Polaroid MP4

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Absinthe, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    I picked up a polaroid mp4 with the rail and no baseboard or lights. It all seems to be in pretty good shape, the shutter is a little finicky below 30. (Any quick fixes on this it is a copal shutter with a tominon lens.)

    Can anyone tell me what I actually have here? What is it worth? Is there anything fun I can do with it, or would it be best to just put it up on ebay?
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    It is a very good copy camera - little else.
     
  3. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Hmm, well perhaps it is off to ebay with it...
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    which lens do you have ?
    i use my 127 tominon on
    a 4x5 camera and love it.
    i can't help with the shutter though
    mine was gummy and jammed last year
    ( after 15 years of use ) and it cost about
    40$ USD to get it fixed.

    good luck!
    john
     
  5. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    I have the Tominon f=135 4.5
     
  6. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    There is a guy on ebay that modifies these to use as a portrait camera.

    The shutter was sticky at speeds below 15... Well I got my first lesson in copal shutter servicing. All in all, not terrible:

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

    Ok, well I just gave it a try. I started removing screws until I got
    it apart :smile:

    First mistake, when you take out the 4 screws on the back you will
    ultimately set the leaves free

    Once I figured out how to remove the label side screw and remove the
    retaining ring, I got to see the inner workings. I saw where the
    gearings were, and well, gave it a shot of electrical contact
    cleaner.

    Second mistake, spraying stuff anywhere near the leaves will
    inevitably get inside them and bind them up.

    I chose not to add any more lubrication back into it.

    Then I pulled it apart and set the leaves free ( they were all off
    track anyway.)

    I layed them over their corresponding pins one after the other, then
    the extra one, then each of the little ones. Did I do this right?

    Well, the shutter fires on all speeds, and 1 second feels like maybe
    a second and a half, but my ear is not calbrated well :smile:

    Ok, so live and learn.

    1. Is there anyway to clean the gears without getting the solvent
    into the leaves?

    2. Is there a good way to put the leaves back together (without
    droping them through the center over and over again?) Is there a
    particular pattern to follow?

    3. Should I have relubricated this? With what?

    4. Is there any real reason to open the part that holds the leaves?

    5. Is there any way to adjust the "time" if it happens to be slow or
    fast?

    6. What are some important tools and materials to have to get started
    doing this right? (I assume a spanner wrench of some sort would work
    better than the allen wrench and vise grips, and some nice jewlers
    screw drivers would be better than the razor blade... :smile:
     
  7. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    I have an MP4 without lens/shutter that has been made into a pinhole camera. Have an extra 3" "snoot" for it to double its focal length. I've been pretty happy with it used this way.

    As for "cleaning" the shutter, you can soak the whole assembly (minus the glass) in some naptha, in the USA Ronsol lighter fluid in the yellow bottle is almost all naptha. This is NOT the best way to do things and you may need to change the fluid in the bowl a few times so that the crud doesn't just redeposit as it lifts out. And naptha is VERY flamable. Let the shutter dry for at least 24 hours after as the fluid trapped between the shutter blades may cause them to stick. But now of course you have no lubrication on the gear train. There are non-migrating lubes meant for this and mechanical watches. This is of course all off the record and will be refuted and strongly discouraged. But it does work as a field expedient for gummy shutters.

    Your other option would be someplace like Flutot's.
     
  8. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    wow, so leaves and all in the solvent, let it dry then, then just a drop of some good watch oil on the gears? Sounds way too easy...
     
  9. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Yes BUT it is not a long term nor recommended solution. It works as a field expedient repair only for ungunking a shutter for evaluation. If some of the old lubricant makes it way out and redeposits on the shutter leaves, you will need to repeat the soak a few times with clean solvent to get it all off the leaves.

    And it isn't so much knowing that you need to lubricate but WHERE EXACTLY to place the drop of oil. Some shutters like certain parts to run dry, other like a little oil here or there. You have been warned. :smile:

    The shutter should really go in for a CLA. In a recent thread, Carol Flutot just announced that she has to limit the intake of repairs due to health concerns so you will need to grep around on APUG to find other repair depots. SK Grimes has always come highly recommended too.
     
  10. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Well my goal in this was to learn how to work on these, so other than sending it out, what is the "Proper procedure" for servicing one of these buggers?
     
  11. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Aye, and there's the rub! I wish I had some of the factory manuals for shutter repair and servicing too. The best I've done are web searches and a few used books.

    The up side to all of this is you have a shutter and lens that is relatively inexpensive to replace should things go terribly wrong. So I suppose you could just experiment a little bit and keep good notes.

    As far as "proper procedure" I can't help you there because all I know are a few shortcut tricks to get dead and jammed stuff working just long enough to finish a roll or whatever.
     
  12. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Don't forget the massive sense of accomplishment :smile:
     
  13. Don Dudenbostel

    Don Dudenbostel Member

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    They're great copy cameras. I used them for many years in the studio.

    If you don't have a 4x5 enlarger you could get a 4x5 graflarger back cheap off ebay and put it on the grafloc back and there you have a very nice enlarger / copy camera.