View Full Version : Cleaning Type 55 negs

30-Nov-2006, 07:49
B&H sells this absurdly expensive bucket with a bit of sodium sulfite inside:


There's got to be a better way. Any suggestions?

Ted Harris
30-Nov-2006, 07:51
Go buy a bottle of sodium sulfite at any well stocked photo store or chemical outlet and mix your own ... IIRC it is supposed to be an 18% solution but won't hurt a bit if it is off some.

30-Nov-2006, 08:28
Rider I use a slightly different method. If interested read through to Cleaning 55 P/N Negatives. (http://www.cameraartist.com/words/2006/07/how_i_shoot_polaroid_55_pn.html)


PS: You can use any type of bucket, not just the Polaroid recommended type.

Ted Harris
30-Nov-2006, 08:35
I completely agree with Darr ..... nice writeup Darr :).

BTW I also find that for field processing, careful use of plain water in a Tuperware container works fine as long as you then follow through with the rest of the procedure when you return from the field.

30-Nov-2006, 09:05
I completely agree with Darr ..... nice writeup Darr :).

Thanks Ted! Everyone contributing in the ways they can makes this a great place to hang around in.

30-Nov-2006, 09:58
Here's what I do...

Fill a Tupperware (a flat-tish one roughly 6x6) with water and drop the neg in. An hour later...voila! It also makes it very easy to remove the metal strip and extra paper perfs. Very simple, and you can use it in the field as well (with lid on, of course!)

If you absolutely must use a chemical, regular hypo-clear solution works fine...

Do NOT spend money on any special equipment!

Al Seyle
30-Nov-2006, 11:00
No darkroom, or you just want to skip the darkroom/chemistry process but still have a quality neg for scanning.

After exposure, can you remove the packet for LATER processing? This eliminates the necessity for any buckets or liquids in the field at all. What, if any, is the downside?

Ted Harris
30-Nov-2006, 15:06
Al, absolutely. No downside at all. In fact I do it all the time ... whenever I am shooting T55 in the field and the temperature is below 65 F. You just need to be careful, very careful removing the film packet from the holder. Supposedly youo can just leave the lever in the L position, push in the release button next to the P mark and out comes the film. Unfortunately, not so at least not so 100% of the time, do that and you will sooner or later lose film. You need to hold in the release button, while holding it in wiggle the film from side to side gently and push it up so that the metal clip indeed releases. Once the clip is released you can pull the packet the rest of the way out leaving the lever in L and holding the release button while pulling. Polaroid has a tech bulletin on this which I will try to find and post as a pdf. If you search the archives here you will find it as I posted it several years ago.

John Cahill
30-Nov-2006, 17:43
Hello Rider,

I once ran copy negs using a Polaroid MP-4 to make copy negs. Always overexposed one stop for the best quality neg. The !@# Polaroid bucket scratched more negs than anything else. Since it is only the soldium sulfite which clears the purple goop off the negative, and Rapid Fix has lots of sodium sulfite, we just agitated the neg in a container of paper strength EK Rapid fix for a minute or so, rinsed it, put it through another container of Photo Flo and carefull hung them up to dry. Worked fine.

30-Nov-2006, 18:16
I'm almost embarassed to post this after all of the previous posts, but what the heck...

I bought a clearing kit like that one many, many years ago - about 1980, I believe - from a Polaroid place in Ventura CA. I remember to this day how outrageously expensive it was but the attraction wasn't so much the bucket or the sodium sulfite, but the film holder. I got sick and tired of scratching negs when they would float together in a regular bucket. When slipped in the holder, 6 or 8 (can't quite remember at the moment) negs could soak in the solution and not touch.

2-Dec-2006, 17:11
How much time after exposure do I have before developing and cleaning the negative?

Most of my photography is done in the field and in some cases I might not have the opportunity to clean the negatives for several days.

CP Goerz
2-Dec-2006, 18:34
Ansel always washed and refixed his negs to toughen em and ensure permanence too, as a small aside one way to pop the contrast up a hair is to tone the neg in selenium and rewash as usual.

Will S
5-Dec-2006, 15:19
How much time after exposure do I have before developing and cleaning the negative?

Most of my photography is done in the field and in some cases I might not have the opportunity to clean the negatives for several days.

If it isn't developed I think the time is as long as the film is good for. After all, it is just like it was before you exposed it. Though you may want to refrigerate as you would unexposed film. I've read that there is a change in the film that occurs over time that can affect sharpness and exposure at development so that you should always develop as quickly as possible after exposure, but I wonder about the science behind that claim.

After it is developed if you keep it moist it can be a fairly long while. The tupperware and water suggestions are things I've tried, but I've had too many scratches on mine and I just don't develop them any longer until I get home. You do have to be careful removing them from the holder though.



Ted Harris
5-Dec-2006, 15:41
Make sure you aren't talking days in the wash or the emulsion will just slip away. I just tried an experiment with a neg that I knew was no good to see how long it would last int he water before the emulsion totally disolved. Was 5 days to my surprise, didn't think it would last that long.

9-Dec-2006, 17:24
Thanks for the answers.

So I can develop in the field even if I do not clean the negative for a few days with no problems?

Jan Pedersen
9-Dec-2006, 17:36
As long as you put it in water right away after developement. You can't leave it in the envelope when you pull it through the rollers.
As far as i remember you have 3 minutes to get the film into either water or a cleaning agent. I use Edwals perma wash. 40ml to 1.8L of water