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  1. #1

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    Polaroid Square Shooter 2 and black prints?

    I've been trying to get an old Polaroid Square Shooter 2 up and running with Type 85 film (a newer ASA 80 B&W Polaroid film that includes a reusable negative), and so far, all my negatives come out completely clear and the prints completely black. Fiddling with the exposure dial on the front of the camera produces no results.

    I've changed the batteries in the camera and cleaned the contacts thoroughly, but I'm guessing the camera's exposure system isn't working. Does anyone have tips for trying to repair one of these old beasties?

  2. #2
    eric's Avatar
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    I used to have one of these but if you are using a very slow ASA film on you, you someone need to trick it to leave the shutter open much longer. I've seen Polaroid hacks on the net about it somewhere. Even if you can fix the exposure, it wasn't designed for something that slow.

  3. #3
    Melisa Taylor's Avatar
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    I think Type 85 film's ISO is around 80 or 100 iso. I think that camera has a setting for either 80 or 3000 somewhere on the camera. Does your camera have that anywhere? If so, make sure it's on 80 (or it may be 75).

    Hmm. The battery is not the culprit if you've changed that. :/

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the help so far.

    My Square Shooter 2 is one of the cameras with no switch to determine what film type you use, just a dial for "brighter" or "lighter". However, the cold clip on the back says that cameras with no switch are designed *only* for slower films, rather than faster ones... it specifically says you can only shoot the "ISO 75 color film and not ISO 3000 black and white". However, since Type 85 is ISO 80, I thought it would work fine.

    It does seem, however, that the shutter is only opening for a very, very short time indeed.

    I'll try and pick up some faster film and see what happens.

  5. #5
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    I just confirmed from the Land List that your Square Shooter 2 is designed to use only ISO 75 color film, though it should work equally well with ISO 80 B&W (the camera can't tell the difference). Assuming your battery is good, it sounds as if there's a problem with the camera's metering system; faster film will only waste your money.

    Changing the battery, however, doesn't guarantee that the new one is good -- most of this generation of Polaroid use a rather odd battery (like a slightly thinner C cell with snap contacts similar to those on a 9V transistor battery, but one on each end instead of side by side) that is likely to have passed its shelf life on the store peg before you ever saw the camera. My suggestion for powering one of these would be to get a 2-cell AA holder with 9V type snaps at Radio Shack and connect the existing snaps to that, with known good, modern alkaline batteries (verify the polarity before connecting, of course). The 105 and 203 I've recently examined had plenty of room in the battery compartment for this conversion, and with it you can be sure the batteries you install are fresh.

    And you can change this without removing the film pack or opening the camera's main door, so any remaining film won't be damaged.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  6. #6

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    Thanks, Donald. This camera actually uses two AA batteries... I've double-checked polarity and all that. You have to open the main film door to change them, but I can do that in my changing bag.

    The camera had a fair amount of battery gunk in it that had to be cleaned out from a really old pair of Rayovacs... so I wonder if there's corrosion somewhere that I simply can't see. I"ll also double-check that the new batteries I'm using do, in fact, work.

    Thank you again!

  7. #7

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    I'm not sure if you've been able to test the exposure meter but if you are to test it (I own a colorpack2 and a squareshooter) the method I use is to go into a bedroom or somewhere in your home, turn the little 'light/dark' dial to anything (preferably a setting youd use normally) and press and hold the shutter while aiming the camera down toward the floor, the shutter should stay open, when you bring the camera up toward a light, or a brightly lit wall you should hear the shutter click closed. (the shutters on these cameras SEEM like they are working when the battery isnt in it, but they really arent, the batteries power the light meter, which controls the shutter..... the mechanism that triggers the shutter clicks and make noise without the battery in it but light never hits the film due to the shutter being open)

    Attempt this at different 'light / dark' settings to see if this affects anything. If the dial doesnt alter the sensitivity of the meter or the shutter makes a clicking noise but doesnt actually open, you might need to look for a new camera, or as already suggested try one of the faster films and find out the quirk and what you need to do to get around it. You might need to clean the little 'eye' of the exposure meter also.

    I've had similar problems, in the past, with my squareshooter and my colorpack2 both either completely overexposing or not exposing at all. Ive never been able to fully discover why this happens, it seems to be just really poor shutter/meter combinations. Out of a 20 pack it usually happens to 2-3 photos but not all of them.....

    If you are close to any thrift shop of any sort, Salvation Army, Goodwill, in the USA etc, these usually have at least one polaroid from the late 60s, early 70s era, usually for $2 or $5 (at least in my town I've seen them a lot!). I would recomend having a look at some shops like this if you can find one a colorpack2 is a great thing to play with, a glass lens, selection of ISO speed and a larger format...the film seems to be easier to get as well..

    some questions, has it worked at all?
    have you tried letting it develop for say, 10-15 seconds then peeling it apart to see if there is ANY image? I might try this!

    hope this helps in some way

    edit: also, its safe to completely remove the film holder pack after you already removed the 'darkslide' but you WILL lose 1 frame, but thats it. so if you needed to change batteries, or look inside to see whats going on, the most youll lose is that 1 picture...
    "Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."

  8. #8
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcausey
    The camera had a fair amount of battery gunk in it that had to be cleaned out from a really old pair of Rayovacs... so I wonder if there's corrosion somewhere that I simply can't see. I"ll also double-check that the new batteries I'm using do, in fact, work.
    Woops, there's your problem. The corrosion from leaking batteries can work its way inside the insulation on the wires and break the conductors when the outside looks perfectly fine. It'll be a major pain to do, but the most promising solution is to completely replace the wires running from the battery holder to the shutter control (which is in the lens surround). Honestly, it's probably much, much easier to find another Polaroid. There were actually some that would accept both the 80 series square format film, and the 100/600 series 3x4 format, which gives a nice additional level of versatility.

    However -- one thing you might try is cutting each wire as far from the battery holder as you can and still reach it to work on it, strip and solder in replacement wire (with heat shrink tube or similar to insulate the solder joint, of course), maintaining polarity. There's a pretty fair chance the corrosion damage in the wire is confined to an inch or two closest to the battery holder and this may well fix the camera -- and it's only an hour or so of work to try it.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.



 

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