Sunday, September 4, 2016

Free Camera? Yes... Free Camera!

Now is a good time to head over to Instagram and start following 2nd Shot if you already haven't. We're giving away a free SX-70 Model 2 that's been modified to use 600 film. Also included in this giveaway is, you guessed it, a free pack of 600 film! The giveaway ends at 12:00 PM EST September 9th and a winner will be chosen 24 hours later. It's very important to follow the rules on this one... we'll be checking entries :). First you'll need to sign up with IG if you already haven't. Next:

1. Follow 2nd Shot's Instagram page

2. Be sure to "like" the giveaway pic.

3. Use an app such as 'Repost' to repost the giveaway pic on your own page.

4. On your reposted pic, tag two of your friends in the comments section along with @2ndshotsx70service

5. Include the hashtag #2ndshotsx70 in your post (don't include the word "service" - just plain ol #2ndshotsx70)

That's it! And for those that haven't, be sure to head on over and take a peek at the new site at

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2nd Shot Part IV: A New Beginning

For 80s horror movie buffs that’s a little homage to the Friday the 13th series… very formulaic but man, those poster titles were effective. [Title + Part ___: = Tagline]. Great, now I’m gonna have to take a few hours to watch those again. Unfortunately the CED format died shortly before part VI was released (kinda biased on that one being the best… **discuss**) so I only have 1-5 on videodisc. I’m spoiled.

FINALLY! It's about #&$*@) time... here's the site I promised forever ago. Click the link below to be magically warped to a place where instant film thrives. All sales and repair pricing has been updated as well as customization options. Feel free to stop by and take a glance. There's still a LOT of bugs and shitty spelling (I think I spelled 'shitty' right - this page just became PG-13). As mentioned on the site's sales page, inventory is constantly being updated and moved around. I'll be adding more pages and items like film and accessories very soon. Also shirts, stickers, and other swag will make it's way on there too. It definitely is a work in progress. ;) 

So here we are… a new beginning, new chapter, clean slate, dawn of a new day, and all those other colloquialisms and metaphorical literary terms that I’m most likely using incorrectly. Apologies in advance to the grammar and literary police. This is an exciting time that I’ve been dreaming of doing the past 3 years and with Impossible gradually perfecting their integral format, the popularity of Instax films, and the launch of two fantastic instant cameras from Impossible and Mint, it’s the perfect time to promote instant and all film photography. No pics this eve... I'm pooped. Thanks and let's see where this goes!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dry N Crispy!

Had a bit of free time today to give a little blurb and check in… So here it is! It’s a bit dry and crispy here in Buffalo but it beats the hell out of the 7 feet of snow in my driveway 2 years ago. I’ll take dry and crispy over buried and freezing any day. Have a few new developments going on in and out of the shop and I have time to address a few things that have been brought up by a few customers over the last few months.

I want to start off by giving a HUGE shout out to The Impossible Project with their new i-1 camera and their new generation of instant films. I absolutely love what these guys are doing and how well they’ve progressed through the last few years. I’ll be getting my hands on an i-1 very soon and can’t wait to poke at i. Keep up the amazing work TIP!!!

Ok… shop stuff. First and foremost, I’m always looking at ways to avoid destroying a fixable camera for parts. There are some cameras that are doomed from the start like ones that are rusty, moldy, or dropped/cracked. But ones that are "all there" are very salvageable regardless of mechanical or electronic problems. FER CRYING OUT LOUD, DON'T THROW YOUR CAMERA AWAY IF IT SIMPLY WONT RUN!!!! Sorry for yelling. One part that I would often strip from sonar type models is the autofocus opto sensor (aka the pickoff)… I’ve wrote about that part many times and how it’s a headache to find a replacement. This part fails over time causing the camera’s autofocus to be limited to only 3-5 feet. Even when using a replacement from a donor camera, it’s not predictable when or where it will fail.

So after a little CAD work, some electronics research, and a few prototypes, I’m happy to announce I’ve finally built a perfectly suitable replacement pickoff that can bring the autofocus on your Sonar back to life and working like new! This will also eliminate the need for destroying serviceable cameras. I’ll be adding this service to the list on the blog and will also be offering these to others that repair SX70s so if your AF on your Sonar is going bonkers, please contact me.

Some really quick housekeeping… if anyone is actually reading this… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try to avoid sending your camera in cases or with accessories attached. Also, when possible, please take care in packing your camera for shipping! I’ve yet to remove a camera from a box that was padded with bubble wrap, air bags, or packing peanuts. I’ve had a few cameras arrive broken that were packed in paper or compressed cardboard. I’ll be updating the blog/site this fall so I probably should include a quick tutorial on shipping your camera to the shop. It’s best to wrap the camera like a burrito in bubble wrap, line the bottom of the box with either foam or more bubble wrap, and pack the rest of the box with either more foam or bubble wrap. It also helps to not piss off your Postal Worker. Finally, please make sure that when paying through Paypal that your address is current in your shipping info.

So that’s an update for summer of 2016… some exciting stuff coming up so as always, keep the site bookmarked and be sure to check out 2nd Shot on Instagram at

A few highlights from the past few months (as seen on IG but these were some of my faves)!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Team Up!

Spring is here! I can tell because I’m sneezing a lot… like really a lot. haaaaaa-CHOO! Time to brush off the cabin fever (and 10 gained fatso pounds) and get outside and shoot some film. The latest test batch of 3.0 Impossible film has my hopes way up! It’s a great formula and another step closer to truly “instant” film. Seems there’s a lot going on with instant film lately. Fuji axed FP100c and Doc’s out in Japan saving it, 3.0 integral from TIP is unbelievably promising, Instax is making its way into theaters (saw one in Deadpool last night) and hands everywhere, Mint released their TLR70, and everybody’s got fingers crossed for the new Impossible cameras. So what’s going on with 2nd Shot…? As I mentioned in my previous post, and probably a few others, I’m looking for different ways to take this little camera gig for 2016 and I think I’ve found quite a gem.

I’m pleased/stoked/jumping up and down to announce that 2nd Shot has teamed up with Polaroid SX70 guru Roger Garrell, aka Fastcat99, to offer top-notch quality sales of Polaroid SX-70 cameras! Roger has been a huge contributing factor to keeping instant photography alive by offering SX70 sales and service to enthusiasts and photographers since 2003 with over 4000 satisfied customers globally. Hailing from Lake Orion, MI, Roger is a degreed Mechanical Engineer with 37 years of experience in the automotive industry. High engineering standards and fit and finish principles learned in the auto business are applied to Roger's work with Polaroid cameras. He’s an active amateur photographer and shoots with a Canon 60D DSLR, a Polaroid 250 Land camera, and a 35mm Stereo Realist camera. Roger's other interests include astronomy, travel, and auto racing.  Very very cool factoid (coming from a VW guy myself) he’s a retired amateur racer and is a High Performance Driving Instructor with the Porsche Club of America. Did I mention that he’s a helluva nice guy too?

All sales will be through the 2nd Shot site and inventory will be constantly changing so I’ll be updating social media when new cameras are available. Please refer to the blog for pricing and always feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns and availability. Now back to this pile of “tested” Ebay cameras…. HAW!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 – Balance and Clarity

Yay! New post! I’m still here. I’ve been spending a lot of time over on Instagram. I’m still accepting cameras to restore and I still am selling cameras through the blog. In fact, 2015 was the most profitable year yet for 2nd Shot and still going strong. I haven’t posted since July which is embarrassing but I do have a really good excuse… honest. My excuse has a little to do with my personal life so pardon the “all about me” gush crap. This first part is more of a reminder to myself. You can always scroll down for some killer info regarding SX-70 fresnel mirrors. Mind blowing stuff man.

So excuse/reason. I have a pretty demanding full-time day job as a designer and my kids live in Michigan (long story) so I travel back and forth on a regular basis which takes up weekends. The day job is ok. It pays bills… it’s a lot like ‘Office Space’. I have 4 bosses and a cube. It’s a pretty tight, modern-day large corporate atmosphere with little room to grow and chock full of TPS reports. So essentially I wait eagerly from 8-5 before mild mannered Matt Q. Employee can duck into a phone booth and emerge as Captain 2nd Shot, bags under eyes and all. This leaves me about, on average, 4-5 hours an evening to work on cameras, answer 2nd Shot emails, update Instagram, take some studio shots of cameras, clean and organize parts, etc. for a total of 20-25 hours a week. 2nd Shot is my passion. I love doing it, I love meeting people, I love the history behind the products, I love the challenges, I love having control of what I do… but man am I tired. It’s a one-man show. At one time it was a 2 person gig but my marketing manager left to make cookies. ;)

So like the titles says, I want to find balance in 2016 but I’m not sure how to find it. It would be awesome if I could just say screw it and quit the day job and run with the camera thing but unfortunately it’s not that easy at this point in my life. Too many financial and social obligations. So I really have no choice but to find a better balance. One of those ways is to ease off certain areas of social media, like my blog for instance. I may not be posting here as often as I thought I would but I still will be on occasion. I definitely think it’s important to keep in contact with everyone and share some info and cool stuff related to instant photography. Another thing that I may have to modify is answering emails. I would really like to answer emails immediately as missing an opportunity for a sale or repair is bad for business. So if you’ve sent an email, direct message, instant message, letter, I’ll get back to you within 48 hours. Your business is very important to me and I value each and every transaction. Of course, if there’s anyone who wants to do some free admin work answering emails for me I could answer a lot faster. Just throwing that out there. No resume needed.

Finally, for 2016, 2nd Shot needs to be more about getting back to my love of instant photography. I look back on all the photos I have from 2011-2014 and they’re more about photography instead of “test shots”. I want to buy film with the intent of using it like I would a few years back when I wasn’t fully worried about a clear bandpass filter, lightleaks, motor strength, faulty flash fire assemblies, or other things that would distract me from what I was actually seeing through the viewfinder. All too many times I’m too focused on the function of the camera rather than the shot I’m about to take… time to step back and get back to why I got into this in the first place.

So there you have it. Not really resolutions but goals for the year. I will still take my time and work on each and every camera I get into the shop like it was my own. I’ll continue to provide the best service I can and keep close with customers. I’m excited to see where this year will take me.

***The Part that Actually Talks About Cameras***

OK, the optics on an SX-70 consists of 4 mirrors (parabolic, viewing, taking, Fresnel), and 6 lenses (viewfinder, wafer, inner shutter, dual outer shutter, focal) . Performance and viewfinder clarity relies on perfect alignment of these mirrors and lenses. If the geometry of the camera is modified all kinds of viewing problems arise, most apparent in the viewfinder. The prominent image you see in the viewfinder is a reflection from the viewing mirror, to the Fresnel mirror, to the parabolic. Most people reading this are familiar with this image showing light bouncing from one point to another within the SX-70.

What we never see is what happens to the light when the optics are not aligned properly. I’m not going to attempt to draw it nor explain it in detail (because I really don’t know how to without sounding like an idiot) but I can pass along some words of wisdom from my ID days at Cleve Art Institute that if at first glance something looks wrong, it probably is and you need to fix it. The best examples I can think of are shown below and these are the most common problems I’ve encountered when looking into a viewfinder plus what might be causing the problem. These are specifically related to the Fresnel screen and carrier. Focal issues within the viewfinder are a different issue. I’ll write about those later. How to resolve these problems is a bit more complex and I recommend sending your camera in for repair/adjustment.

Dark concentric rings (shadowing) – This is commonly found on Sonar models like Time-Zero and SLR680-690. Shadowing is primarily caused by the weight of the shutter and sonar housing causing the shutter mounting board hinges to slightly bend over time. It can also be due to the erecting arm (ha ha) out of adjustment. If you look through the viewfinder and push the top of the sonar housing toward your face a bit you should be able to see the image brighten and even the image frame become clearer. Worst case scenario is a warped Fresnel mirror.

Split-viewfinder shadows – This is caused by lateral misalignment of the Fresnel mirror, poor camera geometry, or in some cases, a loose viewing mirror. Often times a shim placed at the hinge of the Fresnel carrier, adjusting the erecting arm, or regluing the viewing mirror will solve this problem. Again, a warped Fresnel carrier may be the cause.

Dark spots – Dark spots are not always scratches but can also be fungus, dust that has settled into grooves, or even areas that have been worn down by opening and closing. Most often, heavy dust and even fungus can be removed or at least visibility can be improved with gentle (like really really gentle) cleaning.

Overall dark appearance – This is where you can barely see an image… caused by either the Fresnel carrier not seating properly due to a jammed light baffle, broken carrier hinge, foreign object, etc. This could also be caused by the shutter blades not opening entirely.

Lines – Diagonal lines like shown are caused by the bellows resting on the Fresnel screen actually pressing down the grooves. These are commonly mistaken for cracks.

Cracks, fractures, chunks missing – This is caused by a broken viewing mirror. If your camera rattles/jingles, the viewing mirror is broken. It’s best to keep the camera open as closing will cause the broken pieces to scratch and damage the Fresnel surface.

No image at all – the Fresnel carrier may be in taking position or not fully seated, the shutter blades may be closed, or the viewing mirror may be completely detached.

Ok… long winded and not in as much detail as I would like but a good discussion nonetheless. Thanks for all those who have supported 2nd Shot and instant film!... Here’s to a great 2016. Shop’s open!