I know this is going to sound crazy coming from a digital photographer, but recently I've started to get back into film photography. Think of it as a hobby within my obsession. It started about a year ago when on a whim I picked up a Mamiya M645 from eBay. This is an all manual 120mm medium format film camera. I've ended up shooting a number of rolls through this camera with great success.
Around the same time I stopped by a local Goodwill Outlet and found that on occassion they had old film cameras & instant film Polaroids that people had donated. I've been stopping by a couple of times a month and since then have picked up 28 film cameras.
One of the cameras that I've enjoyed playing with is the Polaroid Colorpack III. This is an older "Land Camera". You know the type that when you shoot a photo, you "pull" the film out the back of the camera. There is absolutely nothing automatic about this camera. It's 100% manual.
|Polaroid Colorpack III Land Camera, a box of FujiFilm FP-3000b & a shot in my office using a Flash Cube|
The nice thing about the camera is that you can still buy film for it. Fuji makes a line of instant film the Fujifilm FP-100c and the Fujifilm FP-3000b. The first is a 100 ASA (similar to a digital ISO) color film and the other a 3000 ASA black & white film.
I've shot about 1/2 dozen packs through this camera, and the photos are great. Very 60's-70's vibe. The challenge is that you have to remember to set the ASA switch on the camera when you put in the film, and you have to play with the Darken/Lighten dial to get the right setting. It's basically trial and error. Another thing that's fun is that the camera takes Flash Cubes. I bought about 5 packs of Flash Cubes on eBay, and they work fine.
Essentially, all you do with this camera is turn the focus ring on the lens to the distance to your subject (you basically guess), you set the darken / lighten dial to the right setting (normally I set it slightly darken), compose your image through the viewfinder, and push the shutter release. You then pull the film tab on the back of the camera to extract the photo. You wait the proper amount of time (normally less than 30 seconds) and peel the image from the backing paper. And there you go.
If you find one of these cameras at a flea market or garage sale the main thing you need to check is if the battery compartment (inside the camera near the front of the lens box) has limited to no corrosion. If not, you simply put in 2 AA batteries and you are good to go. I've been lucky, both of the Polaroid Colorpack cameras I've found have worked great.
Here are a couple of scanned Polaroids from this past weekend's photo exhibit by Mike Arledge at Petrov Frame & Restoring. No hipster iPhone app on these Polaroids, it's all retro goodness.
|Photographer Mike Arledge shot with FujiFilm FP-100C|
|Our host & shop owner, Anatoly Petrov shot with FujiFilm FP-3000C|