Messing around with Zenza Bronica ETRsi and Polaroid film back (failed)

This was an attempt of using the Polaroid film back on a Zenza Bronica ETRsi. Originally I thought making instant photos could be a nice addition to film photography. However, this whole project turned out to be a big failure.


Currently there is no Polaroid film available that fits this film back. As an alternative Fujifilm FP-100C Professional can be used. The downside is, that this instant film costs around 20 Euros and one cartridge contains just 10 sheets. Of course I didn’t want to waste sheets and tried to do everything as careful as possible. But things didn’t go as planned.


After loading the cartridge into the film back, I tried to remove the protecting cover. But somehow it got stuck and a part was teared off. Which required me to open the back and remove the remaining protective cover, resulting in losing the first image due to full exposure to daylight.


The protective cover after removal from the cartridge.

Then it took two more failed attempts until I got the first result with the fourth sheet. The image looked not bad, and I was looking forward to take some more photos. However, there was always the problem with pulling the sheets out of the back. It required quite a lot of force to pull them out. And in nearly all cases, the paper strip ripped and the sheet was stuck in the back. Only with some tools, like tweezers, I was able to get the rest of the paper strip out and could then pull the sheet completely out of the back.


Film back with the rest of the paper strip stuck inside.


The first instant photos.

After a break of a few month I continued this project. And this time something went wrong with the exposure or development of the sheet. Only a small part of the image was properly developed and the rest showed white areas.

And things got even worse. Sheets number 9 and 10 came out completely black, like they were not exposed at all. First I had no idea what was the reason. Until I opened the film back and saw, that sheet number 8 was still there. Of course this sheet blocked the remaining sheets from getting exposed. No idea how I managed to do this. Because every time when I pulled out one sheet, I was sure that there was nothing stuck inside.

This is what I got from the second part: nothing.


At the bottom is the image that was only half developed. It also happend to the previous sheet, which is not shown here.


Cartridge with sheet number 8 with the ripped paper strip stuck inside, while number 9 and 10 were already pulled out.


I was hoping to show some nice photos taken on instant film. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. Overall it was an interesting experiment and in theory the combination of the film back with Fuji FP-100C can work. If I would spend more time doing trial and error, at one point I would get some good results. Or I could even try other instant films if they could work with this film back. Or maybe there are other backs for instant photos available. But at the moment I am not going to continue this project. Mainly for these reasons:

It is simply too expensive. Each sheet of Fuji FP-100C costs about 2 Euros. And currently I don’t want to spend this money for more experiments.

With this film back only 1/3 of the available image area is used. So the resulting images are quite small and not in the center of the entire sheet. I guess it was useful in the past to check the correct exposure settings before taking the photo on film. But I find them a bit too small and the positioning of the exposed area make them not very attractive to give them with others.

Environmental issues. Each sheet is a layer of different materials and it also contains the chemicals to develop the image. When the image is ready, all other stuff is thrown away. Actually more material is thrown away than kept. For me it is a bit too much what goes into the trash can. I would prefer to use a film that is more environmental friendly.

Maybe one day in the future I will get back to this project. I still like the idea of using instant film on the Bronica. It would be good to have a film back, which is more compact and that allows to expose the entire image area and not only a small part.

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  1. Hi Alex! I think you inserted the film not correctly: You need to fiddle the paper strip through the rectangular opening in the plastic piece at the edge before you close the camera. Happened to me too, quite a while ago I was using such a Polaroid camera in my science lab.

  2. Sorry you had so many problems. I think it would help if you watched some YouTube videos about using pack film cameras or have someone show you. I think you’re pulling the tabs wrong.

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