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Thread: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

  1. #1

    Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    Hello All --

    I'm a newcomer to large format photography and to this forum, so please bear with me. I've searched for clarification on the following subject but have not found a completely clear response.

    I've recently bought a Shen Hao 4X5 camera and have been practicing by taking polaroid 55s. My question concerns the similarities and differences between instant sheet film (like the 55) and instant pack film, specifically Fuji 100C 4x5. As far as I can tell pack film is just that: it comes in a pack of 10. One of the main reasons for using instant film, however, is to check composition, focus and exposure on a single photograph basis. I'm I to understand that I cannot do this with the Fuji pack film? Do I have to shoot the entire pack? Forgive me if this sounds stupid, but that doesn't seem to make much sense.

    Also, I have the polaroid 545 holder. There have been mixed comments about whether or not the Fuji film can be used in this holder. Any thoughts? Should I just buy the Fuji holder so that I could use their quickload film at some point in the future?

    I sincerely appreciate all responses.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    The pack films, such as Fuji 100c45, fit into a pack film back with a darkslide. Both Polaroid and Fuji have pack film backs, although the Polaroid 4x5 pack film and backs are discontinued, however they work fine with the Fuji films.

    The Pack film back is inserted under the ground glass, just like the 4x5 sheet film back is, the darkslide is pulled and an exposure is made, the darkslide is replaced, the back is removed and you pull a paper tab which presents another larger paper tab which you pull to process the print outside the holder. When processed, you peel-apart and you have your print. It is absolutely usable as a proofing back, and can be inserted and removed from the camera at will, due to the darkslide. It is thicker than a Polaroid sheet-film back, and "may" not fit under the ground glass on some older wooden cameras with brass leaf-springs that attach the ground glass, however it can also be used in-place of the ground glass back on cameras that have graf-lok fitting of the ground glass back. On my Sinar, it easily fits under the glass just like a 4x5 double dark slide film holder. I hope this answers all your questions. The pack-film requires its own holder and cannot be used in a quickload holder of any kind.

  3. #3

    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    Thank-you. That clears up my initial questions, but brings up a couple more. Can anybody confirm that a Polaroid 550 holder fits under a Shen Hao HZX-45IIA? Or, alternately, a Fuji PA-45?

    Other than ebay, is there anywhere to find these items?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Derek Flack; 29-Feb-2008 at 10:37. Reason: typo

  4. #4

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    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    If you have a grflock/international back, you can remove the groundglass and its frame from the rest of the back. You can then attach the Polaroid Pack film holder just like you would a roll-film holder.

  5. #5

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    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Flack View Post
    Thank-you. That clears up my initial questions, but brings up a couple more. Can anybody confirm that a Polaroid 550 holder fits under a Shen Hao HZX-45IIA? Or, alternately, a Fuji PA-45?

    Other than ebay, is there anywhere to find these items?

    Thanks.
    You can probably order a Fuji PA-45 from Megaperls. This is not a discontinued back. It is not imported, AFAIK, but is not very expensive.

  6. #6
    Terence
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    392

    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    The PA-45 is available from B&H in NYC (for $118.50), but it is currently back-ordered. Probably due to Polaroid's announcement.

    They also have the (back-ordered, as well) Arca-Swiss model for 2.5x that.

  7. #7

    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    I have the Polaroid 550 pack film holder, and use it with Fuji Instant FP100C45 on a Shen-Hao HZX45A-II. While it will fit under the ground glass, the fit is very tight. Due to not wanting to damage or wear the ground glass springs, I usually remove the ground glass and use the Graflok locks instead. Those sliding locks fit perfectly into the Polaroid 550 holder, and hold the back very secure.

    The colour response of Fuji FP100C45 is slightly different than Polaroid emulsions. I think it still works well as a proofing film, though it is not as saturated. If anything, the colour might actually be more true to life.

    The Fuji PA-45 holder is very similar in size to the old Polaroid 550 holder. I don't know that the fit would be any easier. If you have trouble finding a clean used Polaroid 550 holder, then get a new Fuji PA-45.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    2,639

    Re: Instant Sheet Film vs. Pack Film

    Gordon, I found the same - the 550 holder is either really tight or won't fit at all in many of the slim spring-type backs. I agree completely though - the colours are true to life, something I didn't quite expect!

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