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Some days ago I came across an advert for a complete Kodamatic set in good condition for nearly nothing. As a passionate polaroid tinkerer I said to myself: why not try to do something with it, even if the forums tell me that it isn't worth trying. It's always better to see it with your own eyes. So, order placed, order quickly received.

The camera, a Kodamatic 930, isn't complicated at all. No mirror, no automatic ejection of the dark slide, standard batteries in the camera housing, simple electronic shutter (1/15 to 1/250), all similar to the Fuji instants, and it's foldable. A quick test, all working fine. There isn't even a contact for the back flap, so you can watch everything with the flap wide open.

It would be ideal to put some Fuji Instant film which is exposed from the back like the Kodak instant in the old days. But the Fuji Wide is a little bit too wide and too short. So put some Polaroid instant film? The 600 is smaller and too long. But, looking closely, there is enough space between the cartridge and the rollers. If you insert a Polaroid 600 format photo into the Kodak cartridge, you can put the unit into the camera. If you push the button, it's taken between the rollers and comes out. So far, so good.

Next step: in total darkness I take one unexposed photo from a PX680 cartridge and put it into the Kodak cartridge. You have to push the spring of the Kodak cartridge way down before you insert the photo, the Kodak cartridge has blades open towards the ejection slot, if you don't push enough, the photo gets caught between the blades. You have to push the photo towards the side of the little slit at the bottom of the cartridge, easy to feel in the dark, if not, it wouldn't be pushed out later. And, you have to put it in the right direction, glossy side up and the pouches with the chemicals towards the exit. Then put the cartridge back into the camera and close it. Don't forget to save the rest of the Polaroid cartridge and put the cardboard dark slide on top of the cartridge.

As I hadn't any flash, I had to wait for daylight. At sunrise I took my camera, put the switch to darken (the Kodamatic was built for 300 iso film, the earlier models for 150 iso) and I shot a photo. A little miracle: all worked out fine. As it was color protection film, I had to wait for 30 minutes, maybe even more. Result: a reversed (mirrored) photo, a bit dark, but a real photo. The new color protection film under-exposes one grade, I tried it with a new Pola One600 Pro and with my CB70 back, the meter set to 600 iso, in both cases it under-exposes. So one grade towards darken would have been sufficient for the Kodamatic. And yes, sometimes there still is a poor pod problem with impossible film, visible at the top of the photo.

There is the PZ680 film, this would be even better. It covers the whole surface of the Kodak and it's only a little bit too long. It's also well taken between the rollers. I'll try again with PZ color protection one day.

I can't tell you anything about the other Kodak models. It's possible that there isn't enough space between the cartridge and the rollers. The 900 series works. It's not ideal to only be able to put one single shot, but it's a start, a challenge. And it's nice to see a useless camera come to life again. It was much easier than I thought. No tinkering, just a camera and a cartridge.

And now the images:

The Kodamatic 930 in it's original box.

Back panel open with Kodak cartridge inside.

The upper part of the film compartment with the rollers.

An empty Kodak cartridge.

An Impossible PX680 photo inserted into the cartridge. It's sticking out and it's not wide enough, but it works.

The photo, taken with a Kodamatic 930 at sunrise on fresh Impossible PX680 color protection film. There is a small black stripe (unexposed) at the top. It's inversed, as there is no mirror in the camera. There is a little poor pod problem with Impossible film, visible at the top of the photo.

A PZ680 photo inserted into the Kodak cartridge. It's covers nearly the whole of the surface.

The PZ film only sticks out a little bit. A good starting point for tinkering in the future.

That's it for the moment. I just wanted to share this little experiment. So now rush to your ancient Kodak instant cameras!