View Full Version : Help with Polaroid Back

2-Mar-2008, 18:52
I may be doing something spectacularly stupid but I cannot get my polaroid 5x4 back to expose film. When I pull the envelope up to expose the neg, the whole pack is coming up with it - and hence nothing gets exposed. It took me 5 shots to work this out - and as Polaroid is now in dwindling supplies this sucks.

I am not a novice, but I have the horrid feeling I am having a 'senior' moment and doing something idiotic, I just for the life of me cannot work it out.....

Click to L - slide pod in fully - pull envelope up and take picture, slide envelope down, click to P and pull to process.....

Anyone - free donuts??


2-Mar-2008, 20:01
Sometimes the metal tab at the end of the Polaroid doesn't engage in the clip. This can happen for a few reasons...A few things to check- is there an old tab lodged in the holder? This has happened to me before, where the tab will seperate from the pack and remain in the holder preventing the next film pack from engaging the clip. Also check that the tabs on the film have a slight outward bend to them, this makes them easier to crab the clip in the holder.

With a little bit of practice, you should be able to tell by feel when the paper is being pulled up on the polaroid and when it's not. Another trick is to feel for the chemical pod inside the pack when you pull the paper to expose the film...it should remain near the top of the holder and not *stay* with the whole film pack. Much easier to do than to explain...

Good luck-

3-Mar-2008, 16:36
My 545i has a sluggish release button that wants to stay at the release position (pushed in). This results in the symptom you describe. It seems the 545i can't be disassembled as fully as the 545, but I half-opened it following the procedure for the 545 at S.K. Grimes website. "Cleaning" the release mechanism--briskly moving the connecting rod running along the side of the holder and blowing some canned air--eased the sluggishness a bit.

4-Mar-2008, 07:10
Thanks to you both - I am still not sure 100% what it is - but both of your suggestions sound possible/likely. Trouble is of course disassembling the unit is hard - so I am going to have a go at that - but am resigning myself to buying an new back - and with Polaroid no longer being produced it sounds like a pretty annoying investment to have to make.


4-Mar-2008, 07:24
Depending on the back, dis-assembly is pretty easy. I've always taken a couple of old clips (the metal strip on the bottom of a Polaroid film sheet) put them down inside the holder (where the film would go) and then crimp them up. This holds the small metal rod in place that is inside of the holder and keeps it in place for reassembly. Once that is done, the holder itself comes apart by prying the two long clips on the side of the holder off. Voila...one dis-assembled holder for looking inside. Reassembly is simply the reverse.

Good luck-

4-Mar-2008, 07:39
I think there are some basic servicing instructions for 545 holders at the SK Grimes web site.

Google sez it is here:

4-Mar-2008, 10:54
Additional docs for 545i:

Gene McCluney
4-Mar-2008, 12:02
Here is my "take" on your problem. As a long time user of Polaroid in 4x5 for proofing in my studio, I have noticed a problem within the last year. The metal tabs on the sheets of 4x5 film have been changed to a metal that is softer. It is quite obvious, the old metal tabs were mat black, the new tabs are gloss black, and weaker. I was getting a lot of what you describe, the back not retaining the film portion inside when the other sleeve is pulled out. I figured out a "work-around" for this problem that seems to work almost 100% for me.

Before you insert each sheet, gently pry the metal tab apart just a wee bit, just kinda running your thumb under each side exerting outward pressure just a little bit. This helps the tab come away from the paper sleeve, when you pull the sleeve out for exposure. Since doing this, I have had almost 100% success.

I would also like to note here that Polaroid will replace film free that you are having problems with such as this.

I would also like to add, that since I used up my remaining Polaroid 4x5 film, I have switched to Fuji 100c45 4x5 pack film, in a Polaroid 4x5 pack film back and like it a lot better.

9-Mar-2008, 06:54
Gene, What model of pack film holder are you using for the Fuji film? I am a little confused about this. I know that the 550 is supposed to work but are there others as well?

9-Mar-2008, 11:15
I had same problem and I only realized after opening the whole thing apart to find out that there was an old metal tab stuck. Shame took me about five shoots to do this...

Gene McCluney
9-Mar-2008, 12:27
Gene, What model of pack film holder are you using for the Fuji film? I am a little confused about this. I know that the 550 is supposed to work but are there others as well?

Fuji currently makes a back that will fit 4x5 cameras to take their pack film. B&H (among others) sells them.