View Full Version : Polaroid 8x10 film processor

9-Jul-2014, 10:25
I'm investigating using Impossible Projects 8x10 instant film with a pinhole camera for a project I have in mind.
The expensive part of this (besides the film), is the Polaroid 81-01 film processor & holders, at about $600+/-.
Just watched a video of the folks at the New55 & 20x24 Studio using a sheet metal roller with adjustable roller distances to burst the chemical packet and spread the chemicals.

Has anyone here tried this or other alternate methods to the Polaroid processor, and offer any feedback on the experience?
I assume the Polaroid processor controls the speed the film is feed through the rollers. Surface finish of the sheet metal rollers are probably not as smooth as the Polaroid rollers, which may or may not be a problem. The cost of an adjustable sheet metal roller is about 1/2 that of a well used Polaroid processor. Penny wise and pound foolish?

Tin Can
9-Jul-2014, 10:56
I HAD a 8x10 processor, sold it. It is nothing more than 2 rollers, they made motor driven ones and hand crank.

Find a good and cheap sheet metal roller, since it is adjustable you could have the rollers remachined and/or chromed.

I found the film price too rich for my habit.

9-Jul-2014, 11:56
The Polaroid processor is indeed just two rollers. It does control the speed that the film goes through the rollers, but there are also manually-cranked Polaroid processors, so the speed can't be all that important.

I'd certainly try the sheet metal roller. A smooth surface is important, so that the developer spreads evenly across the image.

Scott Davis
9-Jul-2014, 14:21
There was also a Calumet/Cambo (I forget which label) manual processor that was hand-cranked for field use. They do crop up from time to time on Ebay. They're possibly cheaper than the Polaroid ones, but no promises.

9-Jul-2014, 19:41
Interestingly, the Calumet hand-cranked ones seem to be MORE expensive than the motorized Polaroid processors. I've seen the hand-cranked ones go for $1000+

9-Jul-2014, 21:15
The calumet units are portable and require no power supply are much lighter and very reliable. Having used all types, the higher price for the calumet makes sense if you do field work.
I would be cautious taking advice that is not based on real working experience. Given the price of the films involved you might want
to think twice about scrimping on the processor.

9-Jul-2014, 21:24
Okay, I could be wrong because I haven't done 8x10 Polaroid in a few years now; But...

As I remember, once the film is loaded into a holder, ready to shoot, it is no longer in a light-tight package like the old 4x5 stuff. The Polaroid processors have a light-tight path from holder to output tray. Even the output tray is semi-light sealed even though at that point the neg and paper are sandwiched and should no longer be a problem (as in the 4x5 stuff).

So if you make your own, you'd either have to do it in the darkroom or build a box with a light-tight path to get the film out of the holder and sandwiched with the paper...

9-Jul-2014, 23:55
RichSBV is right. A big part of the mechanics of the Polaroid processor is mating the light-sensitive negative in the film holder with the positive (or receiver) sheet in a manner such that the negative is not exposed to light before it has completed development. Note that the Impossible Project 8x10 film is translucent and must be kept in the dark for a few minutes even after it has passed through the rollers.

So the other posters are right, probably better to buck up and buy one, rather than burn through a box of film (at $110 a box!) trying to make a kludge work. Maybe find one you can borrow first, to make sure that this is a process that you like?

9-Jul-2014, 23:58
Then there's THIS thread {sigh}:

10-Jul-2014, 08:40
Then there's THIS thread {sigh}:

When that was posted you could not give those away, hence the refeence to making it into a mantle piece.
If you have night vision goggles, a huge darkroom and a large flatbed table to install a working roller press on, you should most defietnly forgo the processor. Short of tall those things being available, a processor is the only way to go, and even then, the really awful material, not 100% successes rates for each shot (if you can even manage such a thing on any other medium or format) and the already high risk of alignment means that without the processor, everything becomes about 100 times more complicated and risky...

10-Jul-2014, 08:52
Right, I knew there was more to this than just getting a set of precision rollers.
Working with this setup in the complete dark pretty much would guarantee high failure rate.
Puts the Impossible film out of reach for this project considering cost of the Polaroid processor.

10-Jul-2014, 09:32
Right, I knew there was more to this than just getting a set of precision rollers.
Working with this setup in the complete dark pretty much would guarantee high failure rate.
Puts the Impossible film out of reach for this project considering cost of the Polaroid processor.

Sell the processor after the project

if you buy it right..you may even be able to offset the price of the film a bit too

10-Jul-2014, 10:48
Good point about selling after the project.
I will put up a WTB in the classifieds.
BTW, Impossible 8x10 film is on sale for 20% off through July.

Tin Can
10-Jul-2014, 11:17
The manual one on Ebay right now is the cheapest by half hand operated processor I have seen.

10-Nov-2014, 16:51
Not as simple as the Polaroid processor, but the New55 and 20x24 studio team show you how to process 8x10 polaroid without a processor.

18-Jan-2016, 05:11
My processor just had an electrical issue, which i suspect is related to its age. Does any one have a repair manual or a electrical diagram of these things ?