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Recommend a land camera please
Old 09-12-2012   #1
andrew00
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Recommend a land camera please

hey,

i've a friends wedding in a month and she's asked me and a buddy to do something visual as our wedding gift.

we had a ponder and i came up with the following idea - i'd take instant portraits of the guests/couples, we'd stick the photos in a guestbook and get their family/friends to enter, under their photo, a fun message. i thought it'd make a nice 'alternative' guestbook vs the more traditional one they'll have, something more cheeky!

i've owned a sx-70 before but i never liked the impossible project film tbh, too temperamental.

ergo i'm looking at using fuji fp100c film and getting a land camera to go with it, they don't see too expensive on ebay, and using that for my pictures.

i was wondering therefore if anyone could recommend a good camera to get, aka a recommended model, for use with this film.

i've been reading a few don't really like it, i'm not looking for a headache, something that can do the job of taking a solid number of pictures (60+) and isn't going to freak out would be great!

a x
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Old 09-13-2012   #2
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600SE

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Old 09-13-2012   #3
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For your particular scenario I would probably go with instax rather than FP100-C for minimum hassle. Unless of course, you want the negs.

Or maybe I'm just bitter because I keep getting dust and hair onto the polaroids as they dry
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Old 09-13-2012   #4
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Hi Andrew, I own a shop in San Francisco that specializes in instant cameras of all kinds. For weddings and such, I often recommend a Fuji Instax (either the wide or the mini) instant camera over a vintage Polaroid. The Instax film and cameras are inexpensive, reliable, easy to use and take great pictures in a variety of conditions.

If you do want to go with a Polaroid pack film camera, get a model with a range finder and "scene selector". These include the model 100, 240, 250, 350, 355, 360, 450. If you buy one on ebay you will probably need to replace the 4.5 volt battery, which can be hard to find.

Another challenge shooting with these old cameras is that they don't have flash. While the Fuji FP100c is excellent film, it is relatively slow, so you will need to be shooting in a very bright room or outside in daylight. Again, this is why I prefer the Fuji Instax cameras for events, since they have built-in flash.
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Old 09-13-2012   #5
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Polaroid Image 1200, with Impossible Project B&W film. Nicely compact, flash built-in if you need it, anybody and their mother can use it. I did just that at a wedding a month ago.
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Old 09-13-2012   #6
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Polaroid 195. Nice thing about this model is that it has fully adjustable shutter speeds and aperture, has a nice lens, and you can plug a portable flash/studio flash/Pocket Wizard etc into it via the PC connection (and with the camera's leaf shutter, it will synch at any speed). I used one for almost 10 years shooting exactly what you're planning on doing (except I shot more like 300 in a night). Produces a great, reliable result.

I also like Roger's suggestion of the 600SE, or the Mamiya Press.
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Old 09-13-2012   #7
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Polaroid 250. Test it beforehand. The auto eye may be a little off, but you can compensate for it with the darken/lighten dial. Easy to use, quick to focus and works with flash.

I did exactly as you propose in a wedding in Feb this year. One difference, instead of a guest book, the grooms's son and I made a composite of over 20 polaroids filling a large frame, ready to be presented to the couple before the evening was over. The rest of the time I took portraits and gave the prints away on the spot. A big hit.

If however you wish to continue doing polaroid in the future, I would go with Roger's recommendation. A 600SE .
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600se or fuji instax
Old 09-13-2012   #8
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600se or fuji instax

if the fuji fp100c film is a must I suggest to look for a 600 se with the 127mm lens + flash and also check the tread: Fuji FP-100C and Tiffen 812 = WOW!
the 600 se is not the cheapest solution but it is very reliable and you can buy and sell it easily if you want to use it only for the wedding.
any other packfilm camera, the "professional" 180, 195 or the automatic 100, 250 etc.. will be fine but you must find out one already tested to prevent any bad surprise and eventually get a flash + bulbs.
one more thing to consider:
600se accept standard filter (55mm), min focus distance 1.1 mt
packfilmcameras have dedicated filters but you can get a portrait kit (generally available on evilbay) for closer focus (about 50 cm if I remember correctly).

if you prefer an integral film go for a fuji instax (maybe a better solution as you only have one month to go)
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Old 09-13-2012   #9
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Hey,

Thanks for all the suggestions! The 600SE would certainly be my top choice, but I can't really afford it tbh, I'd like to but it's too much.

The Instax wides I've used before and they were ok, but they're not a patch on the peel apart images I don't think. Likewise there's loads of cheap Spectras I'm seeing but I'm not that fond of them either.

I think a land camera is def the way to go, same with the Fuji 100 film.

My slight concern is the battery though, so I think I need to avoid some of the earlier models?
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Old 09-13-2012   #10
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I have one that might fit the bill. It is a pack film camera with a built in electronic flash.

The Keystone 60 Second Everflash model 800. It is layed out very much like a Polaroid Color Pack camera and can focus down to 3.5 ft.

It takes 3 AA batteries but I would suggest using rechargable for faster flash recycle times. The flash does take about 60 seconds to power up.

On FleaBay there are a couple right now.

I think for what you want to do and even for fun use after the wedding the Keystone is a good little instant camera that won't cost you a fortune.

Sorry for the stolen pic, mine is buried while I am reorganizing.

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Old 09-13-2012   #11
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The 195 does not need a battery at all. As I say, the only thing you might like to have is a flash, but you could use whatever flash you want and connect it to the camera via a PC cord.
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Old 09-14-2012   #12
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I think the problem with a 195 ( wonderful camera I must say) is that the OP doesn't want to spend a bunch on a camera for possible one time use.
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Old 09-15-2012   #13
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If you are determined to use one of the Polaroid automatic pack film cameras (any of the models I mentioned above:100, 240, 250, 350, 355, 360, 450.), just make sure that the battery terminals are clean and not corroded. You can buy a battery from batterymart.com. It doesn't matter if you buy an older or newer model, they are all quite sturdy, but if someone has left the battery in for 30 years, the terminals will be corroded. We buy several of these automatic pack film cameras every month and the vast majority are in very good shape, just need cleaning and repair of battery terminals.

I've shot many events with these cameras. Don't forget if you are going to shoot Fuji 100c indoors you will need plenty of light. You can attach an electronic flash, but it takes a bit of fiddling to get the exposure right.
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Old 09-15-2012   #14
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Get yourself over to Cory Verellen's Land Cameras site. He refurbishes old 250s and 360s and fits them with modern, rechargeable power units, as well as prepping them for on or off-camera flashes.

I have two - both 360s with on-camera flashes which recharge with the same dongle as the camera - and they're simply amazing... And don't even get me started on Fuji 3000b as a film...

http://www.landcameras.com/
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Old 09-15-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew00 View Post
hey,

i've a friends wedding in a month and she's asked me and a buddy to do something visual as our wedding gift.

we had a ponder and i came up with the following idea - i'd take instant portraits of the guests/couples, we'd stick the photos in a guestbook and get their family/friends to enter, under their photo, a fun message. i thought it'd make a nice 'alternative' guestbook vs the more traditional one they'll have, something more cheeky!

i've owned a sx-70 before but i never liked the impossible project film tbh, too temperamental.

ergo i'm looking at using fuji fp100c film and getting a land camera to go with it, they don't see too expensive on ebay, and using that for my pictures.

i was wondering therefore if anyone could recommend a good camera to get, aka a recommended model, for use with this film.

i've been reading a few don't really like it, i'm not looking for a headache, something that can do the job of taking a solid number of pictures (60+) and isn't going to freak out would be great!

a x
With the Polaroid auto 250 you can compose and focus in the same window (as opposed to the 100's two separate windows). The camera folds up into a neat and easy to carry package. Like others have mentioned, they are usually in good conditions, needing to clean off the battery terminals. The battery can be ordered from Freestyle. You do need to clean the rollers after each pack of 10 but with the piece of foam that comes with Fujifilm's FP series, it's very convenient. The FP100C will need a lot of light for indoors photos, but the B & W FP3000B is capable of anything! It's a great idea you have for weddings, for the image captured of the moment to be the one and only hard copy will be especially meaningful.
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Old 09-15-2012   #16
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Cruise over to:

http://www.dantestella.com/technical/roidrage.html

There is some commentary on the current use of pack cameras. There is a huge difference between (a) letting camera malfunctions and expired film define the look and (b) using these cameras and film as intended.

These cameras' CdS cells tend to degrade, modern batteries push too much electricity through them, and the film has huge reciprocity issues (which means no "available light" stuff indoors unless you have a tripod and a set of warming filters). Most don't take modern electronic flash without mods (exception: 360 and the massively more expensive 180/185/190/195).

I tend to concur that for a high-pressure situation, an Instax is better than counting your fingers after dealing with some of the Ebay people.

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Old 10-15-2012   #17
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Speaking from some experience here, get a Fuji Instax Wide. It's really insanely easy to use and that's important. No one knows how to use a rangefinder to focus any more. No one knows how to properly pull a photo from a Land camera anymore. No one can manually meter or figure out flash or any of that stuff any more. You want a single button press, auto exposure, auto print eject experience. Something your grandmother could use. The Instax Wide is perfect for this.

Or for a more vintage feel, get a Polaroid 600 camera or 3 and some packs of the new Impossible Color Protection film. Same experience, vintage look and feel, perhaps less predictable results but that's kind of the fun of it.
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Old 10-16-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonepowell View Post
Speaking from some experience here, get a Fuji Instax Wide. It's really insanely easy to use and that's important. No one knows how to use a rangefinder to focus any more. No one knows how to properly pull a photo from a Land camera anymore. No one can manually meter or figure out flash or any of that stuff any more. You want a single button press, auto exposure, auto print eject experience. Something your grandmother could use. The Instax Wide is perfect for this.

Or for a more vintage feel, get a Polaroid 600 camera or 3 and some packs of the new Impossible Color Protection film. Same experience, vintage look and feel, perhaps less predictable results but that's kind of the fun of it.
No-one, eh? And it's much too hard to learn?

Hardly.

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Old 10-16-2012   #19
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Roger, I think it depends on how it will be used. If its going to be used at the wedding by photographers rangefinder, metering, etc probably won't be an issue that will take much time to sort out (if the OP isn't already familiar with it all).

If guests are going to be taking pictures with it as well something as automated as possible may be the best idea. It all depends on the planned use.
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Old 10-16-2012   #20
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Originally Posted by Brian Legge View Post
Roger, I think it depends on how it will be used. If its going to be used at the wedding by photographers rangefinder, metering, etc probably won't be an issue that will take much time to sort out (if the OP isn't already familiar with it all).

If guests are going to be taking pictures with it as well something as automated as possible may be the best idea. It all depends on the planned use.
Fair enough, but that's not how I read the OP. Of course I might have misunderstood.

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R.
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Old 10-16-2012   #21
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Polaroid Land Auto 250, 350, 450.
If you have the money get a converted Polaroid 110A/B

Pack film are better and cheaper than those integral film by the impossible project.
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Old 10-16-2012   #22
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I do not recommend using a land camera to document a wedding. I use one and they make a lot of garbage. First, there is the package the film comes in. Then there is the peel apart paper that is left after the print. Sometimes I cram this in my pocket when I am shooting, but it still has the wet chemicals and gets all over hands or clothing if you don't watch it. Then there is the prints. They need somewhere to dry. At first they are curved, so they need to be put somewhere flat and they can not be stacked because the print is still wet. Polaroid is good idea, but go with something that is not peel apart.

If someone asked me to do the same, I would go with a Holga and high speed film. Make them a blurb book on your own time, after the wedding.
VERY good point. How soon we forget! Or I forget, anyway...

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Old 10-16-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aperture64 View Post
I do not recommend using a land camera to document a wedding. I use one and they make a lot of garbage. First, there is the package the film comes in. Then there is the peel apart paper that is left after the print. Sometimes I cram this in my pocket when I am shooting, but it still has the wet chemicals and gets all over hands or clothing if you don't watch it. Then there is the prints. They need somewhere to dry. At first they are curved, so they need to be put somewhere flat and they can not be stacked because the print is still wet. Polaroid is good idea, but go with something that is not peel apart.

If someone asked me to do the same, I would go with a Holga and high speed film. Make them a blurb book on your own time, after the wedding.
Yup, didn't think about that. I now retract my recommendation of the 195!

Those Instax cameras look good. Or you could just use a digital camera, bring a small portable printer and print them at the wedding.
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Old 10-16-2012   #24
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We did a similar thing at our wedding with instant photos and then put them into a guest book with all the guest's written comments.

We used a photo booth tho. It was a big hit, everyone wanted to take photos, especially the kids. Best part was that it printed duplicate copies so there was one for the guest book and one for the guests to take home. Our booth came with two attendants, a bunch of props, and a guest book with markers, pens, stickers, etc. and cost about $1000.

The photo booth probably isn't what the OP was going for, but the results and ease of use makes it ideal for a wedding.
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Old 10-16-2012   #25
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Instax. 210 will work nicely. 500AF, if you can find one.
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