Shooting Instant Film on Medium Format

June 5, 2019

Disassembled Polaroid Sun 635 QS

Background

Since the demise and rebirth of Polaroid, one thing that has become increasingly difficult is the ability to test medium format film shots instantly on shoot. I’ve begun thinking about experimenting with shooting instant film on medium format cameras.

Lots of medium format cameras had Polaroid backs allowing you to swap from colour negative film to polaroid/instant, to show the client etc. the shot instantly.

The majority of these used peel-apart style film (Type 100). This is what I used when I first had a medium format camera with a Polaroid back. Not long after, the Polaroid version of this film was discontinued but fortunately Fuji were making their own version, the FP-100C. However, this was also discontinued a few years back and the second-hand supply is running low (and expensive) on eBay and elsewhere.

The solution for many photographers (other than having stocked up or paying through the nose for FP-100C now) is to use a tethered digital camera to test the shot, something I’ve done often.

However, I prefer the instant film solution as I am more fond of practical and tactile workflows. I think the digital often doesn’t do film results justice (in some situations it does, don’t get me wrong). And I also prefer to have something I can stick into my ongoing scrapbooks.

First stage of research into shooting medium format instant was disassembling this Polaroid Sun 635 QS
Polaroid Sun 635 QS innards

Plans

With all that said, I’ve been toying with ideas and researching interesting camera engineers and hobbyists, looking for practical solutions. I’m still a complete amateur and this is purely for my own interest and enjoyment, but I plan to record the results and post them up here as I make progress.

I hope to make solutions for shooting instant film on medium format cafor my Pentax cameras and possibly some more original instant contraptions – likely utilising Instax due to its low price and ubiquity.

Shooting medium format instant film will involve rollers like in this Instax patent diagram

Resources

Here are some interesting links and projects I’ve come across on the subject:

I’d love to hear from anyone experimenting themselves, or if you know of any similar articles etc.!