How to take a photograph with an Instant Box Camera
For those who have never used a camera like this, or have no paper negative experience, here is a simple step-by-step guide on How to Shoot with an Instant Box Camera.
Aperture and shutter speed settings are like any other manual camera. The big difference is the ISO, as photo paper is not very light-sensitive compared to film or a digital sensor. Ilford Multigrade is about ISO 4. If you pre-flash the paper (expose it to light in advance to get better tonality) it is about ISO 8. That means the camera is best used in daylight or with studio lights, otherwise your exposure times will be very long.
In this video we use FOMA Multigrade with a Foma Y filter at ISO 3. Using filters helps to create a more even tonality. Darkroom paper is not made for daylight photography. In particular, the sky and other blue lights tend to be burned out. Using a filter can balance that. Multigrade Filters from Foma or Ilford both work well.
The chemicals you need are regular black and white darkroom chemicals. We don’t use a stop bath in the Instant Box Camera. Consequently, your fixer will dilute quicker. You can use any type of developer, but some tests have shown that slow developing works better for a good tonality.
As shown in the video, focusing is done via the focusing rod outside. Once the focus is set you mark the position with a clip.
Loading the paper from the light-tight paper box to the paper holder has to be done in complete darkness. You get used to it :).
Once you have exposed the image and developed and fixed it you should rinse it quickly before placing it on the negative holder. Photographing the negative to create the final positive is the same process; just make sure to wash the image for a while in a bucket or tray.
Both resin-coated (RC) and fibre-based (FB) papers work with the Instant Box Camera. There might be a slight difference in ISO from RC to FB paper, even if you use the same brand. Developing and fixing times for FB papers are also longer.
Aperture and Shutter Speed
Aperture and Shutter Speed work in exactly the same way with the Instant Box Camera as for any other camera. If you use the lens we included in our package, the lens cap acts as shutter.
ISO and Filters
Photopaper is less light sensitive than film material. It ranges from around ISO 2-6. If you use multigrade paper you should use filters. These filters will reduce the light sensitivity as well.