How To: Mod Your Old Polaroid Camera for Wet Plate Collodion Photography

Mod Your Old Polaroid Camera for Wet Plate Collodion Photography

Wet-plate collodion photography is a process that lets you develop a photo onto a piece of glass. It has some neat applications, but it's not a simple process, and most people use a special camera to do it because the silver nitrate used to process usually ends up leaking, which would ruin a regular camera.

Turns out, the film holder in Polaroid cameras (100-400 series) can be modified into a wet-plate holder. And, since the company has stopped making instant film, you may as well get some use out of the camera, right?

Jalo Porkkala of Alternative Photography created a tutorial that shows how to turn your Polaroid into a wet plate camera. And don't worry, if you have some leftover film for it, you'll still be able to use it after converting.

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First, Jalo removed the film holder and disassembled it by pressing in on the sides and taking off the back plate, which can be thrown out.

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Jalo used a piece of tape as a hinge and a steel spring to hold the plate in place during exposure. To load it, all you have to do is put a piece of glass or metal into the frame. For the long exposures required in wet-plate photography, you'll need to put a piece of black tape over the light meter eye and hold down the shutter release.

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Check out Jalo's tutorial for more details on how the process works and to see example photos. He's also included guides on enlarging a wet plate photo and how to use collodion with a digital image.

Looking for something to do with your wet plate photos? Turn them into a custom iPhone back, or check out one of our tutorials to learn more about collodion photography.

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1 Comment

clear steps thank you!

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