View Full Version : Polaroid 545i doesn't fit Shen Hao 4x5

Nghi Hoang
3-Jun-2005, 00:52
I just got a used Polaroid 545i film holder for my Shen Hao 4x5. The film holder easily slips onto the back like a regular two-sided film holder, but there is a slight problem. I disassembled the ground glass and back to discover that the small ridge on the Polaroid 545i film holder doesn't "snap" into place like the one on the regular two-sided film holder. As a result, the ridge pushes the top of the Polaroid 545i film holder away from the camera back by an amount equal to the thickness of the ridge itself. Essentially, the Polaroid 545i film holder doesn't stay flat once inserted, but sits at an angle with the top of the holder farther away from the back. I haven't exposed any film as I received the Polaroid 545i this morning. I'm considering filing down the ridge, but would like to avoid it if possible. Anyone with this problem and has found a working solution?

Ellen Stoune Duralia
3-Jun-2005, 06:48
Sorry for the confusion but are you thinking of filing down the ridge on the 545i or the ground glass frame on your Shen-Hao?

I had some issues with a Shen-Hao I bought recently. Some of my holders were really tight and the roll film holder I bought for it wouldn't fit at all. Turns out my Shen was out of spec and I exchanged it (thanks to Jim at MidWest). Now my holders fit. Oh, but not the roll film holder. It was part of a bad batch according to Jim and I sent it back. I didn't really like having to remove the ground glass anyway so I bought a Cambo 6x9 roll film holder that slips in like a regular sheet film holder.

Anyway, my point to this rambling is that I think you should check to see if your problem is with the holder or with your Shen. If it's with the holder, I would see if you could return it. Good luck to you :)

Scott Davis
3-Jun-2005, 09:26
I don't know which to blame here - the holder or the camera. I have one of the newest generation 545 i holders (the one with the fancy multi-timer that adjusts for room temperature), and it fits perfectly a-ok on my Shen Hao. My Shen Hao is about two or two-and-a-half years old. I had a similar but different problem with fitting my old 545 holder into the back of my Agfa/Ansco, but that was solved by enlarging the holder gate in the camera back ( a solution I would NOT recommend to try at home, as it is very easy to screw it up, unless you are experienced with woodworking ). Before you send either piece off for replacement/repair, see if you can borrow someone else's 545i and verify that the problem still exists with a different holder.

Nghi Hoang
3-Jun-2005, 09:27
I am considering filing down the ridge on the Polaroid 545i film holder. I doubt that it is the issue with the camera that is out of spec as my Lisco holders, all eight of them anyway, fit just fine. Another thing is that my Shen Hao was bought a year ago, at the 2nd Annual Large Format Photography Conference in Monterey, CA. I am not sure if I can exchange it even if I haven't used the camera since then due to time constrain.

Another observation, I can get one side of the holder to sit properly (with a bit of force), but couldn't the other because there is a "stop" notch that is built into the holder on the side (the "P" for "Processing" side). This notch catches onto the camera back and prevents that side from going any further in.

I feel silly describing all this as it seems to make no sense to anyone except me. It would be much easier to illustrate with pictures.

Ellen Stoune Duralia
3-Jun-2005, 11:57
Don't feel silly, Nghi, you're making perfect sense. I would second Scott's idea that you try and get your hands on another Polaroid holder to check with your Shen-Hao.

Donald Qualls
5-Jun-2005, 06:17
Whatever you do, do *not* file down the ridge on the 545i. That's part of the light seal for the holder, as well as serving a locating function. If the holder doesn't fit, it's either because the thickness of the 545i (a bit thicker than a regular double dark slide) is interfering with something, or there's a problem with clearance at the bottom, or as suggested your Shen Hao may be out of spec. Even if you can't exchange your camera or back, it should be possible to repair it so it works correctly with the 545i.

Nghi Hoang
5-Jun-2005, 11:37
Donald, thanks for the input! I am not going to file down the ridge on the 545i because of the exact reason you stated, but I might reduce its width a little. Before I do that, I am going to lengthen the catch notch on the side of the 545i first to see if that will work.

Nghi Hoang
5-Jun-2005, 12:48
I spent the last half hour chipping away at the 545i holder with a small kitchen knife, whose small pointy sharp tip I used to carve away some of the hard plastic that forms the notch on the side of the holder. It reminds of Alesandre Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" and the the Abbé Faria in the Chateau d'If. Anyhow, this lengthens the slot, allowing the holder to slide deeper into the camera back's film holder gate. It works! When I insert the 545i I can hear that familiar "click" indicating that the small ridge on the holder has found its groove.

I need to go get some Type 52 or similar Polaroids! Anyone knows of a good place in Sacramento to get 4x5 sheet Polaroid?