Monthly Archives: November 2014

52 Cameras: Camera 55 part 2 – Polaroid SX-4

This camera is really fun to use. It’ll be great for setting up a photo booth at a party.

Poking around inside, I did find some useful information.

It's made by Westec.

It’s made by Westec.

I found Westec on a Polaroid list of OEM companies. That explains why so many ID company’s cameras look the same — Westec made them. No copyright info or manufacture date but the Motorola micro-controller has a date code of “9540” so it was made in the 40th week of 1995. No telling how long it took to get from Motorola to the distributor to Westec or how long before they used it in the camera but it’s definitely younger than October 1995.

The lenses are plastic. They are 110mm from the film plane. The aperture is 9mm so the camera is about f/12 (110mm/9mm) The shutter for each lens is a simple solenoid-controlled disk. In the above picture, you can see the space for the solenoids in the six lens version of the camera.

I thought since the aperture isn’t adjustable the brighten/darken dial must control the shutter speed but it doesn’t seem to be the case. The solenoids aren’t precise, in fact the shutters bounce like crazy. That leaves the flash as the exposure adjustment.

I figured out how to defeat the film interlock and did a primitive shutter speed test using the 240 frame/second video mode on the Nikon AW100. No matter how the dial was set, the shutter time was 7 or 8 frames (not counting the bounce). 1/240 fps = 4.2 milliseconds per frame so the shutter is about 1/30.

Click for an animated GIF of a shutter test.

Click for an animated GIF of a shutter test.

That’s pretty much it for the technical side. On to some photos.

Using the 1 photo per shot setting.  From mug shot to happy cat lady.

Using the 1 photo per shot setting. From mug shot to happy cat lady.

Four photos at once setting.  You can see a little variation in the exposures.

Four photos at once setting. You can see a little variation in the exposures.

Hamming it up while babysitting.

Hamming it up while babysitting.

Cats in Halloween costumes.  There will be blood.

Cats in Halloween costumes. There will be blood.

Friends on Halloween.

Friends on Halloween.

I’ll post some more after I run some Fuji 3000B through it.