View Full Version : Getting an evenly processed Polaroid 8x10

23-Feb-2006, 11:15
I'm struggling in my efforts with 8x10 Polaroid. In particular, I can't seem to process them reliably, often getting uneven results, or a blank patch in one corner. At >$10/print, thorough testing is unappealing, so I am seeking advice.

I use a Calumet hand-cranked processor, that I bought new, and have run less than 50 prints through. Is there reason to believe that my results would be substantially more reliable if I bought a Polaroid brand processor, new? At >$900, I need a lot of reassurance before going this route.

The little white dots are only a minor problem, and I assume can be minimized by keeping everything as clean as possible. The real problem is the patch of white in one corner (sorry, can't remember which corner), which seems to indicate that the chems didn't reach it at all. When I tried to crank slower, I got banding. I guess I didn't crank evenly enough. I was tempted to go with an electric processor to address evenness, but I don't see any at B&H (no longer made?).

In a word I am discouraged. All advice solicted.


Scott Walton
23-Feb-2006, 11:45
I regularly shoot 4x5 polaroids (with my RB's and 4x5's) and when this happens, I open up the back and with a paper towel and either 91% or just plain isopropyl, I clean the rubber rollers really well. It seems as though a small amount of chemical from the pod gets out and onto the rollers, clogging them. Also, as a habit, while the polaroid is still processing, I run it through my fingers trying to make sure the chemical has spread (although I just think this is a quirk of mine)... As much as I shoot, both in studio and on location, I have to clean my holders about every week to prevent this from "wasting" a polaroid.

23-Feb-2006, 11:55
CXC: I bought a new Polaroid 8x10" processor a few years back for use with Polaroid transfers only. As I remember I only had a few problems when the rollers needed cleaning. I still have the electric processor and accessories which I no longer use. If interested, I would be willing to trade* the processor with accessories for a lens or two. I am looking for a 150 mm and/or a 300 mm or larger. If interested email me.

*If this message breaks the rules, please forgive me as I am not looking to sell gear, just help others along.

Ralph Barker
23-Feb-2006, 12:11
I haven't used the Calumet hand-crank processor, but was tempted to get one for field use. I have a couple of the electric models, purchased used via eBay at different times. On the electric version, I've discovered a couple of things: 1) it's essential to keep the rollers *very* clean, and 2) make sure the roller support guide rails are clean, too, so they allow the weight of the top roller to be evenly distributed across the width of the assembly. I also brush off the positive sheet with an anti-static brush immediately prior to loading. Not knowing how the Calumet unit is constructed, I don't know if your's will have the same issues.

From your description (blank corner), it soulds like you may have a roller-alignment problem, or may be cranking too fast at the initial load stage. Or, it might be a case of your Polaroids being old-ish, where the chems have partially dried. (I've encountered similar problems with the 4x5 Polaroids.)

Some of the electric versions have hand cranks, too, but I've read that achieving the correct cranking speed and evenness is somewhat of an art. That was one aspect that prompted me to get the used electric version, along with a heavy-duty inverter for the truck for potential field use.

David A. Goldfarb
23-Feb-2006, 17:38
I'll echo the above comments about the roller alignment, cleanliness, and importance of using fresh Polaroid material, and will also add that it is important that the film be stored flat when not in use, or the chemicals might flow all to one side.

23-Feb-2006, 23:21
I see my film is a little over a year out of date, so maybe that is a contributing factor...