The Frankencamera Mark 2: The final chapter, 15 December 2023

The Frankencamera Mark 2: The final chapter, 15 December 2023.

After cleaning the body and lenses of the generic folding camera from the 1920s it was time to prepare the film holders for use with Instax Wide film. I had already checked the size of Instax Wide film and although it would tight, they should fit.

Using thin plastic from a folder I cut three 9x12cm pieces, one for each film holder. I checked that each would fit in a holder a d then overlaid a piece of Instax Wide film and marked where the corners would go. The frame is a little of centre, but I can live with that. I then cut slits in three of the corners to hold the film in place. I only cut three because the fit was really tight and close the the edge of the plastic 'film'.

In the dark bag I loaded one Instax Wide film into each of the three film holders and headed out. Because of my own stupidly in opening the Instax 100 camera back and exposing an unused film (I thought it was empty but there was a cassette loaded) I actually lost the first frame, but I exposed as follows: Using the Camera Meter app I made my first exposure for ISO 800 and a shutter speed of 1/100s and set the aperture accordingly. For the second exposure I used an aperture equivalent to 1/50s, and then for the third exposure set the aperture again to the meter reading for 1/100s. After exposing the three films I returned home and loaded the films back into an empty Instax Wide cassette. I then reloaded this into the camera and 'shot' the three films while covering the lens. As each film was ejected the chemical pod was burst and development began.

Apart from the first exposure, which was lost when I opened the Instax 100 camera, the remaining two images came out really well. Even though I had exposed one at 'box' speed and one at what should have been well overexposed — I understand that Instax film is unforgiving to under/overexposure — had I not known it was hard to tell which one was at 'box' speed and which at 1/50s. I think that the camera exposes slightly better at 1/50s, so I suspect that the shutter speeds in the camera are not accurate, but I shall try again and see what we get.

Using film holders and dark slides again for the first time in 40-odd years (I had a 4x5 monorail camera in the 80s) was a little daunting, but I quickly got into the rhythm and only forgot to lift the dark slide once. This whole exercise with the Frankencamera Mark 2 has been wonderful, especially my success in cleaning an otherwise nearly unusable lens. My intention with this camera now is to use it in next years Frugal Film Project. But it'll get its grand unveiling during Jankuary, a new Challenge arriving in the New Year that's a mishap of old and new technology. 

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