Processing Instax without an Instax camera
I'm currently entertaining the idea of building "another" pinhole camera. I've done 126 cartridge, photo paper... and now I want to build one which uses Instax film. Yes, I'm THAT crazy!
Now, exposing the film is a snap -- it works just like any other film. My problem is in developing the stuff. At the moment I'm rolling a spare piece of steel bar across the film sheet, from one end to the other (starting at the pod). This seems to work OK for the most part (the pod breaks), but it seems the chemistry isn't reaching the whole film...
I'm getting horizontal bands and patches in the print, and there are visible blotches and bubbles on the back (in the black/brown plastic backing) which match up with the blotches on the 'face' of the print...
Short of gutting an Instax Wide camera for the developing rollers, does anyone know of another way to do this which might prove more successful?
I was just using my Instax Wide 210 camera this week, and after using up a pack of film, kept the cartridge for possible future experimentation.
My initial thought is that the whole Instax cartridge is very precisely and elegantly made, for being something that is essentially thrown out after one use. I suspect one aspect of your processing problem could be the dimensional tolerances of your manual processing method. I would recommend an absolutely uniform pinching of the film pod between two metal rollers that are very precisely machined and also aligned very precisely so as to be parallel to each other, with the proper gap between them for ensure adequate pinching of the chemical pod.
An "easy" way to do this might be to employ a 4x5 Polaroid back, that already has the rollers in place, and figure out how to get the Instax film through it as a manual processor.
I'm starting to wonder if the darkroom bag is softening the pressure too much and stopping the chemicals from spreading out before they harden. After having left the prints to 'dry' for a few days, I can see light cream/yellow patches all over them.
I think my next plan is going to be to make up an aluminium bracket and two steel rollers, with one "driven" roller and one "static" roller. The static roller will be pushed against the driven roller with an expansion spring on each side (probably a nice, strong one). Add a cheap gearmotor to drive the "driven" roller, job done.
Or I have a laser printer fuser assembly somewhere. The rollers in that would probably do the job.
I have a pair of instax wide cameras. The usual 210 works fine. The nicer 500AF has a bug and only partially ejects the film. I find I cannot pull it out smoothly enough to get even development. Opennning the camera in the dark. and trying to roll the film with a brayer (print roller) made a big mess.
my real name, imagine that.
Do a search on "Pasta Roller" might be what you need. You can get one for $23 or less
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You can process Instax with a pencil. Also individual Instax mini films fit inside the film chamber of several MF cameras. A 545 back can also be used, and several other roller methods.
has anybody more detailed information about the instax wide film and the use of a 545 back? it would be fine to be able to re-use it.
Have you looked into something like this?
It is a different back for the Diana + (they also make them for the LCA). You could just mount your pinhole to the front of that. Or take the even easier way out and buy the Diana camera as well as use the pinhole mode that it has.
Why would you ever want to do that? Polaroid 100/200/etc. cameras for the Fuji packfilm can be had for $5 and are easily converted to pinhole. I've done it once or twice, and the film is better and more readily available than Instax. If you must, gut one of those packfilm cameras and tear off the back for your Instax processing. The rollers will work better than anything you could cobble together from the hardware store.
Originally Posted by philpem
The Instax film is excellent, and cheap, and you can buy it on Amazon or ebay in 5 packs and save money. The little Diana back is a quality tool that produces small but very good images. One can only wish that a similar back would be available for the Instax Wide. I have not been able to get 545 rollers or 100 packfilm rollers to do a good job with Instax, so we need a solution. Because the Instax exposes through the back, no mirrors are needed, and the images are sharper. Also the dyes are outstanding with an unusual but wonderful color palette. Look at this
imagine what it could do with a decent lens, or on a Speed Graphic?
Last edited by BobCrowley; 06-11-2011 at 12:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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