Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mamiya Universal Press and Polaroid 600SE CB-70 back update- Shooting on the cheap with i-Type film!

Versatility is important to me. I think that may stem from a past of scarcity. I live in Appalachia in the poorest county of Ohio, so that may play a part. Growing up Generation X, the first generation that could not count on getting a career, but rather stringing together jobs over a lifetime, could contribute to my values. Being an artist in a country that only celebrates millionaire artists may play a role in my feelings of lack.

But I like to think that my attitude comes from all of those campy post-apocalyptic 80s movies that the cold war brought us. Huddling in the bunker after the blast with my trusty Polaroid 600SE, I have to seek new and innovative means to shoot the varied and dwindling supply of a lost era. I will create adapters, backs, lenses, etc. to continue recording my passage through this life. I will use expired film, and process with coffee and vitamin c. I will combine various parts to create a working object. I will create hacks and shortcuts, some clever, many silly.

This is one of those hacks. Though I have created adapters that allow you to connect your CB-70 back to the Mamiya Universal Press and Polaroid 600SE in both horizontal and vertical orientation ( ), this hack will work with all CB-70 film backs.

In a world of scarcity, Polaroid Originals provides the film for the 600 cameras, the SX-70 cameras, and i-Type cameras. If you have a fresh 600 film or fresh SX-70 film, you can process them through the CB-70 back. If you wish to use i-Type film or film with a dead battery, there is an easy and cheap fix to add to your camera bag that will allow you to process with your CB-70 back as well!

6-8 volts can drive your CB-70 motor. There just happens to be an electrical socket on the backside of your CB-70. It runs on dc, so a two cr123 battery holder with the batteries arranged in series( in a line with one positive touching the other negative) will work to supply all your power needs. You will have to find a power plug of the correct dimensions. An easy way to find one is to just take the back to a thrift store and try all of them out. Remember, it doesn’t matter the power of the brick or the polarity of the plug at this stage. You will be using the wire and the plug, not the transformer. The dimension of the exterior of the adapter I used is 5mm, with the inner diameter of 2.1- 2.5(sorry I cannot be more specific!).

Once you have found your power plug, wire the positive to the exterior of the plug and the negative to the interior of the plug. This is the opposite of most power plugs, so be careful not to do the industry standard. Now test it. Get an i-type cartridge with a couple of old shots in it, or tape over the power connector on an old expired cartridge with a couple of shots left. Remember to always tape over the power contacts on the bottom of old film cartridges if you intend to use the cr123s instead. The contacts, even if dead, can create a drain in the circuit. Plug it in, and quickly press the green eject button. If you don’t hear and see an ejected picture, you may have it miswired. If no film came out, quickly unplug it and check your connections.

Now attach the battery holder to your CB-70 any way you like. I am going to attack mine with velcro and toss the holder into my camera bag! You are now ready for the apocalypse!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, thanks for trying this. In the meantime, I'm going to go in a dark room and stuff some cartridges with I-type lol