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View Full Version : What use is a Poloroid 545 back?



Chris623
21-Dec-2008, 15:18
I've been away from LF for about 20+ years. When I first got into it, I just had to have a Poloroid back. :rolleyes: As it turned out, I didn't really use it all that much........my guess is less than 10 packs of film! :( So now that I'm "considering" LF again, I notice that film is no longer available from Poloroid, and only available from other sources at "Gold Bar" prices. So what use is a perfectly good Poloroid 545 back in this day and age? (maybe a paperweight?) :D

Jon Shiu
21-Dec-2008, 15:33
You can use Kodak Readyload or Fuji Quickload films with it.

Jon

David Karp
21-Dec-2008, 15:35
You can use it for Fuji Quickloads. It will save you from having to buy the Quickload holder. Different people have different opinions on the use of the 545 holder for this purpose, but I never had any problems.

Jon: You beat me to it!

Chris623
21-Dec-2008, 15:39
Shows you what I've missed all these years...................I've never even heard of those two suggestions.

Frank Petronio
21-Dec-2008, 15:40
Yeah but they are still worthless. The Fuji Quickload holder is much lighter and nicer. It's a Xmas Fruit Cake serving platform...

And I have one for sale if you want to spend the big bucks ;-)

Chris623
21-Dec-2008, 15:43
I'm not sure I completely understand. Does Kodak Readyload work in the same manner as Poloriod film? Do I get a finished image out of the camera?

Frank Petronio
21-Dec-2008, 17:26
It's a moot point as Readyloads are discontinued but yes they are almost the same as Quickloads, although you can't use a Readyload in a Quickload holder. You can use a Quickload in a 545, some people claim they work flawlessly, others have problems. One concern is that the film plane may be slightly different with the 545 versus the lighter, better OEM Quickload holder.

Of course you can still get out of date 4x5 Polaroid but the prices are rising as the supply is used up and expiring.

Bill_1856
21-Dec-2008, 18:58
I'm not sure I completely understand. Does Kodak Readyload work in the same manner as Poloriod film? Do I get a finished image out of the camera?

No. It's just a regular sheet of film enclosed in the paper envelope, rather than having to put it into a sheet film holder in the dark. Has to be opened in darkness and developed like any other film. Advantage is that it is lighter than carrying a bunch of cut film holders, and there's no dust problem.
Disadvantage: twice as expensive as sheet film bought in boxes, and very limited choice of emulsions available.
Kodak Readyloads have just recently been discontinued (they were assembled by Polaroid for Kodak), leaving only Fuji Quickloads on the market.

Chris623
21-Dec-2008, 20:35
Is there any product presently on the market that does what Poloroid used to? Frankly, I'm trying to find some way to scratch the darkroom out of the process......or is that possible?

vinny
21-Dec-2008, 21:06
For an instant neg, no.

Chris623
21-Dec-2008, 21:39
Even an instant pos would be okay!

What I'd really like is a digital back, or a scan back. I just don't have any desire to invest the money and time a darkroom requires. "Been there, done that!" :D

Paul Kierstead
21-Dec-2008, 22:22
Fuji pack film will get you a positive. I've been playing with FP-3000B; very fun stuff and intriguing results. No good for blowing up, though. The pack film requires a pack film holder (Polaroid is cheaper then Fuji). For the smaller size, a bit smaller then 4x5, prices are reasonable; on the order of $10 for 10 shots. Full 4x5 sized film is outrageously priced.

However.... get a Jobo, a changing tent and a scanner and you got a kick-ass "darkroom" that is not much effort and a sane investment. And can do pretty decent sized output.

Bill_1856
21-Dec-2008, 22:24
Fuji makes 4x5 instant COLOR print film, but it takes a different film holder (Polaroid 550), and both color and B&W instant prints for the 405 film holder (3.25x4.25). These all come as film packs, not individual sheets.

Gene McCluney
22-Dec-2008, 03:17
In my opinion, the Fuji pack-film instant films produce far better prints than any of the Polaroid instant-print films did. Better color (FP-100c45), better gloss, better tones. The Fuji pack-film instant films in 4x5 are a wee bit less expensive per shot than the discontinued Polaroid materials were at last prices before discontinuance.

Chris623
22-Dec-2008, 07:42
Fuji makes 4x5 instant COLOR print film, but it takes a different film holder (Polaroid 550), and both color and B&W instant prints for the 405 film holder (3.25x4.25). These all come as film packs, not individual sheets.

That's great news to my ears! Thanks.


In my opinion, the Fuji pack-film instant films produce far better prints than any of the Polaroid instant-print films did. Better color (FP-100c45), better gloss, better tones. The Fuji pack-film instant films in 4x5 are a wee bit less expensive per shot than the discontinued Polaroid materials were at last prices before discontinuance.

That's super, though I'm not really wanting to consider using the resultant image as the finished item.

In light of this info, my next question is: would the quality of the finished Fuji positive be good enough to scan so I could then go digital for the rest of the work? :confused:

Chris623
22-Dec-2008, 07:45
However.... get a Jobo, a changing tent and a scanner and you got a kick-ass "darkroom" that is not much effort and a sane investment. And can do pretty decent sized output.


Thanks for the suggestion.........................that's a direction I'd not thought about. Don't know if I want to go back to processing, but at least that would get me from LF to digital................which is basically what I'm after.

Paul Kierstead
22-Dec-2008, 15:25
... my next question is: would the quality of the finished Fuji positive be good enough to scan so I could then go digital for the rest of the work? :confused:

Well, as always, it depends. If you are doing something "arty", you might be able to capitalize on the look. But as a general purpose image source it won't do; extremely limited dynamic range and resolution.

Chris623
22-Dec-2008, 15:51
Hmmmmm! Okay, I've recently heard about a Phase One 4x5 back. Don't know how much it costs, or how good it is. Anyone have any comments about it?

Paul Kierstead
22-Dec-2008, 15:53
LOL. Before you bother asking that particular question, you might answer the "how much it costs" question.

Chris623
22-Dec-2008, 20:13
THAT expensive, huh? Oh well, everything else innovative in the field of photography is expensive. So where do I go to find the price?

Jon Shiu
22-Dec-2008, 23:39
Check out calumetphoto.com for prices.

Jon

Carsten Wolff
23-Dec-2008, 02:53
Chris,
I don't know what kind of LF photography you're pursuing, but apart from the cost, digital LF backs seem still a total pain to use in in the field. I'd seriously go down the hybrid route:
Color:
1) -use normal sheet film, or quickloads,
2) -get them processed by a good lab,
3) -get a good scanner.
By all means, use Fuji Instant film for proofs, e.g. for important shots.

Same for b/w...although I'd do step 2) myself here. Nothing wrong with mixing a bit of HC-110 or D-76/ID-11 or whatnot. Personally, I still like the traditional darkroom there; I found that once set up and in particular when working in larger batches, I am quicker in the trad. darkroom than wai....ting for Photo.....shop.... to....deal with (Crtl-Alt-Del), trying again: wai....ting for Photo.....shop.... to....deal with the.. file.....now for the....prinnnnnttteeerrrr....
plus I'm not afraid of the dark :).

Frank Petronio
23-Dec-2008, 05:39
Excuse while I make a test shot with my $12,000 600gb BetterLight Scanning Back.... here, let me hook up my MacBook... hold this cable please... umm, this will just be a few minutes... uhoh, well just another few minutes... damn... OK, this time is it... OK let me check the highlights... how's the histogram? Gotta do another....

OK! Looks good!

Let's shoot some film!

Better bracket just in case....

Chris623
23-Dec-2008, 10:11
I can't imagine using a piece of equipment like that for "sampling"! I originally bought my Poloroid back for that purpose and found in a very short time that it was a waste of my time. No, I'm wanting to find a way (obviously I'd shy away from something terribly expensive) to go straight from my view camera to digital. Guess I'll have to wait a lot more years for that to happen, huh? :D

Wally
23-Dec-2008, 14:55
I can't imagine using a piece of equipment like that for "sampling"! I originally bought my Poloroid back for that purpose and found in a very short time that it was a waste of my time. No, I'm wanting to find a way (obviously I'd shy away from something terribly expensive) to go straight from my view camera to digital. Guess I'll have to wait a lot more years for that to happen, huh? :D

I have a Phase-1 studio back I bought used on eBay for $500. It's got a couple of weak sensor cells, so there are a pair of visible lines going across (in landscape) or up/down (in portrait). It's a little weak in the color department, only 9MP of resolution, wants IR filters, and takes at least 5 minutes for an exposure. No good with strobes. Even sunlight is no good: clouds passing by make for light/dark banding. But with hot lights and patience, it is almost a satisfactory replacement for a GG meter or polaroid for checking the exposure.

argos33
23-Dec-2008, 22:56
Chris,
I'd seriously go down the hybrid route:
Color:
1) -use normal sheet film, or quickloads,
2) -get them processed by a good lab,
3) -get a good scanner.
By all means, use Fuji Instant film for proofs, e.g. for important shots.


Sounds like the best option to me. All you would have to do is load the film (If you are using normal holders) have the lab process it, then scan it at home. Then if you want at some point you could develop your B&W negs as Carsten suggests and/or get a nice printer to print your files.

I have seen some decent photos from scanned Fuji positives, but I imagine they would only be "acceptable" for small enlargements.

Evan

argos33
23-Dec-2008, 23:00
Also, depending on what your LF work will be and how serious you want to be about it, a digital camera with manual features makes for a good light meter. The main two differences to be aware of being bellows draw and reciprocity failure.

Chris623
24-Dec-2008, 12:11
From what I've gathered in this thread, probably the smartest thing for me to do is to go back to the old game of "darkslide" photography and smelly processing! :D I just don't have the time for that any more..............too many other irons in the fire, so to speak. Think I'll just keep the old Deardorff parked in the closet and wait until my life changes direction a little.............or someone comes up with a more inexpensive and convenient way of going straight from lens to digital. Thanks for all the comments, they've been helpful.

Richard Raymond
24-Dec-2008, 12:50
Chris,
It is still not clear why you are looking at large format. Unless you are doing something that requires the movements or big enlargements your "straight to digital" requirement would be done better on a 35mm. A number of vendors such as Canon have full size sensors with 21MP. If you need the movements then look at getting a rear adapter board that will allow you to connect the digital SLR directly to the back of the largeformat camera. These are available for around $100.
Ric

Chris623
24-Dec-2008, 13:03
Why? Didn't know there had to be a reason "why" to enjoy working with 4x5.

I shoot landscape and form (nude), or used to when I used my 4x5 regularly. Every now and then I open the closet where my beloved Deardorff is stored and a nostalgic feeling comes over me and I think maybe I would enjoy getting back into it. No "why" involved. And even though I used to tell people the only reason I took pictures was to have the opportunity to work in the darkroom, that desire has long since gone to the "back of the line". What I enjoy now is the mechanics of taking the image. Also, between the time I stopped using my 4x5 and today, digital has come along and is something I enjoy. I shoot a D200 and thoroughly enjoy sitting at the computer doing the post processing. I'm no good at it, but it's for my pleasure and no one elses, so it doesn't matter. I have absolutely no desire to get back in the darkroom and stain my fingernails and ruin my lungs. That's just how things have changed in my life. So I'm seeking some way to accomplish that. Guess technology, even though it has advanced drastically since I quit using the 4x5, it still hasn't advanced to the point I can enjoy using the old 4x5 again. But thank you for the tip about an adapter for a DSLR. Though that wouldn't give me as large a "negative" as I like, it might be fun to work with.

Does that answer your questions?

David Karp
24-Dec-2008, 13:16
Chris,

Maybe you might try exposing the film and sending it out for processing. For black and white there are a few good places you could send your film. For example: http://www.4photolab.com/index.html. That way you could have the fun of using the view camera, and avoid the darkroom.

Chris623
24-Dec-2008, 13:27
That's certainly a possibility.

EuGene Smith
25-Dec-2008, 19:49
There are a number of labs the do B&W and Color LF processing, all sizes up to 8x10, where you can send it out as David Karp suggested.

I have used Photo Arts in Hattiesburg, MS and Collier Drug Store Photo Lab in Fayetteville, AR with good results. Probably everyone on this thread can name one or two others.

Fabrizio
30-Jan-2009, 02:28
Hi every body
anyone knows if with the polaroid 545 is it possible to use the fuji instant film (FP100C 4" X 5" GLOSS) as well?

Many thanks
Fabrizio

Gene McCluney
30-Jan-2009, 02:40
That's great news to my ears! Thanks.



That's super, though I'm not really wanting to consider using the resultant image as the finished item.

In light of this info, my next question is: would the quality of the finished Fuji positive be good enough to scan so I could then go digital for the rest of the work? :confused:

A properly exposed and processed Fuji color instant print would be as good as any color print -of that size- for scanning. Just remember print resolution is far below negative resolution for a given size. If your end result is to be an image of around 4x5 inches, then you are good to go. If you need a much larger final image, then you need to shoot on conventional film that produces a negative or transparency that you process in the darkroom. The Fuji material, in this case, should just be used for testing.

Never-the-less, if your intent is to "create" images that are unconventional, then scanning a 4x5 print may be just what you want. After all, people have been shooting Polaroid integral films (SX-70, Type 600) for decades and manipulating them, scanning them, enlarging them, etc., and achieving "art" but it is low-res art.

In my opinion, the Fuji peel-apart instant films in pack form, are more accurate and better color than the discontinued Polaroid materials, and have better gloss to the prints.

Gene McCluney
30-Jan-2009, 02:44
Hi every body
anyone knows if with the polaroid 545 is it possible to use the fuji instant film (FP100C 4" X 5" GLOSS) as well?

Many thanks
Fabrizio

The Fuji 4x5 instant films are only available in 10 exposure packs, not individual sheets, thus they require a pack-film back, either the current back made by Fuji, or the discontinued Polaroid pack-film back. These backs are thicker than the individual-sheet Polaroid back, but will work with most modern-era 4x5 cameras just fine.

Mike11209
17-Apr-2009, 19:04
Hi folks,

Pardon if this has already been answered elsewhere, but does Fuji make an instant film that fits the Polaroid 545? I ask because I came across this:

http://store.ultrafineonline.com/fupro4x520sh.html

The ad copy suggests it'll fit, but from what I gathered from this thread, they are apples and oranges.

Thanks!

Alex Hawley
17-Apr-2009, 19:43
In light of this info, my next question is: would the quality of the finished Fuji positive be good enough to scan so I could then go digital for the rest of the work? :confused:

Here's a lo-res scan of a proof shot made on Fuji FP-100B. Yeah, I think it is good enough for hi-res scans and further work. Please note that the scan shown below is larger than the original print.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3169/2917932679_bb697e1b10_o.jpg

Ash
18-Apr-2009, 01:11
Hi folks,

Pardon if this has already been answered elsewhere, but does Fuji make an instant film that fits the Polaroid 545? I ask because I came across this:

http://store.ultrafineonline.com/fupro4x520sh.html

The ad copy suggests it'll fit, but from what I gathered from this thread, they are apples and oranges.

Thanks!

That's a normal sheet film.

Mike11209
18-Apr-2009, 06:20
I've been away from LF for about 20+ years. When I first got into it, I just had to have a Poloroid back. :rolleyes: As it turned out, I didn't really use it all that much........my guess is less than 10 packs of film! :( So now that I'm "considering" LF again, I notice that film is no longer available from Poloroid, and only available from other sources at "Gold Bar" prices. So what use is a perfectly good Poloroid 545 back in this day and age? (maybe a paperweight?) :D

Thanks--- getting back to the original question of this thread, it appears the 545 is indeed only good for use as a paperweight!

Patrick Dixon
18-Apr-2009, 08:54
No, AFAIK you can use it for Fuji Quickload - but it's not instant film, you have to process it as normal.

Mike11209
18-Apr-2009, 09:29
Ah ha!

Thanks, Patrick.

Cheers!

Drew Wiley
18-Apr-2009, 21:03
This is an old thread and I've commented on it before, noting how 545 backs can be
excellent for Fuji Quickload sleeves, substantially better than the official Fuji or Kodak brand adapters, especially with a little modification. I recently bid on several
microscope adapters designed with 545 holders in place rather than the modern digital camera or MF camera backs, which supposedly make these "obsolete". I was
badly outbid on every one of them! (They were variously adapted by Nikon, Leitz,
Wild, and Olympus). I assumed a microscope dealer or two was snatching all these up to remarket them at a premium price. So what is that market? Maybe photomicrography enthusiasts or scientists have also discovered the utility of using these with 4X5 Quickload sleeves.