The following list offers broad guidelines; from
emergency preparedness to responsive planning
when facing certain sudden occurrences about your instant camera during travel.
Of course, if you are not expert in camera maintenance & repair, you may feel helpless in this matter – don’t forget you are going to be a certified professional! We have got you covered!
(always bring an empty film pack with good battery along the way)
1. Sticky film (i.e. when you can’t take any picture / the camera doesn’t respond)
2. The camera won’t close
3. The viewfinder goes dark
The mirror inside did not flip back down
You didn’t press the shutter long enough to give instruction to the camera
Part of camera is either blocked or jammed during exposure
Empty film pack testing
→ If you have a used and not-so-successful film e.g. overexposed, bring it with you when traveling. This comes in very handy when you need to diagnose problems, or you want to change film even if you have not finished the current pack.
STEP(1) Open the camera film door, you should find a small black plastic curtain. Through the black plastic curtain, find the upper most film of the film pack and insert the used film on top of it. The used film will act like a shield and block any light contacting the film.
STEP(2) Now you can remove the pack out of your camera safely.
STEP(3) Make sure the card covers the whole sheet of film. Slightly adjust after pulled the pack out.
STEP(4) Insert the empty film pack you have prepared. Press the shutter for a few times. Take out the film pack from the camera.
STEP(5) Repeat step 4 for several times. It is like restarting the camera and setting it back to normal.
Some dots, weird bright or dark strips appear on image.
Splotchy rollers (Chemicals or dusts accumulated on rollers can cause unsatisfied out of tune images or even failure of ejection)
Clean the rollers by yourself
STEP(1) Get a cotton cloth and dip it with sterilising fluid. You can easily find cotton and isopropyl alcohol in the first aid box in hotel room. You can also try using wipes or wet cotton.
STEP(2) Wipe the rollers from one side to another, until the white patches are all removed.
STEP(3) The fluid should dry itself quickly without wiping it off.
STEP(4) Your camera will run like new!
P.S. It is possible for both Polaroid and Impossible Project films to have too much chemicals. Remember to clean the rollers regularly!
The camera does not respond at all
There are hundreds of feasible reasons. These are the most common ones.
Possible cause #1
Camera intermittent failure caused by extreme physical coldness
Try to put the camera in your coat pocket and use body temperature to warm it up.
Possible cause #2
Disconnection of film pack
Try empty film pack testing. Take out the film cartridge and insert it back. Make sure you pop the cartridge into place with some strength. Hold the front edge but not blocking the picture exit slot).
If your film was bought long time ago (more than 1 year), the battery may run out and die. It cannot be used anymore because it simply does not start the camera up.
A black viewfinder
If your camera operates normally and can take photos, just that the viewfinder goes dark, you can try pulling the film cartridge out and put back in for several times. For better result, try empty film pack testing to reset the camera. If the problem continues, it is possible that the slingshot under the accordion has lost its elasticity.
What you can do is to use some objects to raise and hold up the accordion, to hold the mirror within the viewfinder. Then, you can continue shooting! However, this can only cure the symptoms, not the disease. In long term, you have to repair the camera after traveling.