Further adventures of the Polaroid 95A, The Massive Misfit

shoot-352When last we left the Polaroid Model 95A, the Massive Misfit, I was contemplating converting it to a new film format. There were a number of options I had found on the internet. People had used Legos to convert them to shoot 6×12 medium format. The most popular conversion for the roll film Polaroids was to use the Fuji peel-apart film. Those didn’t appeal, so I kept searching.

Some conversions to 4×5 had been done to other roll film Polaroids, and I thought about them. The idea appealed to me. The end result could be a light weight walk about field camera. It could be what the Wanderlust might be if it ever actually gets built and shipped. The idea was appealing.

One guy had basically used a wooden picture frame to fashion his own back. The other was a 3D printing approach. I tried the 3D print option.

The concept was created by Marco Lucifora in Italy. He had converted a few cameras using his design, but there wasn’t a lot of information on how well these were received. I rolled the dice and purchased the design files and hardware to see for myself. Marco has since stopped selling anything related to this project.

I ended up using Shapeways to print the back. It was convenient. I want to go ahead and join a hacker space here in Denver and learn in more detail, but my schedule has been crammed full and I haven’t been able to yet.

When I got the piece, it looked pretty good. It didn’t quite fit on the hinged end, but I created a work around. As soon as I had roughed it together, I went ahead and loaded a holder with a couple of shots and tried it out.

This camera has a couple strikes against it already. People widely hold the lens doesn’t cover a 4×5 well enough. At 130mm, it’s definitely a little small. It seems to do well enough, however. This cameras lens has a bit of fungus, but I’d cleaned that out will some Hydrogen Peroxide. The new back, however, is not what it needs to be.

shoot-351
The film holder mount, which I suspect leads to light leaks.

The focal plane is a little off, and what sharpness the old lens had is lost. I can fix that by recalibrating the infinity stop using wax paper to check the focus and moving it on the focus scale. But the big problem is the way the holder is mounted. It uses screws and clear plastic and flat pieces of metal and a number of odd decisions. It also leaks light, badly. I suppose the light could be leaking from somewhere else, but the mount is the first culprit to eliminate. I’ll see what I can do with some gaffer tape next go around. Ultimately, I want to redesign the mount.

This negative was dropped and scratched, but it still serves as proof of function
This negative was dropped and scratched, but it still serves as proof of function

Which is the good thing about the 3D approach. I have a license to modify and remake this part as I wish. I have all the original files, and so I will. It will involve figuring out the software, but I’ve handled worse. This Misfit will come back to life yet!

2 Comments

  1. September 18, 2016
    Reply

    Hi
    I am Marco, yes the man behind the Polaconv 3d printed back you have purchased. I would like to comment cause i feel happy about viewing people using and developing my idea but in your article there are just two or theee things that could be exained better….
    1. I haven’t stopped selling or making Polaconv backs. Files are always available on Ebay and ready made conversions can be bought directly from me.
    2. Focal plane is of course moved cause any 4×5 conversion puts the new focal plane out of the original polaroid cover. Mine is exactly 32mm behind original position so lens bracket must be moved according to this.
    3. Negative light leaks are not depending on the desing of the back but on the material you have selected to 3d print your object.
    Black strong and flexible material requires simply 3 o 4 hands of any black matte spray paint to make it become 100% light proof!!!
    Hope to being clear
    Regards
    And keep posting!!!
    I would like also to add my links…..

    http://www.polaconv.com
    http://www.facebook.com/polaconv

    Cheers
    Marco

    • Andrew
      September 18, 2016
      Reply

      Hey Marco!
      I didn’t see you on eBay for a while so I thought you’d moved on to something else. Good to know! I did allow for the focal plane by cheating with a ground glass to figure that out. I need to modify my 95A with a new lens stop so it’s faster and easier to get the focus right. I’ll try the black spray paint trick as well.

      Cheers!

talk to me