Pinhole Polaroid 545

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I gave you a teaser about the Polaroid 545 pinhole camera I have been building in my post about how to make a homemade shutter. Well, my camera is finished, and here are a couple of its features and how I built them…

Polaroid 545 back: I purshased a Polaroid 545 back on Ebay for $30 before shipping. If you watch the auctions, you should be able to get a back at a comparable price. If you have money to burn, you could get the 545i or one of the new pro models, but that isn’t necessary. Once I got the Polaroid back and cleaned the rollers, all I did was build my camera around it.

Tripod Mount: With the long exposures needed for a pinhole polaroid camera, I need to attach the camera to a tripod. Since my camera is made of weak plastic and matte board, I had to attatch a piece of metal to the bottom to increase the strength. My tripod has one of those removable plastic tops, so I simply used a screw and a nut to attatch the plastic tripod piece to the metal bottom of my pinhole camera.

Shutter with bulb mode: I wanted a better system for my shutter rather than the old black electrical tape method. I talk about how I built my homemade shutter here, but I have since made one improvement. I attatched a shutter release cable to reduce the camera shake even more.

Variable Focal Lengths: I have three separate “lenses” that give me variable focal lengths. This basically gives me a wide-angle 75mm, a 100mm, and a telephoto 150mm. The 75mm attachment slides in the front, the 100mm is even with the front, and the 150mm sticks out of the front.

Laser Drilled Pinholes: With the price of Polaroid film at about $3 a sheet, you want to be sure you can get a good exposure. Normally I would recommend making your own pinholes, but if you buy a laser drilled pinhole, you can be sure you have a clean hole as well as knowing the exact size of your hole. Using a pinhole calculator, you can figure out the f-stop and then determine your exposure time.

Polaroid 55 film: I pretty much planning on using mainly Polaroid 55 film. For those of you unfamiliar with Polaroid 55 film, itis a black and white film that gives you both a positive print as well as a negative. It is really amazing when you think about it. I am planning on scanning the negative and making prints from that high resolution scan.

Ground Glass: Ok, I don’t have this feature yet, but it is in the works. My plan is to cut a hole out of the back of my camera which will be replaced by a 4×5 piece of ground glass. If I use a bigger hole than a pinhole, I will be able to see a blurry image on the glass.

This has been a fun camera to build, and on my first couple times out, I have been rewarded with some very satisfying images. I plan on posting them this week, so stay tuned.

Ebay is my favorite place to find deals on great old cameras. Here are the Polaroid backs on Ebay right now:

3 Responses to “Pinhole Polaroid 545”

  1. mike Says:

    Nice! very interesting description of the camera. so when are you posting those images?!! thamks

  2. Kelsey Says:

    Wow, you have done some amazing things. My high school D.I. team(Destination Imagination), which is basically a problem solving group using technical, artistic, and theater aspects to solve a problem and present it in an 8 minute skit, has been researching pinhole cameras. We are looking to build our own pinhole camera with polaroid film that we could use in our play. We want to use polaroid because we’re thinking we may not have enough time and resources to develop the film on stage. Any suggestions? Is this difficult to build “from scratch” and very expensive? Any experiences you have had that you would like to share would be greatly appreciated, as we do not have very much time to complete this daunting task. Thank you!

  3. Ed Says:

    What do you use to scan your polaroid 55 film negatives? do you use a film scanner, or flatbed?

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