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Fun with i-zone Film

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Polaroid i-zone camera is a simple camera which takes it own Polaroid instant (pocket) film. The camera itself, whilst quite fun is nothing very special - but the film is very useful as it can easily be loaded into many other cameras and then instantly developed by reloading it into the i-zone camera itself. The film is sold in packs of 12 pictures. Each frame is made up of a piece of stiff film about the size of a 35mm frame and 2 paper tabs - one each side. These tabs hold the chemicals to develop the exposed frame and also join each frame to the next so that pulling an exposed frame out of the camera also pulls the next unexposed frame into place.

Note: I-zone film now appears to be unavailable. I have kept these pages for reference but unfortunately do not know of a source for I-zone film.

Silver Edition i-zone presentation pack

Packet of 12 i-zone film

Using i-zone film for other cameras is easy - but does require a small amount of equipment. First and foremost you need an i-zone camera to actually develop the film. Some sort of darkroom or changing bag is needed to move the film between cameras and you also need a light tight tin or box to store the partially used i-zone film when its not in the camera.

Changing bag and accessories

The picture to the left shows the various items sitting on the changing bag. In the middle is the camera to be tested (in this case a homemade camera we found at a car boot sale). The i-zone camera is on the left - and on the right is the light tight box to hold partially used i-zone films. In this case I've used an old developing tank - but a tin or box with a tightly fitting lid would do equally well.

Basic Instructions:

1) First you need to
unload a frame from the i-zone camera.

2) Next you need to load the frame into the camera you wish to test. This procedure will vary depending on what sort of camera it is. The i-zone frame is too big to go into most compact 35mm cameras. The actual picture size is the same as ordinary 35mm film - but there are no sprocket holes on the edges so the film tends to foul against the film winding sprockets. Larger cameras like
SLRs should be okay. Medium and Large format cameras should cause no problems.

Here are a couple of examples of cameras used:

3) Okay - now its time to take the picture. Because the i-zone frame is located where the film would be anyway - focusing shouldn't be a problem. However except for 35mm cameras - the i-zone frame will be smaller (in some case much smaller) than the original film - so care must be taken in composing the picture to make sure you get the subject in. The other major factor to consider is correct exposure. This film is rated at ISO640 and has little room for exposure error. Therefore you must either take a light reading for ISO640 - or scale up a reading for a more common film speed. I used a
Minolta Dynax 7000i SLR as a light meter - first having set its ISO film speed ISO640. For the majority of the pictures I used a shutter speed of 1/100 - so taking into account the fact that old shutters are usually a bit slow - I used the aperture suggested by the Minolta when its shutter speed was set to 1/90. Pictures still tended to be overexposed a bit so I also got into the habit of stopping the lens down a stop to try and compensate.


Minolta reading = 1/90 at F11
Exposure actually used = 1/100 at F16

Alternatively I sometimes set the Minolta to 1/60 and used the same aperture on the test camera:

Minolta reading = 1/60 at F11
Exposure actually used = 1/100 at F11

4) Finally you need to
reload the frame into the i-zone camera for developing.


Some Results

Here are some results of my experiments. Note that these pictures have been adjusted for colour and also fliped/mirrored. This last stage is needed as the unlike conventional negatives the mirroring effect that a photographic lens has on a picture cannot be removed at the printing stage or in the case of a slide by viewing from the other side. If you look inside the i-zone camera (or indeed any integral print Polariod cameras) you will see a mirror designed to compensate for this before the image makes it to the film.

Photo of garage block taken with Homemade camera

These pictures are scanned directly from the i-zone prints at 300dpi using our flatbed scanner. They have been cropped, adjusted for contrast, dust/mark spotted and mirrored - but otherwise unchanged.

Flowers outside upstairs window taken with Agfa Isolette III

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