The DIY 3×4 Polaroid TLR is Done!

The very first Kickstarter project I backed was the DUO: A DIY twin lens reflex camera for instant film by Kevin Kadooka.  One and a half years after receiving the successfully funded item, I finally got around to sitting down and building it.  

It didn’t go buttery-smoothly, however.  You see, my Duo is a special Duo, one I had Kevin (re)design specifically for me and the two Schneider-Kreuznach Xenotar 100mm F2.8 lenses I had lying around.  I got both of them from the same person for an extraordinary bargain (don’t ask, for your sake––you’ll be green with envy), but without particularly good uses for them.  

So Kevin made special modifications to his product, which the Xenotars required. Of course, doing all of that based on photographs of the lenses and spec sheets downloaded from the web didn’t quite give him enough information to make all the necessary changes, and so I had to fiddle around with a few things, but it the end, all’s well, and voila!  Here is my “Rawlei S&M, Rawleiflex X2” 🙂


Rawleiflex X2: 3×4 Instant (Fuji FP-100, Polaroid Type 665, etc.) and 6×9 roll film, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenotar 100/2.8, Copal 1 shutter.  Note the accessory shoe that was glued to the right side panel, perfect for mounting a Voigtländer VC Meter.

So far, focus calibration seems to be spot on (at least with the instant film), and there is no light leaking issues that I can see.  I’ll have to try some long exposure photography to see exactly how light-tight this rig is.  I also ordered a 52mm ND8 filter for the taking lens, figuring that using ISO 100 film, on a sunny day, at F2.8, would need a shutter speed of 1/3200s using the Sunny 16 rule (1/100s @ F16 reciprocates to 1/3200s @ F2.8), and so an ND8 would bring that down to 1/400s, which is the fastest speed on the Copal 1 shutter.

Once I receive another Kickstarter item I funded, the Micro 3D Printer, I’m thinking of printing a pouch for the ND filter that I will stick to the left side panel, so that I’ll always have it around.  I might also do a lens cap……  DIY is so fun.

Here’s a shot I took this afternoon right outside my apartment; our neighbor Amy’s ferocious little dog.

 Scan 150317 0001 Edit

Rawleiflex X2 + Polaroid Type 664 (ISO 100, B&W, print only), F2.8 wide open, 1/400s, no filter, in the shadow


Stay tuned for updates on this camera.


2 thoughts on “The DIY 3×4 Polaroid TLR is Done!

  1. Very nice. I have had a lot of fun with mine over the last year. Finder is a bit dim, but otherwise not much to complain about. I too have added a shoe to the photographer’s right of the camera, for a VC II meter, or even a flash.


    1. Didn’t configure mine for flash-sync; not enough room to the left of the shutter for the cable 😀 That’s OK, though, will only use it with natural light 🙂


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