Hacking a Rolleiflex TLR to Shoot Fujifilm Instax Instant Photos


Here’s an interesting fusion of analog camera technologies: Kevin over at the Hong Kong-based photo site FilMe figured out how to make his Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera shoot Fujifilm Instax instant photos.

The special ingredient you’ll need is a Rolleiflex/Rolleicord Plate Adapter, which sells in kits for about $50 to $100 over on eBay. This adapter is designed to shoot wet plates using Rollei cameras, but it can also be used as a holder for instant film.

You’ll need to load your film into the plate adapter in a dark environment — a darkroom, or a film changing bag if you’re doing this on the go.

Once the film is loaded, you manually remove and reinsert the black card that shields the film from light, exposing the film in between.

Finally, the easiest way to “process” the film is to have an actual Instax camera handy. Simply load the film into the real Instax camera, and press the shutter in a dark environment to have the film pass through the camera’s rollers (which causes the processing chemicals to become dispersed through the film). You can also crush the film manually with rollers if you need to, but the photo may turn out unevenly developed if you do this.

Here are some instant photos Kevin shot using this technique:


Head on over to FilMe to see the step-by-step tutorial. It’s in Chinese, but you might be able to use automatic translation and the photos to understand the hack if you’re not bilingual.

The alternative instant film – Rolleiflex x Instax Mini [FilMe via The Phoblographer]

Image credits: Photographs by Kevin/FilMe

  • derekdj

    Just curious but wouldn’t it be easier to “hack” the film holder to use Fuji pack film instead? You’d get a larger image area, better quality image and less hassle of having to crush the developer pack on the instax.

  • Eric Crawford

    What I want is a bright, “analog” TLR viewfinder — backwards image and everything — on a body that takes modern digital (and square) images. Anybody? Hello?!

  • DamianM

    yes it can be done.. but should you?
    I mean this is a long process and when you can get a camera with a Polaroid back, why would you go through this trouble?

  • Zos Xavius

    Get a square cropped focusing screen or hack your own. Done.

  • Brian

    The adapters are for “cut film,” not wet plates. The 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 size was a popular size back then, and you can still get sheet film in that size.

    Why go through the trouble? It’s crazy and fun, and you can’t do it with a digital camera no matter how much money you spend, so nernee-nernee-nernee!! :p

  • Bruce Horn

    I would like that too but the only ways I can think of to do it would be beyond my price range: Phase 1 or similar digital back for a medium format SLR, a TLR with a removable back such as this, and some work from a machinist to mate them together. I had hoped that Rollei’s MiniDigi would be that when it came out and it would have been worth it to me even with a 2Mp sensor, but it turned out to have an electronic display where the viewfinder would have been. There were also some 35mm TLRs back in the day, name slips my mind right now, but maybe one of those would be possible with a full frame sensor from a DSLR or an APS-C sensor and some black tape to smallify the viewfinder.

  • Panchoskywalker

    Why the hell would someone want to hack a Rolleiflex?