A little while ago I modded an Instax mini for use on my Bronica ETRS. Chris from The Phoblographer stumbled across it and was kind enough to ask me some questions about it (you can read it here). Since then I’ve been getting a whole lot of response from ETRS owners wanting to do the same to theirs! I never covered the build properly as at the time I was just hacking at it and destroying and didn't really know what I was doing with it. It turned out that it worked - kind of. The main problem with it though was the focal plane distance which would throw infinity focus out so I never pursued it further. BUT the other week I found a Polaroid 300 in the thrift shop, so why not give it another go?
Although It’s a different camera from the original Fujifilm Instax camera I figured it would be almost the same under its shell (we can get to that later).
This time I documented it so if you want to try it as well you can see some of the trouble that I hit along the way. The first time around I spent a good rainy weekend inside unscrewing and cutting bits here and there, much cursing, and in the end went through 6 cartridges of film just testing the damn thing. Glad I got that out of the way the first time, The second was a breeze. V.2 still has focussing issues but they are tolerable and you can get away with most things at f/8. The fact that the cartridge needs to be housed is that main problem with getting it so the film plane is closer to the body. If someone else can figure it out let me know!
I chose the Bronica to be the host for two reasons. The multiple exposure lever lets you trip the shutter when there is no ‘real’ back attached and simply that it’s my favourite camera outfit! I’m sure you could use any camera as long as you have a flat film plane to hold it against.
What you’ll need-
Instax body (it can be broken! We ditch all the electronics in there)
Felt to light seal it
Big rubber band (the one from an underwater disposable camera works a treat)
Stanley knife or razor blade
A rotary tool/ Dremel helped a lot
The rewind knob from a donor camera
An old Bronica back just for the hooks (not needed but is another one that helps)
Black gaffa or electrical tape to tape up light leaks
This isn't an exact step by step, more of a walkthrough. You’ll still have to trouble shoot in some areas to make it work for you and what you have. To start the build we need the chassis of the Instax camera, so take to it with your phillips head and remove the lot.
The outer shell comes first. We don't need the front cover but will need rear with the film door
This was where I found the only real difference from the Fujifilm camera, the electronics are a more intertwined with the mechanics of the camera. Still the principal is the same, remove the circuitry and lens assembly.
*CAUTION* whenever you see a capacitor, these hold the current needed for the flash. They have a nasty little shock if you touch the prongs on the end. Never touch one unless it has been discharged. Just keep away from this guy.