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Polaroid 800

Rob Holz , Dec 09, 2005; 02:01 p.m.

I just had a Polaroid 800 handed to me a couple of weeks ago. It's in full working condition as best as I can tell, but I'd like to run a film through it. Would I be able to get a film for it, or is it to be consigned to being a museum piece/door stop?


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Micah Henry , Dec 09, 2005; 03:38 p.m.


There's good and bad news.

Bad news: this model takes instant rollfilm, no longer made by Polaroid (last manufactured in the early 1990s, I think).

Good news: people have tried and been successful with using 120 roll films in some of the rollfilm Polaroids (though that isn't instant photography) or converting them to use Polaroid packfilm.

The Land List at http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landhome.htm has good info on all things Polaroid.

Here's info on converting the 800 and others to instant packfilm: http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/how2-packconv.htm

And another page, this time on other films: http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/how2-rollalt.htm

--Micah in NC

Manfred Feuser , Dec 09, 2005; 05:44 p.m.

Hi Rob , the 800 is not a good camera to convert. The very simple dual element lens makes this a bad choice. Better is the 110 Pathfinder model B is best. The superb lenses are the Raptar ,Ysarex Rodenstock or the Yashinon. These lenses can stand up to modern optics. There are a number of professional conversions on offer. Pack film would be best.

David M , Dec 09, 2005; 11:02 p.m.

The lens fitted to the Polaroid 800 (and 150) is in fact a very high quality 3-element all-glass coated 130mm F8.8 lens. It will cover 3"x4" with no problem. The bad news is the film is long obsolete. The good news is the lens/shutter unit from this camera can be removed fairly easily and used on a 2x3 Graphic type camera.

Polaroid 800 lens

Patrick Dempsey , Dec 10, 2005; 07:11 p.m.

"the 800 is not a good camera to convert." in my book a free camera is the BEST type to convert ;) Alot of people dont think the conversion is worth it. I converted my Polaroid 150 to accept 120 rollfilm and I have found it to be an excellent camera. Your 800 model is the same as my 150 except for the electronic shutter. A conversion to 120 rollfilm is pretty darn simple and requires no focus adjustment... your rangefinder will still work and that is a pretty nice lens. Not as fast as the "professional" polaroid cameras like the 110, but definitly a decent lens.

You be the judge, is a few days in the workshop and a few dollars in screws and sheetmetal worth it?

(Right click, Veiw Image, to see it bigger)

Check around on the Alternative Cameras forum under Polaroid Cameras or do a search under "Polaroid Conversion" theres a mountain of information on photo.net about a couple different types of conversions.

Rob Holz , Dec 12, 2005; 10:41 a.m.

Guys, thanks for the leads. I'll check into running 120 film through it. I picked up a bunch of Konica 400 at a camera show recently for $2.00 a roll. What have I got to lose except my dignity...

wim abbeloos , Dec 12, 2005; 12:23 p.m.

Dignity, what's that?

Rob Holz , Dec 12, 2005; 11:52 p.m.

Definition of dignity:

Something that left when the wife said, "I do."

Patrick Dempsey , Dec 13, 2005; 02:42 a.m.

Dont worry, nothing spells dignity like walking around with 30 pounds of Polaroid camera around your neck! Be warned though, these things are magnets for college-aged women... if only I knew that 10 years ago...

Murray Leshner , Dec 22, 2005; 03:33 a.m.

NEITHER 800 nor 150 has electronic shutter...900 does, and supposedly has same viewfinder as one of the 110 series. A number of people say that the 800/150 will cover 4x5 withthe existing coated triplet lens.

See http://2hot2cool.com/11/deacon for some polaroid conversion projects. This guy points out that the Depth of Focus (lens-film distance) with the small apertures in the 800/150 lens is fairly forgiving about the film position, but I would be prepared to make my own observation and adjustment because that's a big assumption. This guy makes filmholders from matboard...thinner, probably might fit inside the original door. You don't get ground glass, etc, but he shows some pretty humble ways to get decent results without obsessing over perfection.

Sometimes the shutters get bouncy as the 'cushion' was a piece of foam rubber and it can deteriorate.

Rwhirled.com site will eventually lead you to f/# & shutter speed for those lens/shutter combos. I found it easier to adopt the EV system. My spot meter has it, most of my handheld meters do, the Argus C3 Matchmatic I have uses it and once you make the effort to learn it it is very handy. I even use it for pinhole (there are a few steps involved).


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