Lo-Fi Photography

Home Made Polaroid Integral Pinhole Camera

Posted in Gear by Ray on 09.28.2010

I just made this conversion last weekend, using a Polaroid CB70 back, bamboo soap dish, spare wood, and a couple of nuts, bolts and washers from Home Depot:



Test shot on my deck:


Out in the field, light leaks since I’ve not glued on the box (just trying things out so I can make adjustments):


My Various Holga Setups

Posted in Gear by Ray on 05.05.2010

I have several Holga cameras that I set up differently for various techniques.

This is my infrared setup, using a Holga 120GFN outfitted with a 46mm to 49mm Hoya adapter ring, Hoya R72 IR filter, and a Holga shutter release set.


This is a shot using Efke IR820 Aura. It was slightly cloudy, so I had the shutter open (in the sunny setting) for about 3 or 4 seconds (this is where the cable release comes in handy).

This is my Tunnelvision setup, using a Holga 120N with a Lomo Tunnelvision 0.45x adapter lens.


This is a representative shot with Ilford FP-4+. The lens gives a wider angle, provides a more aggressive vignetting, and a distortion similar to a flipped lens.

This is my Holgaroid setup, using a Holga 120TRL with a Polaroid back attached. On a regular Holga the viewfinder is obstructed by back, so the twin lens reflex format is to me a great solution around this problem.


This shot was taken with Polaroid Type 84 black and white film. It’s a square format, and you know what Huey Lewis said…"it’s hip to be square."

As a glutton for punishment, I shoot dry plate tintype with a Holga 120WPC pinhole camera.


The 6×9 mask has been slightly modified with two strips of museum board to hold the plates in place. This is my first shot with the Rockland tintype kit and it was a 2 minute exposure on a sunny afternoon.

Zero Image 45

Posted in Gear by Ray on 12.13.2009

My foray into lens-less photography was through a Zero Image 45, probaly made in a sweatshop in Hong Kong, but I’d like to think it was carefully hand crafted by elves during Santa’s off season.

Look ma, no lens! Just a hole for the light to expose the film. This is the oldest and most basic form of photography. The concept was used as far back as the 4th century B.C. by the Greeks such as Aristotle and Euclid. Since there’s no sensors or fancy electronic doodads, I use a hand held light meter and the Force.

While most people would probably use large format negative film. My affinity for Polaroids led me to mount a Polaroid 545i back (secured by rubber bands) and use 4″x5″ Polaroid sheet film. Let’s just take an archaic form of photography and add a discontinued film format.

This is the camera in action under the pier at Coney Island. The sheet film is fed into the back then the paper sleeve (sticking out) is pulled out of the back and the film is left inside ready to be exposed (quite a simple, yet sophisticated system).

This is the result from under the pier at Coney Island. The images are ultra wide, given a focal length of just 25mm and a large format image size of 4″x5″, which can lead to some truly unexpected results. Mine also comes with an extra 25mm extension frame which when sandwiched in would increase the focal length to 50mm (still wide, just not ridiculous). The pinhole is around 0.2mm so effectively an f/138 which even in sunny conditions would require about a 1 second exposure.

Holga + Polaroid = HOLGAROID!

Posted in Gear by Ray on 11.08.2009

This is my plastic fantastic. One of my least reliable cameras to use, but produces some of my favorite images with its many low-fidelity characteristics such as vignetting, lens distortion, blur, soft focus, and light leaks.

Holga cameras have a large following with artists, budget medium format photographers, and toy camera enthusiasts that are not concerned with having the most megapixels, sharpest lens, and microscopic detail grabbing sensors that have all but sucked the soul and mood out of the image.

Holga + Polaroid = Holgaroid! Combining a craptastic camera with crappy film, how does the double negative rule work again?

I have the original Polaroid back that takes the long discontinued Type 80 pack film. I think it’s cooler than the new Holgaroid backs that take 3×4 pack film because the image from the Type 80 film is square…and you know what Huey Lewis said…It’s Hip to be Square.

It’s tricked out with a hand grip, making it seem like one of those press cameras….except of course it’s plastic with a flimsy tacked on viewfinder that falls off all the time when the camera itself isn’t falling off from the Polaroid assembly…see the metal clip that keeps the camera on the back? Then there’s the dark slide that I sometimes forget to take off (resulting in a blank shot), and the fact it’s a fixed aperture (my GFN has a sunny and cloudy setting but alas doesn’t actually change aperture size) and fixed shutter speed…forcing me to typically shoot only in certain light conditions (I like to set it to Bulb and use the force instead of a meter with this camera). Why do I put up with all the fuss? Because it brings all the joys of a scratch-off lottery win when the image does come out.

Here’s a picture using Type 84 black & white peel apart film. Note the heavy vignetting, soft focus, blur, and light leaks…but evocative in my opinion, and maybe just a bit eerie in this case.

The Start of Something – Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1

Posted in Gear by Ray on 11.01.2009

This is a Polaroid SX-70 and is the camera that started my Polaroid obsession. I love the retro faux leather and plated metal finish, it reeks of ’70s coolness.

Transformer-like, it pops open from a flat brick of faux leather to a single lens reflex camera, complete with glass element, manual focus, and exposure compensation.

Iconic good looks. This is the Cadillac of Polaroid integral film cameras, back when that would have been a compliment.

Here’s the business end with the view finder.

The camera uses integral film, which is what people associate with Polaroid. The camera ejects the film accompanied by the whirl of mechanical noises. Then an image slowly materializes like magic. Incidentally, waving the film around doesn’t do anything except make you look foolish.

This is from my first day with the camera back in 2002. I miss using Time-Zero film which was discontinued in 2005. Now I’m using 600 film with a neutral density filter. But even that’s discontinued. However, the Impossible Project based out of the Netherlands have bought Polaroid production equipment and have vowed to bring back integral film in 2010.

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