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View Full Version : Polaroids 4x5 - Where to start



Alberto Bregani
21-Mar-2012, 06:26
I swear... I did a lot of searching within this forum but there are tons of veeery specifics informations;
so it's quite difficult for me to look for the solution to this "problem" :-)

Looking at your beautiful Polaroid 4x5" images i'd like to have some advices about a kind of a good starting point to enter this world
Not so many infos... I don't want to bore you further.. Since Pola is a huge world ...just two or three good tips could be ok

I'm already shooting with polaroid ( land 250 and EE100) but they aren't large format (mainly FP fuji and some 667/672/66... and so on )
I already have a Shen Hao 4x5 and i could use a polaroid back but they say there are some problems with this kind of "back" and the shen hao ( is it true?!)

So, Polaroid 4x5: here's the question. Where to start?
Are Razzle cameras a good point to start from? Is it (him) still working on those cameras?
Have I to ask somewhere for a Polaroid 110A/ B, maybe converted, maybe to accept 4x5 Graflok system accessories or... whatever ... i don't know?
Or Have I only to think about FP fuji 4x5 because they're cheap & more handy that type 52/55 and so on? But i would love to use them because of their effects as expired films...
Polaroid Back/Shen hao problem is it just an overstatement or is it true? ( i read a lot here and it seems to me that it's a true problem ..)

So, I'm searching of some infos/tips/ advices about a "polaroid 4x5 basic kit" to enter this world
After that I'll surely have the time to learn by myself going around the web to find more informations and reading topics & threads here

Thanks a lot
Alberto

ps i choose that title hoping it will help other people to find a "basic" polaroid thread :)

John Kasaian
21-Mar-2012, 06:37
I don't have an photos posted here, but I've used Polaroid film holder (501?) commonly called a "back" fit under the ground glass on my Anniversry Speed Graphic and these likely fit under any 4x5 camera spring back. When I could get it I preferred shooting type 55 p/n for the negative rather than for the
"instant gratification" I found it similar to the old Kodak Panatomic-X emulsion.

MIke Sherck
21-Mar-2012, 07:57
I suppose that if I were starting at this time, I'd begin by learning how to make my own Polaroid film. Since Polaroid has been out of business for years and there's a limit on how long that stuff can sit on the shelf before the chemicals start to go bad, old stocks are not certain of results and there are no new stocks. The Impossible Project is trying to recreate some of Polaroid's films, but it isn't easy. And there are indications that Fuji's instant films may not be available indefinitely in the future.

Mike

Chris Strobel
21-Mar-2012, 08:25
Alberto, I have a Shen-Hao HZXIIA 4x5 and have absolutely no problem using my Polaroid 545 holder with it. Bummer the film is gone though.

rdenney
21-Mar-2012, 09:06
The standard basic kit these days for 4x5 instant film is a Fuji PA-45 (or Polaroid 550) holder plus the FP100C45 film. Only the color film is still available in the U.S. in that size, but maybe it's different where you live.

An alternative is to use the same film you've been using in your 250 in a Fuji PA-145 (or Polaroid 405) holder, which fits in 4x5 cameras. The Fuji film is the FP100C or FP3000B (there maybe others). Polaroid film has not been produced in some years.

The above holders are designed for 4x5 International backs, which are also called Graflok backs, though correctly that name only applies to Graflex cameras. There are occasional incompatibilities, but usually they fit in such backs just fine. With International backs, one removes the ground glass by pushing in two springs and sliding the ground-glass frame sideways to unclip it, inserting the accessory holder, and then locking it in place with the slide tabs at top and bottom. If your Shen-Hao has an International/Graflok back, it should accommodate one of the above holders.

The backs used on converted old Polaroids may or may not accommodate any given accessory. Some of them seem to value compactness over conformance with the standard. The Polaroid 110 series cameras used Polaroid roll film which has not been produced in decades.

The Polaroid single-sheet slide-in holder was the 545, but nobody has made single-sheet instant film for a number of years.

Rick "who has used all of the above" Denney

Alberto Bregani
21-Mar-2012, 09:34
Rick "who has used all of the above" Denney

hahah :-))
Thank you Rick, ...and I thank you all before Rick ;)

I forgot to say that I do have a fuji PA 145 back that perfect fits my shenHao
i use it to previsualize some experimental shots (waterfalls, long exposures and so on) before i use a film sheet
So i know FP100 4x5 very well since here in italy i can almost easily find them ( not so cheap..anyway i find them)

I just wanted to try the original 55 or 52 bw polaroids and so on, so that's why i asked for the 545 polaback..and similars; they don't fit the fuji PA-45 ( do they?! )
I know they cost a lot... but once (or twice...) in a lifetime i think one could go for them..

well,
that said ...from your posts and experiences i understood best point to start from is to use my shen hao with a polaroid/fuji back and stop
I already have a 4x5 camera, i already have a 4x5 fuji back, i easily find the 4x5 fuji bw and color.. No problems at all.

And if i would like to have the real polaroid thrill i'll have to buy a polaroid back that fits my shen, feel another kind of the thrill ..i mean to spend around 120/150$ for a pack of polaroid type 52 ( Shipping included) and have fun.. ( hopefully.. :-)

Am i right ?
A

rdenney
21-Mar-2012, 09:46
And if i would like to have the real polaroid thrill i'll have to buy a polaroid back that fits my shen, feel another kind of the thrill ..i mean to spend around 120/150$ for a pack of polaroid type 52 ( Shipping included) and have fun.. ( hopefully.. :-)

Am i right ?

Yes, the Type 52 comes in single sheets and fits in a Polaroid 545 holder. These are slide-in holders and I can't imagine they'll be any problem in your Shen-Hao. Just be aware that all the Type 52 will be well beyond its expiration, so you get what you get, which may be nothing usable at all.

Rick "for whom 'real Polaroid thrill' only applies to Type 55" Denney

Alberto Bregani
21-Mar-2012, 09:51
which may be nothing usable at all...

adding thrill to thrill... !
hahaha

thank you very much Rick ;)
i'll tell you..
A

Gordon Flodders
23-Mar-2012, 01:02
Hi Alberto. The latest Razzle 4x5 models look amazing. http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~razzle/

GF.

Alberto Bregani
23-Mar-2012, 07:37
Hi Alberto. The latest Razzle 4x5 models look amazing. http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~razzle/

GF.

Tks Gordon, already seen it ... rrreally nice ..!
you can use also 4x5 film sheets, not only polaroids, it's correct?

Dop you think he already has some cameras to convert and (ready) to sell or you have to provide Dean with your own polaroid, lenses and after you ask him for conversion?
uhm..maybe i'll email him.

tks for answer
A

shalebridge
10-Feb-2013, 02:12
So I've been having a problem with my 667 film... No matter how fast or slow or what I do, every time I pull the film out of the back of my camera I get a large streak through the middle of the film. It is the same width as the white pull tabs, and it doesn't happen on picture 10, which makes me feel like the pull tabs and the streak are related. I clean the rollers and make sure I pull the pictures out straight, but it is always the same outcome. I wonder if it is my technique or somehow my pola-back is damaged. The film directions state taht it can be caused by hesitating when pulling out the film, but whether I pull it quickly or steadily or not, it still has a wide streak straight through the middle. Hope you guys can help, thanks!

Ari
10-Feb-2013, 07:09
Much of what is left of Polaroid films, especially the P/N types, is old, and the chemical pods have dried up.
It sounds like you have partially dried up pods; maybe the next pack, if you have any more, will not be so troublesome, or maybe it won't work at all.
These days, most Polaroid film is a crapshoot.

Kuzano
10-Feb-2013, 09:46
Tks Gordon, already seen it ... rrreally nice ..!
you can use also 4x5 film sheets, not only polaroids, it's correct?

Dop you think he already has some cameras to convert and (ready) to sell or you have to provide Dean with your own polaroid, lenses and after you ask him for conversion?
uhm..maybe i'll email him.

tks for answer
A

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!!!

I purchased a CD from Dean on eBay years ago. It was filled with images and pictures of the various stages of his polaroid Pathfinder cameras.
In one image, it looked like he had a shelf full of 200-300 pathfinder bodies.

Pathfinder was the overall model name given by Polaroid to the 110, 110A, 110B, and 120 models, originally used for the RAZZLE's Dean modified. He does have more models since that CD was created, as noted on his site. You can find fairly large numbers of Pathfinders on eBay if you search Pathfinder OR the various model names such as Polaroid 110, etc. They generally sell in their original form, unmodified from $50 to $150.

Occasionally you find them already modified, RAZZLE's and otherwise on eBay, or other classified listings. One sold about a week ago on RFF (RangeFinderForum.com) Already modified they generally sell (used) $700 to $1000, and newly modded from the people who do that near or over $1000. If I am wrong here, I expect to see corrections. My comments are the result of what I have found in my own searching.

I don't plan to pay the price for one of these with a working rangefinder. Personally, I will shoot with GG viewing. I feel the price and availability of Large Format film has become too dear for the loss of film by "hand held" shooting to be acceptable.

I have about five Pathfinder bodies, and am in the middle of a project, where I cut all the "ugly" away and am adding enough back to cover 4X5, as the original film opening is for the Polaroid pack film at about 3X4. I consider that if I move the back away from the camera, it will be the right distance to use a 150mm lens without changing the front struts. I plan to either make a DDS setup on the back and convert a DDS film holder to a ground glass configuration. If not that, I will create a simple set of Graflok Like spring loaded tabs to fit the slots in my Fuji Quickload and shoot up the 150 envelopes of Quick and Ready load in the freezer.

There are other's modifying the Polaroids. Byron, Alpenhause, RAZZLE (Dean), and more. Pardon if I missed anyone, and YES, I did purposely miss one individual, who many on this site can guess.

Then there are the personally modified versions.

I put the various solutions in categories of mental health or disorder.

Using a regular 4X5 with various Polaroid backs. ----Relatively Sane.
Purchasing a purpose built Pathfinder, or Automatic Polaroid, for Polaroid ----- Sane, but barely so.
Purchasing a purpose built Pathfinder, or Automatic Polaroid for all films ----- Pushing the envelope a bit past sanity.
Purchasing an intact Pathfinder or Automatic Polaroid and modifying it for Pack or All film backs..... TFI, which stands for Totally Frakking Insane, but a whole bunch of fun.

Here is a pic of one of my Polaroids with the "UGLY" cut away. When Frank called the Polaroid conversions UGLY, I got the idea to remove the ugly.

At the time of the picture, I had a Mamiya 6X9 Press back Type III with the shutter button and cable. I was considering making the camera multi format, Medium up to 6X12, and large 4x5. I can do that with a 4X5 roll film back, or make a foot for the Mamiya Type III holder, which would be nice as it would form handles on each end, one with a shutter release cable built into the holder. I actually found two of the "very hard to find" original cables for these backs.