View Full Version : Outdated Polaroid 55 film?

Steve Bell
15-May-2005, 06:18
I was given a beat up looking 545 holder and 13 type 55 film sheets 6 months back with my camera, but only got around to trying them today. Pulling the film through is a bit jerky. I used 4 sheets and notice either streaks in the shadows, or just no shadow detail in between the leaves in bushes. Is this a symptom of outdated film or uneven development to to the jerky operation? I was exposing for the print.

Tom Perkins
15-May-2005, 06:58
Could be any one of the three. Try cleaning the holder first. It unfolds up by the rollers; you can probably find some instructions by doing a google search. Steve Simmons did an article on it in View Camera a couple of years ago and it may be in his archives, too, but last time I did it I couldn't find the instructions and it wasn't that hard to figure out. Clean the rollers with rubbing alcohol and clean the gunk out of any other nooks and crannies. You may have to expose several sheets to get the shadows right. It's very rare to nail it on the first exposure. I think you're lucky to have some old film to practice on.

David A. Goldfarb
15-May-2005, 07:32
One more thing--be sure the film is stored flat, not on its side. The chemicals can flow and cause uneven results if the film is stored on edge.

Scott Davis
15-May-2005, 07:55
What are you judging the exposure from, the print or the neg? If you're getting a good print, your neg will be thin. If you're getting a good neg, your print will be blown out. Typically, for Type 55, I give a +1 stop exposure comp to get a good neg - I.E. rate it at 25 instead of 50. You end up with beautiful negs that way.

Type 55 tends to get rather funky when it ages, and will often perform poorly if it has been stored in sub-optimal conditions. I would definitely follow the advice about checking and cleaning the rollers on your holder, and don't have too high an expectation for your out-dated film.

Dan Ingram
15-May-2005, 12:05
Depending on your processing "pull" action (everyone is different in this regard) the 545 holder will either get: a) Dirty pretty quickly, or b) dirty VERY quickly. I open up mine and inspect it every time I use it, and if there's even a little gunk on the rollers (there usually is) I do a cleaning. The more you do it, the easier it gets (like most things), and regular cleaning definitely helps the processing stage. Also -- was the film ever frozen? Good for other films, but BAD for Polaroid, as I understand it.

Sidney Cammeresi
15-May-2005, 14:33
Since you describe pulling the film out as jerky, that sounds to me as if you haven't yet gotten the hang of pulling out the exposed film properly. It will take a few times to get it right, but your pull needs to be one smooth motion without stopping until the envelope is completely out of the holder. The speed is also important, as too fast or too slow can cause part of the film/print to not develop due to the goop not spreading properly.

I guess it is possible that the rollers and other internals could be just so incredibly dirty as to not be rotating freely, but it seems less likely to me that the previous owner would have so severely neglected the holder.

Paul Moshay
15-May-2005, 16:28
The best, and recommended, way to clean the rollers and holder of the processing gunk is with water on a cloth or paper towel. It is quite easy and should be done on a regular basis, especially if the holder has not been used in a while because the stuff can harden a bit. I was given some Type 55 that was years out of date so there was no chance that the processing chemicals would be any good. I just used it for the negative at EI 25 and opened the pod in the darkroom and tray developed the Pan X negative. It worked just fine, and because of the slow speed film there was not very much base fog. So should you find some really outdated Type 55 keep this in mind.

Alex Hawley
17-May-2005, 20:08
You can download the instruction manual for the 545 directly from polaroid.com. Sounds like sticky rollers.