What do you get when you combine instant photos with a high-performance camera? This is what photographer Isaac Blankensmith was trying to answer when he spent two days Frankensteining together something he calls the Hasselblad-Instax. Along with fellow photographer Eddie Cohen, Blankensmith merged a Hasselblad 500C/M and a FujiFilm Instax 9 to create a magical hybrid.
By taking apart each camera and laser cutting a few new pieces, they were able to create a high-end instant camera that takes promising photographs. While Blankensmith points out that Hasselblad did make a large instant back for their 500 series in order to help photographers with test shoots and light metering, the film is quite expensive and it's larger than the camera can expose. So, he was spurred to make something that would be compact and cost-effective.
Though the initial product has some kinks like light leaks and a few focusing issues, it's still beautiful to see the enhanced quality that the Hasselblad brings to the instant film. Let's take a step by step look at how Blankensmith and Cohen brought their project to life.
Photographers Isaac Blankensmith and Eddie Cohen spent a weekend piecing together a hybrid Hasselblad and Instax camera.
Though Hasselblad made an instant back for its 500 series cameras, the film is expensive and the results aren't ideal.
After sketching out an idea, the photographers got to work.
First, they took apart the FujiFilm Instax to get an understanding of its inner mechanisms.
“If you're going to try taking apart any sort of camera, be careful of the flash capacitor. It stores enough energy to give you a good zap.”
They carefully studied the ejector, which spreads the developing chemicals over the film, and created a custom mechanism that would allow them to get the instant film as close as possible to the exposure plane of the Hasselblad.
The biggest challenge was the laser-cut mounting plate. Though they used a template, there are still some light leaks that make their way through. “We’ll keep telling ourselves that this adds to the charm.”
They created a few of the custom parts in acrylic along with remnants of the Instax.
Once mounted, they were ready to get their film loaded and take some test shots.
There are still some issues due to the slight difference in focal length and light leaks.
“We were really happy with our first tests. The full frame of the film is exposed and the images are sharper than we've ever seen on this type of film.”
Now, they need to go out and do some further shooting with their new, hybrid Hasselblad-Instax.