This large heavy camera was lent to me by a friend. She offered me a Polaroid Land camera and I hoped it was the SX-70, but no, it was this behemoth from the early 1960s.
When I did a search for it online, I found this post which mentioned some people have converted it to take 120 films. Jim Grey said he didn’t know why people did it, but it piqued my curiosity. Then I found this video which explained the whole procedure.
Well, that seemed doable, so I decided to give it a go.
Firstly, I taped the light meter at the front as suggested in the video.
I then tried loading the camera with a dummy roll of film, a spool with backing paper only. I found this moved around a lot, so I decided to make some simple adapters to keep the spool in the middle of the compartment. I used an old spool and cut it down.
This wasn’t a great solution as I found it jammed the film. I cut them down a little more and turned them the other way, with the thinner part touching the film spool. That seemed to work better.
After that, I made marks on the back of the camera to show where to pull the paper from and to where. I also wrote on the paper when I moved it along.
So with the practice done, I took the camera back to Blackpool for an outing with the original owner. I thought all was going well, but the whole system jammed after the third photo. The adapters I had made caused the jam. I closed the front down and put the J66 away. Eventually, I took the film out in a dark bag which allowed me to finish it with another camera. Once that was done I developed the film. I wasn’t expecting to see any results from the J66 part of the film, but I was wrong.
The first shot had light leaks, but the other two were surprisingly good. Sharper than I expected and the correct exposure. I used 400asa film which seemed to be perfect for the meter adaptations.
Though it did work quite well, I am not willing to repeat the experiment. It worked, it is possible, but I have lots of other 120 cameras I prefer to use my film in. To be honest I tried another spare roll in it without the adapters and that got stuck too.
So, there you go another experiment completed.
5 thoughts on “Polaroid Land Camera Model J66”
I watched that video and I tried it all myself, I never bought the film because the place nearby charges a pretty penny for development, and it also defeats the purpose of the camera. Polaroid has returned and is already making pack film again for their newer cameras how hard would it be for them to create film for the land cameras again especially since they’re so popular again
I suspect it might be harder than we think. I only tried it because I could develop the film myself so the cost was minimal. If I had to pay for development, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. Sometimes, it is worth the expense to play around though.
I don’t think there is a future for packfilm. A big reason that the newer polaroid films came back is because the original manufacturer machine lined were bought. Fuji refused to sell anything when FP-100 was discontinued. There would be a lot of research and development to produce again for such a niche market.
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That’s what I thought.