CC 1420 Lecture 5: SX-70 trouble shooting – Undeveloped patch

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SYMTOM

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It is quite common to have undeveloped patch on your Polaroid / Impossible films. No matter you are taking photos with SX-70, 680 or 690 camera, you may have experienced undeveloped patch. It could be due to dried chemical, or uneven roller pressure. This is fairly normal. 

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Why three chemical patches?

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It is because the Impossible film is vertically divided by three parts. When you take pictures with SX-70, two rollers push the chemicals out of the pouches, and let the chemicals to be evenly distributed on the image. Therefore, if the undeveloped patch is located at the centre of film, probably it means there is a problem on the middle chemical pack.

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POSSIBLE REASONS

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The earliest film from Impossible

The film production technique was not as mature as today’s, so problems arose. For example, PX70 First flush film was much likely to have undeveloped patch than the Impossible’s latest Color 600, White Frame 3.0. 

We recommend choosing films in a later phase like Color protection film and B&W 2.0. They have less chance to have undeveloped patch.

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Film storage

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If you place your films in a hot, humid place or even under sunlight, an unfavourable chemical reaction may result and lead to agglomeration of chemical. The rollers may not smoothly push the chemicals out and thus affecting the result image.

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Rollers

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Aside from the storage of film, there is also a possibility of splotchy rollers or damage of rollers that the chemicals could not be pushed out and distributed evenly on the picture.

 

SOLUTIONS

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Your gesture

You can gently hold the film door (but don’t block the picture exit slot under front edge) when taking picture.

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Clean the rollers

Refer to lecture 2 >>

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Change Polaroid 680 / 690 rollers to new ones

Cleanliness of the rollers is utterly important. But there is one more thing, Dr. Love from The Impossible Project states that

“For any of you who happen to own an SLR 680, you know it is a beautifully well-crafted work of art of instant electronic machinery….it also tends to produce more ‘divots’ or [‘undeveloped patches’] than your friend’s SX-70 camera.

You may be wondering…why?

The simple answer here is the one thing in the ejection process that changes from the older SX-70 cameras to the SLR 680 and 690 model folding cameras, that is the rollers.

The roller set on these cameras are a little different than the ones found on the SX-70s. The rollers were changed to improve durability and grip on the film, but in the case of newer, more sensitive Impossible films, sometimes there is a less perfect spread of developer leaving the gap of paste at the top of the frame.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/VObMfv

So we highly recommend you to change the old rollers on Polaroid 680 / 690 to achieve the best performance!

CC 1420 Lecture 4: Travel survival kit – For your Polaroid cameras

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INSTRUCTION
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instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#1The 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!

 

CHECKLIST
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Empty pack
(always bring an empty film pack with good battery along the way)

 

SYMPTOM
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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

 

Possible causes

instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 The mirror inside did not flip back down
instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 You didn’t press the shutter long enough to give instruction to the camera
instant-university_CC1420-lecture-4-travel-survival-kit-for-your-Polaroid-cameras-#4 Part of camera is either blocked or jammed during exposure

 

Solution

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.

STEP(6) DONE!

 

SYMPTOM
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Some dots, weird bright or dark strips appear on image.

 

Possible cause

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Solution

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!

 

SYMPTOM

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The camera does not respond at all

 

There are hundreds of feasible reasons. These are the most common ones.

Possible cause #1

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Solution

Try to put the camera in your coat pocket and use body temperature to warm it up.

 

Possible cause #2

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Solution

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.

 

SYMPTOM

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A black viewfinder

 

Possible cause

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Solution

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.