The Necromatic (mostly)

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    DSC_9845 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Start with an old Instamatic. Each one’s a little different, so consider this a guide. This one has a rotating flash cube, so it had extra moving parts to deal with.

    DSC_9848 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Open the back cover, take out the two screws that hold it on.

    DSC_9850a by Orionid, on Flickr

    Take out the three case screws

    DSC_9853 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Pop out the shaped insert.

    DSC_9854 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Remove the screw that was under the shaped insert.

    DSC_9856 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Pull off the front face, take note of where all the moving parts and doodads are.

    DSC_9857 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Pop the glued-on top off and remove the two screws revealed. Beware of flying springs when you remove the top.

    DSC_9858 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Take the big metal frame off the body, then remove the catch-pin that engages the hole in the 126 film.

    DSC_9859 by Orionid, on Flickr

    On the big metal frame side, find the three-pointed mechanism and remove it.

    DSC_9860 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Once you have it out, remove the end that’s between my forefinger and thumb, file any cut-burrs smooth.

    DSC_9861 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Reassemble/reinstall all the moving parts and doodads. The next step is kind of tricky, it basically involves changing memory cards, then forget where you put it, then find it four months later, think you already copied the photos over, and delete them. It also involves reassembly in pretty much the reverse order of disassembly while making sure none of the springs or moving parts fall out of alignment. Seriously. I had to open and close the damn thing six times.

    Now you’re at a decision point. Option one is to make this old thing light-tight. Option two is to salvage an old 126 carcass to hold your 35mm. I went with option two.

    DSC_1737 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Crack open the case. If it’s like mine, which held 1972 vintage kodacolor, it was spot glued in four places and heat sealed at the ends. Be careful, slow, and meticulous. I’ve heard that Soligor is much easier to salvage, and you can still get it fairly cheap from Italy.

    Use the lightblocking paper that came in it and a piece of trustworthy tape to cover the frame-number window.

    DSC_1739 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Now, move the following into a changing bag. Preferably a light-tight film changing bag, rather than a diaper changing bag.

    Both halves of the case, the original take-up spool, a donor roll of 35mm (or a bulk loader with your favorite film), a pair of scissors, some black PVC (electrician’s) tape.

    Inside the bag, cut the end of the film to a square edge and tape it to the take-up spool. Spool out the entire roll of film, then cut it off from the roll. Handling only the edges, roll it as tight as it will go. Align it so that the take-up spool is in it’s normal spot and the hand-roll of film is in the opposite well. Place the top half of the case over it, make sure everything lines up right. Practice with a bastard roll in normal light until you get the hang of it if you need to, then move to the dark bag.

    DSC_1741 by Orionid, on Flickr

    Still inside the bag, cut black PVC tape as needed to seal ALL the edges. Remove from bag, load into camera, go forth and shoot.

    I’ve found so far that two cranks of the winder is not enough, and three is too much. So I settled on three for simplicity rather than try to figure out 2.7 turns.

    Unfortunately, with my first test roll, I’d convinced myself that 800 ISO was fast enough for indoors at night. Not so much. I also haven’t gotten back around to shooting outside yet, so the following is the best I have to offer at this point. More to follow. Oh, and I call it the Necromatic because I brought an old Instamatic back to life. Now I just need a skull sticker.

    Grainy Michelle II by Orionid, on Flickr

    Jason’s Wig by Orionid, on Flickr


    “The next step is kind of tricky…”

    I gave up way before that 😯 Seriously, what some of you guys do with cameras and lenses is beyond me. I’m sure I’ll be tearing apart cameras in no time – y’all are going to rub off on me. If my girlfriend yells at me, I’m blaming you.


    If my girlfriend yells at me, I’m blaming you.

    That’s fair. It won’t be long until it just goes in one ear and out the other. True zen is reached when it doesn’t even do that.








    This made my night 😆


    Wait. I’m sorry, what?

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