View Full Version : Fuji instant film failure

David Hedley
30-Jan-2009, 04:03
I got a PA-45 holder and two boxes of the Fuji instant 4x5 film (B&W, 4x5 size) earlier this week. Worked out how to load the holder, and a test shot indoors worked fine.

I took the Toyo out this morning, and shot the rest of the pack. The temperature was probably around -2oC. I waited about ten minutes where I was photographing for the first two exposures to develop, and they failed. I finished the rest of the pack, drove home, and waited about 30 minutes with the film at room temperature before separating the film from the developer. I thought these would simply develop to finality, with quite high contrast, but every single shot has failed, with only the faintest hint of the image I was expecting. I'm assuming that the low temperature has either caused the emulsion to behave oddly during exposure, or caused a development failure.

Is this film really just for studio use, and for outdoor use at 10oC upwards? Is there a way to be able to use it in low-ish temperatures? (Obviously development is triggered when the film is taken out of the holder, and I can't see a way to avoid this, and trigger development only at room temperature).

I'd been to the same place last weekend with some digital equipment, and I was hoping to emulate this kind of picture on large format instant media - advice on how to do so would be greatly appreciated;


Gene McCluney
30-Jan-2009, 08:33
OK, both Fuji and previoiusly Polaroid need temperatures at least in the 60's to develop properly. That is-while developing.

If outside and cold, I have always used the armpit technique. Put the sandwich after you pull it from the holder in your armpit and drop your arm and hold it there. This would be inside your coat, but outside your shirt. Just about ideal temperature for processing. Years ago, when Polaroid first introduced pack-film, the first cameras came with a little device, a little metal sandwich, hinged on one end which was intended for just this purpose. You prewarmed it in your armpit, then put the processing print in it while it was processing, returning the sandwich to your armpit while the processing took place. Nowdays, I find it works just fine without the metal sandwich, just put the processing pack in your armpit outside your shirt, but inside your coat.

You also need to keep the pack film and holder warmish, so the chemical pod will flow properly when you pull the print out of the holder and processing starts. Keep the holder in your heated vehicle, then inside your coat until you put it on the camera.

The issues you describe are not "film" related, but processing related. The "goo" that processes the image works just like any developer, in that developing activity increases with temperature. There will be a point below which it just won't work. Since it is both a developing agent and a fixing agent (of some sort), if the developing is too slow, it will be arrested before it starts by the "stopping" or "fixing" part of the chemical mix.

30-Jan-2009, 09:32
You could use Polaroid Cold clip too.

I've been taking many night shots with Fuji FP-100C at low temperature as low as -20C.
As long as you keep the film warm, you'll be fine.
Here are some of pics shot in cold weather.

Also, datasheet of FP-100B


It states that the film requires at least 10C of temperature to develop.

David Hedley
30-Jan-2009, 09:55
Thanks very much for the replies - I understand now what I need to do, and I'll look out for one of the cold clips on ebay.

30-Jan-2009, 10:06
Thanks very much for the replies - I understand now what I need to do, and I'll look out for one of the cold clips on ebay.

You can make them very easily by yourself...

30-Jan-2009, 10:17
You can make them very easily by yourself...

I just happened to have a few of them.
They are simply two pieces of curved aluminium sheet put together.

30-Jan-2009, 10:24
I just happened to have a few of them.
They are simply two pieces of curved aluminium sheet put together.

For Americans aluminum would also work fine...:)

Gordon Moat
30-Jan-2009, 11:46
With the PA-45 holder, or the Polaroid 550 holder, you can also try keeping it somewhat warm. If the holder gets frozen, then the chemicals in the pods get frozen. Also, I would suggest not peeling them apart for a longer time interval, just to give the developer a chance to work. With FP100C45 (the colour instant film) I have waiting 5 minutes or more prior to peeling, and the image comes out fine.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

Henry Ambrose
30-Jan-2009, 16:01
Carry the film and film back inside your coat. Then do what Gene wrote - put it in your armpit when you pull it.

David Hedley
31-Jan-2009, 07:31
Thanks again for all the advice which is very helpful. I went out this morning again, but with digital. An arctic wind is coming in, so the conditions had completely changed, and this is what I was able to capture;
I will try again tomorrow morning with the Toyo and the Fuji instant film.