View Full Version : Questions about Polaroid T52

Jim Becia
8-Aug-2014, 07:46
I received a couple of boxes of Polaroid T52 with some other film I purchased. If my research is correct, this is just a print film and no negative is produced, am I right on this? Info also shows this to have an ISO of 400 and can be used with a 545 holder. Also, info shows 20 sheets per box, does that sound right. I need to figure if this is worth playing with or if in someone else should play with it. It expired in 2002 and was frozen. I guess there are those who say freezing was OK and others say no. Any help on this from those in the know? Thanks.

8-Aug-2014, 11:55
In my experience any time Polaroid film is frozen it ruins the reagent pods; I've stopped purchasing film that was ever frozen for this reason. As you say, it's hard to get a consensus on this, but this has been true for me thus far. Imagine you made up a delicately balanced monobath comprised of, among other things, developer, fix, ammonia and a binding agent (gel) and then froze it. Would you expect it to thaw out and work as well as when it was mixed? I wouldn't. Personally, I've kept all of my various Polaroid 4x5 films in a plastic box in a cool corner of my basement and they have all survived for nearly a decade.

If you were to open one of your Type 52 boxes and remove a sheet you can tell right away if the reagent pod is any good by gently running your fingers along the part marked "do not touch." If you can feel a slight squish to the pod beneath your fingers (as you're being careful not to break the seal), then there is a good chance the chemicals are still viable. If, however, you feel any irregularities or "rocks" beneath your fingertips, the pod has dried or ruptured or both.

Otherwise, yes, Type 52 produces a black and white print without a usable negative. If the reagent pods are still good it would be a fun film to play around with.


8-Aug-2014, 15:26
T52 was an exceptional product. I wouldn't hold my breath on it being good any more but why not experiment... maybe you are going to be lucky. You really have to try it to know for sure. Don't forget, it will need coating if the image is to last. I (personally) hold little hope that the film survives freezing, and about the same amount of hope that the coater survives freezing either. But do give it a try... T52 was probably the best of the Polaroid products.

William Whitaker
8-Aug-2014, 19:36
Yes, 20 sheets per box. Type 52 was my favorite.

Wayne Lambert
8-Aug-2014, 21:25

The Type 52 image was lovely, perhaps all the more so because it was a unique image. I have a separate section of Type 52 photographs on my website. Several were made at Ansel's 1969 Yosemite workshop. After his giant Weston Master II dial (for teaching the Zone System), it was his favorite teaching tool. Every morning he would ask who wanted Type 52 for the day and then toss boxes into the crowd like footballs. (Thanks to his relationship with Edward Land and the Polaroid Corporation, it was all free, of course.)

One interesting quirk about the film is that it is more contrasty when cold and barely contrasty enough when warm.

Good luck with yours. Let us know how it turns out.


9-Aug-2014, 11:43
I still have 5 or 6 boxes in my film fridge (Not freezer) that I bought in 2003 I think from a local photo shop that sold me 9 boxes for around $100, since they expired in 1998. I still can use the film, rated at ISO400, but the contrast is low. Any ideas how to increase it?

William Whitaker
9-Aug-2014, 12:01
...Any ideas how to increase [contrast]?

You can try extending the process time. Realistically, if it's OOD or previously frozen, you're on your own, so good luck!

9-Aug-2014, 16:18
As I said, it is not frozen, just refridgerated all the time since purchase

John Olsen
9-Aug-2014, 17:08
Polaroid films were amazingly durable. We pulled Type 52s out of storage sheds where they'd been years over expiration and they still (mostly) worked. I don't know if they had frozen during the winters but they had surely had some hot days. Great stuff!