View Full Version : using poloroid film

gary bridges
14-Jul-2004, 22:16
does poloroid film come in 4x5 size? I have decided to start with this format & I was wondering if doing poloroids would be a good way to practice using the camera.

David A. Goldfarb
14-Jul-2004, 22:43
Yes, and it's an excellent way to start learning about how to use the camera. There is 4x5" Polaroid sheet film (my recommendation) and there is pack film, and each requires its own filmholder, which is different from a normal filmholder. You can check out the current models of filmholders and current available film types at the Polaroid website, and also check the Fuji website for Fuji instant films available for use in Polaroid holders.

15-Jul-2004, 01:30
Alot of people use Polaroid meterial to test exposure and composition prior to exposing a sheet film, which i find quite absurd unless it is for an assignment that pays good.. A box of T55 polaroid costs $120 here in canada so its $6 a sheet which is a little expensive for my student ass.. :)

So i use polaroid for special occasions and very artsy stuff...


Jean-Louis Llech
15-Jul-2004, 01:44
Using Polaroid films, in pack or sheets, is the best way to learn how to use a large format camera.
If you are interested by this technique, you could read the book by Ansel Adams "Polaroid Land Photography" ed. Morgan & Morgan 1963. (About $50 used)
Adams presents the Zone System adapted for Polaroid films.

Philippe Gauthier
15-Jul-2004, 07:18
Deniz: where do you buy your type 55? It sells for 72 canadian dollars here in Montréal, at Photo Service. Still pretty expensive, but 120 dollars is simply outrageous! Type 54 sells for 58 dollars, if I remember well, which is (almost) affordable.

15-Jul-2004, 08:21
B&W Polaroid for 4x5 comes in two main flavours: Type 54 and Type 55. You need the same Polaroid holder for either.

T54 provides a print, T55 provides a print *and* a high quality negative (but they have different speeds so you have to decide in advance which one you want). Search the archives here for more information on them than you will want to read in one sitting... Also download the data sheets from the Kodak site.

Oddly, unlike Canada, T54 & T55 cost the same in the UK...


steve simmons
15-Jul-2004, 08:31
If you are thinking about taking up largeformat there are severalfree articles on our web site that might be helpful


steve simmons

E. U. Eichhorn
15-Jul-2004, 09:22
The site for all things polaroid is http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landhome.htm

The #500 film holder is much cheaper and works just as well as the 545. I think I got one on ebay for $8 once. Read the instructions here for using it, as you do have to be a little more careful:


15-Jul-2004, 09:58
Phillipe- I buy my polaroid in Vancouver. Lens&Shutter has it. and it comes to $120 with GST+PST

luckily i've bought the last 2 boxes with the gift certificates i got for my b-day :)

Scott Atkinson
15-Jul-2004, 10:24
The coolest thing about Type 55 is the negative: to really practice movements and focus/DOF, etc., take a loupe and scrutinize the neg--you'll get much more accurate feedback than from the print. You don't need to fix the neg, unless you want to keep it--just watch the goo!

tim atherton
15-Jul-2004, 10:24
Lens and Shutter is screwing you (as usual in my experience) even Vistek has it for 79.95 pre-tax - which still doesn't come close to $120.00 when added on. There must be someone else inVancouver selling it at close to normal price? Don't you have a Technicare in Vancouver? I buy from the in Edmonton and they nearly always have the best prices on film www.technicare.com (I know they just became part of Carousel in Edmonton)

Bruce Barlow
15-Jul-2004, 10:53
Type 52 supplies a B&W print only, and you have to coat it with smelly stuff or it turns brown, but it's sort of the "classic" emulsion designed by Ansel Adams. All that said, I now use Type 72, print only, no coating, also ISO 400 (as a starting point...Polaroid varies notoriously). I like the look of Type 72 better than Type 52, and recommend it highly.

These days, after long stints in the darkroom, I'll go out with a camera and nothing but Polaroid. Clears the head. Make sure you take a garbage bag.

Polaroid is a fabulous way to learn, and if you get a "keeper" it is just that much more precious knowing that it's the only one that will ever exist (scanning aside).

Philippe Gauthier
15-Jul-2004, 10:57
Yep, 120 dollars is a definite rip off. Even if they don't have a formal mail order site, Photo Service will ship film if you ask. Montréal may seem far away, but remember, mail is a flat rate everywhere in the country.


Ralph Barker
15-Jul-2004, 14:38
In addition to the obvious instant-feedback learning and pre-film test shot usages, Polaroids can sometimes save your butt. I often use 4x5 Polaroids in the field to test exposure and to make notes on regarding the location.

On a recent trip to the Death Valley, I had been shooting in various locations. When I got to one spot part-way through the day, I discovered (with considerable consternation) that I had left my film pouch at a previous location. With the last Polaroid in hand, I was able to quickly find the spot of the last shot, and reclaim my film pouch, thus saving the trip.

15-Jul-2004, 16:44
Ralph, that is probably the single best reason for one to use polaroid film!! wow :)

Marco Frigerio
16-Jul-2004, 00:14
In these days I'm using Polaroid print as a final fine art "product", mainly Type 52 and Type 54, I really like the idea that the print is unique, that there'll never be another one on the planet ;))))...subscribe to P Magazine on Polaroid website (I think it's free) if you want to have a look to some beautiful fine art images created with Polaroid materials:




Jean-Louis Llech
16-Jul-2004, 03:00
The price of 120 CA$ (about 90 US$) seems to be a normal average price.
One of the best prices I have noticed is at B&H Photovideo : the price of the Polaroid 55 4x5" 20 Sheet Box (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=42729&is=REG) is only US$ 47.95, about 63,30 CA$.
Note that in France, a 20 sheet box of 55 P/N costs 90 Euros, about 111,30 US$ (147 CA$).

16-Jul-2004, 10:10
Yikes! Looks like everyone (outside the U.S.) using T55 should come live in the UK... GBP40.20 inc. taxes per box from Silverprint (US=75, EUR=60, CAD=98)...

Jean-Louis: Silverprint ship to France... ;-)


Jean-Louis Llech
17-Jul-2004, 03:59
Thanks, Bob.
I just said that, in France, the price of Polaroid sheet or pack films was amazingly expensive.
Note that I never said I used to buy them in France. ;>)
The Channel is not so wide, and I buy all my films in UK.
Best regards.