping (US only) and a 60 day limited warranty. Sorry but damage to the painted finish is not covered by the warranty.

I usually offer sales like these up on Ebay but I want to first offer this camera up to those who follow 2nd Shot and can truly appreciate what this camera represents. Please note that I do have a 100% positive feedback score on there so selling through the blog isn't a means of avoiding negative feedback issues. Bases covered. :)

This is a one of a kind camera that offers the same functions of the Polaroid SLR680 but with an artistic twist. The front and rear sonar housing and shutter faceplate have been media blasted, primered, and painted (matte clearcoat added) to offer a unique look that unfortunately was never offered by Polaroid. You may notice that there are no strap lugs on the camera, I'm currently in the process of replacing the bottom plate to one that has strap lugs. Here's a quick refresher of the SLR680 specs and some more info on what's included with this camera:

- 4-element 116mm f/8 glass lens
- Minimum focus - 10.4"
- Aperture range: f/8-f/90
- Switch between auto and manual focus
- Split viewfinder fresnel lens 
- Electronic flash - on/off
- Shutter speeds from 1/175 to 10+ seconds
- 2 packs of batch tested Polaroid 779 film (exp. 10/06)
- Unused tripod adapter
- SLR680 strap
- SLR680 manual included

Please keep in mind if you are interested that this is a custom painted camera. The finish is fragile and can be damaged if abused or mishandled and the camera, as with all vintage equipment, should be handled with care. Any abrasive material or sharp objects used on the painted parts will damage the finish, much like paint on a car or furniture. It's recommended that the camera be stored in its case whenever it is not in use.

Please contact me if interested in purchasing this camera. I would like it to go to a good home. Shop's closed!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's the Latest Haps

I think this October's been a record for hours in the shop. I'm averaging 25 hours a week once I get home from my day job. So tons of jittery thanks to Monster Energy for keeping me awake those hours. :)

Thanks to all those who continue to support 2nd Shot as well and all those doing their part to keep instant film alive! I'm open to new repair submissions so please keep the emails coming.

The Ivory SLR680 is now finished! I was hoping to have it up for sale last week but it needs some accessories still. This uses a Model 2 chassis but I didn't have a cover that accepted straps so I'd like to sell this with a nice professional hard case both for convenience of carrying around and to protect the painted finish. As for the tripod hole, I happened to have a mint SX70 tripod adapter on hand that will be included. My next post will have complete specs and pics along with cost.

Finally, sorry to be a total downer but I just wanted to thank my sidekick of 13 years for all the fun and love she gave. She would often lay at my feet while I was working in the shop. Gonna miss her.

Shop's closed!

Here's a quick promo of the Ivory SLR680 along with my new toy I pieced together...


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Do New Jersey and Hawaii Have in Common?

The SX70 population of each State just went up by 1! Just finished these up in the last few days along with the latest and greatest custom yet... the Ivory SLR680. I was searching for a theme for this one... Hoth Edition, Disney's Frozen (let it go), maybe an Xmas theme? But in the end it looked like it just needed a purist's approach and I would simply call it Ivory. There. I did it. By the way, this camera will be for sale soon. :)

Short and sweet tonight. The days are getting shorter and I'm about due for a break but lately I've been doing a TON of research on what really makes the SX70 tick - the electronics and circuitry and ways to repair them using modern day resources. I really don't know what I've gotten myself into with this but I'm determined to find ways to eliminate the "this camera is beyond repair... best thing to do is find a new one" mentality. There is a threshold as to what can be saved and what is best used as a donor, but I still stick to my original concept for this beautiful Polaroid revival I've found myself in... Every Polaroid camera deserves a second chance to work again. Shop's closed!

New Jersey (left) and Honolulu (right)

And finally, the Ivory SLR680. I really like how this turned out. Reallyreallyreally like it!!! It's a bit difficult to figure out what parts can be painted due to changing tolerances when primer/paint/matte is added but visually it works. Still some tweaks needed but this is going to be offered for sale next week on the blog. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gremlins and a Shop Update

I absolutely LOVE working on these cameras... I really do! There's no subjective thought involved when it comes to repairs. Either they work properly or don't. Rarely do I get frustrated and if I ever do it's probably because I made a mistake, accidentally broke a part, or in this case, face a camera that just didn't want to work properly. Yesterday I finished up on a Model 1 that I put almost 15 hours of work into. This camera seriously was an avalanche of problems. Once something was fixed, another thing broke or once I got the electronics stable, I'd get a current drain. I started to blame gremlins after a while. I have to admit I learned a TON on this camera, especially being able to properly follow a Failure Analysis Chart. I'll have pics of this one soon.

OK, for those that have a camera in the repair queue, I'm currently done with all repairs but I'm waiting on a new shipment of leather skins. I thought I was doing the right thing by stocking up on black and pebble black leather as I received ten SLR680s in the past month or so. Well, as soon as those came in I received seven Model 1s and have no tan skins but new ones are on their way. So I'll have this last batch finished up next week ready to ship by that weekend! After that I'll be able to take new submissions starting November 3rd.:)

I'll also soon have several cameras in stock starting off with 3 very beautiful SLR680s that will be for sale here through the blog. If there are any questions or if you'd like to reserve one please send an email.

Shop's closed for tonight but here's a 'before and after' of a Model 2 I just finished up. this was the filthiest camera I've had to clean yet and I got Popeye arms once I was done scrubbing but i think it came out beautiful!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October - **Update for Repair Submissions**

What is it about October?! It’s gorgeous out, the greatest holiday is just around the corner (yep… Halloween), and the shop gets FLOODED with repair submissions! Thanks to all that have continued to support 2nd Shot by giving their cameras a total makeover! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few people over the last few months on Instagram, email, and even facetime as well... Polafans are everywhere and it's good to see such enthusiasm for a media that was almost declared extinct!

However (ugh)... unfortunately due to the large amount of repair submissions, I can’t accept any new repairs for another two weeks. It’s no lie when I say I’m up to my elbows in repairs (check out the pic below) but I couldn’t be happier with the amount of work ahead of me. This really is a pleasure to work on these cameras and I'll be back to accepting new cameras very soon.

I had to put the “Building a Sonar” on hold but stay tuned for parts II and III where I walk through the cleaning and final adjustments of the camera. There will also be a special announcement concerning this camera once finished! **it’s a surprise** Shop’s closed!

On to pics!!! I have several SLR680s that I’ve been sitting on for too long. 680 parts, especially cosmetic parts like faceplates, are very hard to come by. Instead of waiting for donors and avoiding any more waiting for customers, and with a little background in auto body repair, I did some cosmetic restoration. Epoxy, wet sand, primer, repeat, paint, matte coat, BLAMMO! The results came out very nice and I didn’t need to shell out insane cash for a donor. Thanks to the owners of these cameras for your amazing patience. This was a bit of trial and error and I wanted to do this right and not some half-arsed patch job.

I realized that I have a boatload of Fuji packfilm in my fridge and really don’t have a dedicated camera for leisure use… I sold my Four Seasons 110a last year. So with a few hours to spare while waiting for parts to soak in solvent, after reading the tutorial from Option8 (this guy’s got some insane Polaskills), I hacked a Packfilm 250 to house a 127/4.7 Yashinon/Seikosha. I’m still working to get a correct focus but I still can’t figure out why I didn’t do this sooner. With the demise of fp3000b film I might have to start shooting more color. I’m ok with that. J

I’m making it a point to take better pics of final cameras to send to customers as well and eventually post an online gallery of cameras that I've finished. Here’s a Model 1 on it’s way to Singapore. Thanks Jake!

And finally, the waiting room as of yesterday. The Post Office is gonna love me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Building a Sonar - Part 1

I’ve been very busy in the shop these past few evenings getting two beautiful 680s finished up for a customer (the repairs include some faceplate reconstruction - more on that later) and while I’m waiting for skins to arrive, I figure I’d spend some time taking inventory of my donor cameras and see what can be gathered to build four camera bodies. Some chassis had been bent, busted hinges, nasty Fresnel lenses, broken shutter boards, cracked mirrors... but I found some really good parts that will make some very beautiful cameras that will eventually be up for sale. I figure I would post a brief rundown of how I build my cameras but skip the micro details like soldering, adjustments, and cussing.  

Part 1 will go through the chassis and body build as the four shutter/sonar assemblies were built earlier this week (pic on Instagram) and all I have to simply do is mount them to the shutter board and solder the flex cable in place. Please pay no mind to the clutter as the pics progress… I try to clean as I go but sometimes the parts and tools stack up quickly and I end up in an avalanche of what looks like disaster on the work table.

First I started with a bare chassis that was in great shape. It’s not entirely bare as all the mounting posts and some components are there but it’s missing the counter assembly, gear train, motor, flex cable, shutter/sonar, and fresnel/taking mirror carrier.

Next I found a good film counter assembly that had the switch contacts mounted properly. Sometimes when unsoldering the flex cable, the mushroomed heat stakes can melt off releasing the contacts. I’ve learned to lower my iron heat and unsolder away from the stake points.

Next was to mount the Fresnel carrier in place. As a side note, I make sure to gently clean the lenses before assembly. The Fresnel surface is unbelievably fragile and even some of the slightest scratches will show up in the viewfinder.

Next up is the gear train.

At this time I had an “oh darn” moment (I used different words) when I found that the donor rear mirror cover had a broken hinge. There was a reason this was in my parts bin in the first place I guess. Since the bellows are riveted to the shutter board on this model I decided to scrap this chassis and start over but using a chassis from a black plastic model. I really like the BC Series black and chrome look anyway so this little oversight will work to my advantage.

OK… fast forward an hour - I got all the previous parts mounted on the new chassis, installed the gear train, and closed the camera up.

Next up is the flex circuit with a reconditioned motor. I try to only use parts from similar models especially when it comes to electronics as many improvements were made as the camera evolved that aren’t compatible with earlier cameras. For example, there would be potential for all kinds of problems if I were to use an early model shutter substrate with a later model flex circuit that has a later style motor control circuit or MCC.

That’s about it for the body. I made some alignment adjustments and ran the gear train through several cycles to make sure everything will work properly. Then I mounted the shutter assembly to the chassis and ran several cycles. So far so good!

Finishing up, I found some good parts that will look fantastic when cleaned up and did a dry fit. There will still need to be some optical adjustments as there is a bit of shadow in the viewfinder. This is mostly due to the camera’s geometry becoming misaligned over years of use. It's not pretty yet but after an evening of cleaning this is going to look fantastic! 

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week which will involve parts cleaning, reskin, and final adjustments. Shop’s closed!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Big 2

While cruising the net last night (in between fighting with a stubborn model 1) I found some cool videos I’d like to share. There’s quite a few folks out there that offer some sort of service that gives attention to old SX70s but the two heavy hitters that have given me a HUGE amount of inspiration are The Impossible Project and MiNT (I'm not affiliated with either by the way). Both these companies have done a stellar job to take a defunct analog media and make it thrive among a crowd of high-tech disposables. The inspiration for me comes from the passion that these companies have for the SX70 on an emotional level and these videos do a tremendous job getting that message across.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alpha 1 vs. Model 1

I'm attempting to post via tablet so please bear with me if this turns out looking like total bananas.
Ok... I've had time to cruise online for some donors and "fixers" for sale, mostly on Ebay, and it seems that there's a TON of confusion regarding the identification of different SX70 models... specifically the tan/chrome models. I'll do my best to bust some myths (I've touched on this before but just a bit) and clarify some differences between SX70 Model 1 and SX70 Alpha 1.

First and foremost... what appears to be chrome or stainless steel is actually electroplated plastic. Early SX70 models have a brushed chrome finish while later models, specifically Alpha 1 models, have a matte steel finish. The only parts that were solid metal were on first generation Model 1s and Model 2s which was the aluminum shutter board... it can be seen when the film door is open under the shutter faceplate.
There are some exceptions though. I've seen some "transition" models that have both brushed and matte parts. Most often though, if the faceplate is matte, its an Alpha 1. It's impossible to replace a Model 1 brushed "chrome" faceplate on an Alpha 1 without modification.

How to identify an Alpha 1:

The film door ID plate - If it says Alpha 1, it's probably an Alpha 1. Though it's easy to swap film doors so check the other identifying characteristics below (as well as the matte steel finish on the body) to confirm. If it simply reads "SX70 Land Camera", it's most likely a Model 1. "Model 1" was never printed anywhere on the camera... it was always referred to as "SX70" until various models were produced.

Tripod attachment - If there's a hole on the bottom panel, that's a tripod attachment, it's most likely an Alpha 1. Model 1s did not have this attachment.

Strap clips - If you see these little bars on the rear of the camera, these are for connecting a strap. Alpha 1s had these. Model 1s did not.

Flash fill capability - While not a visual cue, starting with the Alpha 1 ECM substrate (circuit board) users had the ability to use flash fill in daylight shadow conditions. This was automatically determined by the camera once an electronic flash or flashbar was connected to the flash fire assembly. From what I've researched, all cameras have this capability with the exception of early Model 1 and some Model 2 cameras.

Focus lens scale - Early Model 1s simply had tic lines on the ring of the lens while Alpha 1s have distance increments. This isn't entirely reliable as some older Model 1s were retrofitted with numeric lens rings.

So why the fuss about the difference between the two? Alpha 1s are generally worth more because of the improvements Polaroid made with both cosmetics and electronics. From what I've seen, and often using these cameras myself, Alpha 1s offer better exposures, better fresnel viewfinder optics, and better electronics (more efficient and quicker motors were used as well). It's much easier to repair electronics on an Alpha 1... the later flex circuitry is so much nicer to work with as the risk of delamination while using a soldering iron is just about zero.
In a nutshell... Alpha 1s are awesome. Heck, all SX70s are fantastic! Just keep your eyes open before buying what some folks may call an Alpha 1. They're most likely not trying to rip you off but it will help knowing what to look for before you pull the trigger on a purchase. And of course if it doesn't work I'll be happy to fix it for you (shameless plug). Shop's closed!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Repair Updates – Blame it on the Pickoff - Immaculate Ivory and Alpha 1

SHAME! Shame on me… shame on me a million times. I haven’t been posting like I meant to the past few months but I’m still here and still gladly accepting cameras for repairs. I’ve even found the time to post a few for sale here and there. In fact, this is the most steady amount of cameras I’ve had in quite some time – on average 3 cameras a week. I’ve also been building a new portfolio for my artwork. Times are a changin' and I need to be prepared to pick up and “go” at any time so I’ve been dedicating some more afterwork time developing and maintaining my artsy fartsy skills. Add a day job on top of that and weekend travel, that leaves about 8 hours a week for me to turnaround cameras. I’m not complaining at all though. It keeps me out of trouble… :)

I had some time to go through my inventory and see what I have as far as parts and donor cameras go and I realize that I’m getting low on a lot of common needed components. The 3 most common parts that I use right up are lenses (half of the submissions I receive are coated with fungus), motors (time takes a toll on these suckers… most can be reconditioned), and sonar assemblies which I’ll focus on in a bit. When I first started doing this repair gig as a hobby I’ll admit I had no idea what I was doing or how to efficiently go about a repair. If the autofocus wasn’t working, the natural thing to do would be to strip it off of a donor camera and *blam*… good as new. Well now I have all these components that have been stripped off of several other cameras and I can no longer just swap assemblies because even trying to find a good donor anymore is a hair pulling experience. So the next step would be to buckle down and learn how to properly repair a specific problem with the AF. I’ve been doing this the past few weeks… relying a ton on my multimeter and troubleshooting charts.

Most of the Sonar cameras I receive for repair have a common problem - they all only focus only between 3 and 5 feet. I’ve had one that just coasts… it can’t settle on a specific distnace, and I’ve had a few that jump their focus directly to 10.4” (also known as ringing). Those two were relatively simply fixes that require adjustments. However, the 3 – 5 feet only problem requires sleeves rolled up, music cranked up loud, a non-shakey hand, 3 hours of spare time, and a HUGE pile of patience. There’s a little component known as the “pick-off” or it could also be called the encoder sensor. This part essentially “counts” the number of holes on an encoder gear as it quickly rotates. The transducer sends off a “chirp” that bounces off the subject back to the camera and tells the gears to set in motion… the pickoff counts how many revolutions the encoder gear has turned and based on the subject’s distance, determines where the gears, in relation to the focal distance, should stop… now focused on the subject. I’ve gone crosseyed thinking about how this works but let’s just say the repair manual does a much better job describing the theory of operation.

Long story short (too late), these pickoffs can go bad after time and need to be replaced. I performed this procedure last night and I’m very happy to say it was a complete success!! Pickoffs can be tested on their own using a multimeter and I found that I have a ton of them in my parts bins. The transplant required quite a bit of disassembly of the Sonar components in order to unsolder the 4 wires that connect to the PCB board so having a good solder workstation is a must for procedures like this. I couldn’t imagine trying this with my 15 dollar Radio Shack iron. Reassembly was the biggest pain as the gears need to be held in a particular spot in order to secure the lever arm that adjusts the flash tilt as well as maintaining proper focal calibration. So there's a new repair that I can advertise!

*phew* I want to keep writing but I’m breaking my own rule that there should be more pictures than words. So I’ll just add that I also found a decent remedy for overexposed prints by removing corrosion from the photodiode located on the back of the shutter PCB board. Removing the corrosion allows more light to the photodiode which results in faster shutter speeds and less light being allowed for exposure. So now I’m trying to make it a habit to check the photodiodes for each repair. Although it’s more work and in some cases, with older cameras, there’s risk of delaminating a board it’s worth it in the long run knowing the camera goes back to the customer working properly.

We currently have 2 cameras up for sale on Ebay. Check em out sometime! OK… I’m done. Shop’s closed!

Here's a shot of the pickoff replacement in progress... final assembly is shown in the diagram.

Before and after of the photodiode cleaning...

These cameras are currently for sale and are in need of a good home!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Got a Few Cameras For Sale!

2 months without a post?... shame on me. 2 months without a post and no cameras to offer?... shame on me 2 times. Repairs have been keeping the shop moving lately and we just finished up a wonderful 2 weeks with family but I found a few days to build a few customs that need new homes. Up for sale are three beautiful SX-70s... a Model 1 with blue button, a white Model 2 with custom silicone green button, and a black Model 2 also with custom silicone green button. Each camera is shipped with an UNUSED MINT IN BOX case for 185.95 and includes our 60 day warranty (only on the cameras). Please send an email if interested and stay tuned for more updates. Shop's closed!

**all 3 cameras are sold... thanks!**

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Edwin Land - Where the Heck Have I Been?!?!?!

Happy New Year Everybody! And we’re already 4 months into it… way to keep up with things, Matt. For those who have returned to the site to check for updates it’s evident that I haven’t really been keeping up with posts as I have done in the past. I have a million excuses but a few reasons so I’ll share those instead. I have been swamped with my day job and newly developing projects. The company I work for is going through major changes and has required a bit more attention than ever. I work 8-5 and travel every other weekend so time dedicated to the shop is limited. So many repairs have been coming in that I’ve had to estimate a 2-3 week turnaround just to be safe. Needless to say I’m trying to balance shop time, work time, and life and in order to do so I’ve reduced my time in the shop by a few hours a week. I haven’t lost my passion for Polaroid cameras though and I still see it as a wonderful hobby. I’m still collecting and taking shots in between repairs. In fact, today is Edwin Land’s 105th birthday!!! Happy Birthday Doc! Woooo! So please, keep checking the blog and I’ll have some goodies to post very soon including some repairs that have been done over the last few months and plans for new customs coming up!

I have to point out that I missed a few emails in the last month. I tried to link my blogger emails to my work email and everything just got automatically dumped so I greatly apologize to those who had to wait a week for a response. I have the bug ironed out now and all is good.

So in the meantime… here’s a pic (lousy phone pic) of a Sonar I just finished up last night. They’re a bugger to clean up but they look very handsome when finished. Also one of my favorite pics of Dr. Land. Stay tuned for more updates. Shop’s closed!