Pinhole Polaroid Negatives


As detailed a few days ago, I am the proud owner of a pinhole camera I made out of miscellaneous bits and pieces of camera gear. The next step was to learn how to use it. I have detailed that process in a companion post at There you will find that I have had trouble making good exposures while here you will see some of my attempts to make the most of those images by editing their “negatives” – a paper (non-transparent) negative that is left behind when you peel apart the Fuji FP-3000B black and white instant film made for the Polaroid Land cameras.

Unlike the Fuji FP-100C colour film, it is not possible to recover a transparent negative from this black and white film. These are the only two films still available for the Land pack-film camera series and I have chosen to use the black and white because at long exposures the reciprocity effect does not include colour shifts. Getting the long exposures requires the use of an ND filter, and that also can cause problems – quite a few of these photos have some flare that comes from the filter. Some also have flare from the circular opening at the front of the camera that was very shiny until I added a flat black foam to these surfaces. Most of the flare is gone now and there is none when the filter is off the camera.

Each of these negatives has been scanned, inverted to a positive and flipped horizontally in Photoshop Elements 12 and then edited in both Lightroom 5 and Topaz Black and White Effects. In most instances I prefer these edited negatives to the prints produced by the film (those can be seen here). Not only do they have a feeling of being quite ancient, but there is much more information in the shadows of the underexposed images, and sometimes in the highlights for more normal exposures, than is found on the prints.

When freshly pulled apart the surface of the negative is gooey and dries much more slowly than the print. I have been putting the negatives into my camera bag, on edge and touching as little else as possible. I close the lid to keep the sun off them as some internet sites mention issues with solarisation type effects that may be from the sun when they are drying; others suggest high temperatures are the problem. Of course, during this procedure the negatives fall against each other and the camera case, pick up all kinds of dust and lint, get contact marks on their surfaces and so on. Which makes them very grotty but all the more interesting for that. Especially since most of the prints are failures.

I hope you like some of them. I think they are an unexpected benefit of using Polaroid film for pinhole, and while not completely intentional they add value to the prints also produced. Essentially, often they are two very different images from the same moment of making a photograph.

Click on any image below to launch the gallery view and use the arrows to navigate to other images.


One thought on “Pinhole Polaroid Negatives

  1. Pingback: Testing A Polaroid Pinhole Camera | burnt embers

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