graham dunn is a city of industry

Polaroid Land Camera Flash Sync

Posted in cameras, diy by graham dunn is a city of industry on June 25, 2010

This is a really easy mod I did to sync my Polaroid 210 camera with a modern flash.  The cameras do accept a standard PC plug, so they’ll trigger flashes regardless, but you’ll be lacking flash sync and the camera won’t even realize you’re using a flash.

Let’s fix that:

For the Pocket Wizards I’m using, I need a 1/8″ jack.

If you don’t have Pocket Wizards, a lot of strobes can use the 1/8″ connection directly, you just have to be attached by a cable so make sure yours is good and long if you’re going that route.

You can also wire up a PC connector instead of a 1/8″ plug if you need that connection, the steps will be identical.

What you need are these things:

A Polaroid Land camera with a little flash connector up front.  This one’s the 210 model, very cheap on eBay:

scissors

electrical tape (you can use other tape too, but electric is best for this type of stuff)
a 1/8″ cable (the mono-plug kind…it looks like exactly like a regular headphone jack, but with only one plastic band around it).  This one’s a leftover from an Alien Bees flash, but you can get them cheaply at Radio Shack or somewhere similar.  Heck, you might even be able to make the headphone kind work, you’re just going to have 4 wires instead of two, so it’s a little trickier to know which 2 to use and which 2 to ignore.  Anyway, the ideal connector looks like this, with the one plastic band around it:

a Polaroid Model 268 flash (often these come with the cameras, but they’re about $6 on eBay if you don’t have one).  You’ll use it for its connector only; getting flashbulbs for it is expensive:

And that’s it.

First, snip the connector off the Polaroid flash.  I cut the cord about in the middle, leaving enough wire on the connector for me to work with, and enough length on the flash side in case I ever want to use it someday later on.

Next, snip the connector off the 1/8″ jack, again leaving yourself room to work with.  Both connector ends look like this now:

Inside both cords, you’ll see two self contained wires.  All you have to do is carefully peel the insulation off.  I rotate the scissors around the insulation a few times, then slide it off.  Do this for the outer casing and the two wires inside.

Once you have two bare wires on the Polaroid flash connector and two bare wires on the 1/8″ jack, you’re ready to put them together.  Simply twist one wire from each connector together and tape it.  Then do the same for the remaining two wires, and tape them.  Then tape the whole thing and you’re done!

In the following picture you can see the Polaroid connector on one side, the tape where things were spliced together, and the 1/8″ connector plugged into the Pocket Wizard on the other side, nice and simple:

Now when you fire the camera, whatever flash you’re hooked up to pops like normal, but the camera is using the proper connector so it knows to sync to the flash (I’m guessing 1/125).  Now your pictures are properly exposed with flash, plus you can use modern flashes and triggers, not crazy flashbulbs.

Hope this was helpful!

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