View Full Version : I'm hoping to enjoy photography again

John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 12:13
Hello everyone.

I am new here, but I have a life long history with photography, until I became completely fed up and totally dropped it a few years ago. I have several things I'd like some info on and since most of it involves developing film, I'll just ask it here.

I take it is I want to shoot any instant B&W 4x5 anymore, my 545 back is useless. I haven't shot LF in about 5 years and at that time there was still individual sheet instant film. Is the PA-45 pack option the only one now if I want to check images?

I'm curious about the Efke films. Is a hardening fixer recommended? I don't think I've used hardening fixer in about 30 years. Is curling a big problem with them, or will they stay flat if they are pressed for a few days?

Even though I have a well equipped darkroom, I am planning to shoot and develop B&W film, then scan it and go digital from that point. As much as I always loved printing, the cost is simply too high now, plus I has gotten to the point where digital printing seems to make the best sense, plus there is a great place here in town to have that done. I won't be investing in anything outrageous for scanning for the time being I'm thinking the V700, though there doesn't seem to be much of a choice. I also have an enormous backlog of MF and LF images I want to work on scanning. Any input is welcome.

I am also seriously tempted to delve into 8x10. I have one sufficient lens (Sironar 360mm 5.6) already, and might add a 240 and/or 300 depending on what shows up. I have a Cambo Master PC, so it makes sense to find an 8x10 that uses the same lens board. I need some encouragement. The option to scan the film makes this format so much more feasible. I also want to delve into wide aspect images, which the 8x10 would be great for.

I plan to keep it pretty simple as far as films and processing goes. For years I loved to experiment endlessly, but I think I'll stick with PMK, HC-110 and maybe Rodinal and mostly conventional films. I do see a box of Tech Pan 4x5 in the freezer, 10 years out of date, but it's probably still fine.

Sorry for the ramble, but I haven't done any B&W in about 10 years and virtually no photography in almost 5 years. Certainly no LF. Recently I have been taking advantage of the low hardware prices to fill in my MF and LF outfits.

Whatever random bits anyone can toss in are definitely welcome.

1-Sep-2010, 13:14
The Epson V700 is okay for reasonable print sizes from 4x5, but it's a little more limited for medium format. It's okay for small prints and web stuff, but if you want to make big prints--larger than about a 4x enlargement--you'll eventually want more. A used Nikon 8000ED, Polaroid Sprintscan 120, Minolta Multi Pro, or the like, might fill that need when the time comes. They seem to run in the grand range used, so it's too much for now, but something to remember if the V700 doesn't meet your requirements with roll film.

The Fuji PA-45 is the only option at 4x5. But you can also use the PA-145, which uses the much cheaper 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 instant film. The 4x5 black and white film has apparently been discontinued, so I'm getting a little nervous about whether they are getting ready to abandon that pack format.

When I got back into darkroom work for the second time, I decided to stick with liquids (life's too short to mix powders). That would allow both HC-110 and Rodinal. Rodinal is pretty crisp--I probably wouldn't use it with fast film. But with slow film it's very sharp. But HC-110 was my standard with FP4 back in those days.

Rick "who used Rodinal with Panatomic-X in small format" Denney

Robert Hall
1-Sep-2010, 13:21
Efke is soft. If you are careful you might be ok, but if you are tray developing, well, I am not skilled enough to get efke out of a try without scratches. I use Jobo drums.

My 2 cents

Jim Galli
1-Sep-2010, 13:29
Don't know the answers to most of your questions but wanted to say welcome.

I have owned and used a Cambo 8X10 and found it to be completely untenable in the field because of mass. They were made for studio use on something with wheels. After trying one of everything, I settled at last on an ubiquitous Kodak 2D 8X10 that weighs about 11 pounds. It is a lot of fun to scan the big negs and the 810's work fine on an Epson V700. I also landed at PyroCatHD. I mix it up myself with a little Ohaus scale and it's ultra cheap to use, and lasts for months after mixed. I've never ever had a failure. PMK left edge effects that I never was able to solve. Denser for the first 1/2 inch or so into the film. I got tired of having to crop 4X5's to 3X4's.

John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 13:29
Rick, excellent idea on the PA-145. I presume it just crops the image a bit, which is fine when I would mostly be checking for exposure and filter effect. Also, it would mean I only need to have one instant film for both LF and MF. I can even carry a changing tent along if I need to swap, or worst case, lose one frame. The check is in the mail.

I was also thinking all liquid, as I had always used the liquid version of PMK as well.

I worked for Minolta for several years and who knows, with a little effort I might be able to score a Multi-Pro for a good price if I renew a few contacts. I've used the 8000ED several times and while it is a very temperamental unit and the software stinks, it produces outstanding scans.

1-Sep-2010, 13:40
...and the software stinks...

Yup. That's why I use Vuescan. That software makes it possible to buy used scanners without their software and still make them work.

Rick "who likes having the same software for both the Nikon and the Epson" Denney

John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 13:44
Robert, thanks for the info on Efke. I was expecting to tray process any sheet film. I do have a Jobo CPP2 with lift and just about every tank, reel and drum in existence, except the expert ones, but rotary processing B&W film has always made me uncomfortable.

Jim, I had wondered about how unwieldy a Cambo 8x10 would be. Fortunately, their lens board is large enough that in most cases I can mount any 8x10 capable lenses on another camera's board and use an adapter for the Master. Food for thought.

I haven't had edge problems with PMK previously, but I have never used it with sheet film, that I recall.

John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 14:41
So Rick, I take it the Fuji PA-145 is the same as the Polaroid 405. I had forgotten that back existed. I don't find the PA-145 new anywhere, so where do you get one? Is it currently manufactured?

1-Sep-2010, 16:30
I use the efke pl 50 4x5 film without hardening fixer and it's good. I develop it in a combiplan tank, so ymmv. I use it for Caffenol-C developing and for a traditional look in traditional developer. I don't use as much of it as I could because I also shoot TMY2 and that's so darn good, there is little need to use anything else.

I also have the v700 and it does a nice job scanning 8x10 and 4x5 film. I'm happy with it for MF too, but I'm sure there are better more expensive options for MF.

1-Sep-2010, 19:14
So Rick, I take it the Fuji PA-145 is the same as the Polaroid 405. I had forgotten that back existed. I don't find the PA-145 new anywhere, so where do you get one? Is it currently manufactured?

I don't see one, either, but someone else might know where to find one, or even have one for sale.

I sure thought they were currently manufactured, though probably in batches. That said, I don't see it listed on the Fujifilm USA site. I DO see FP100B45 listed as a "new" product, and I'm given to understand that film has been discontinued. Go figure. Fuji is rotten to the core about informing their customers of their intentions. I doubt the 3x4 size is in jeopardy just yet, though--it is still used in a zillion Polaroid Passport cameras. I need a special "red" passport for an upcoming trip as a government employee, and went to Target to have the photos made. They used a Passport camera with Fujiroid film.

A Polaroid 405 will work fine, and Adorama has a used one listed in E condition, if that interests you.

Rick "who uses the 4x5 film" Denney

Mike Anderson
1-Sep-2010, 19:40
So Rick, I take it the Fuji PA-145 is the same as the Polaroid 405. I had forgotten that back existed. I don't find the PA-145 new anywhere, so where do you get one? Is it currently manufactured?

I got one from Japan Exposures a few months ago:


I think it ended up costing me around $130, w/ shipping, used but pretty clean. I couldn't find one (or a Polaroid 405) more locally, so I sent off to Japan for one. I got it in about 10 days, not a bad experience.

After you've been a member in this forum for a month you get access to the "For Sale" forum, and those things (Fuji and Polariod versions) do pop up occasionally.


John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 20:55
Thanks guys.

I may try Efke in the future, but I guess for now I'll stick with more common films. I'm sure a V700 is in my near future as well. Then I'll decide if I need something in addition.

Rick and Mike, I got looking at small pack backs and the Cambo Master simply is not designed to take a pack where the darkslide pulls from the opposite of usual. I think it can work, but it will be a pain. I will have to insert the pack, remove the back, rotate it 180 degrees, expose, rotate it back (or remove it) pull the film, and so on. I think it will probably also only let me shoot verticals. It's only for exposure confirmation, so it isn't the end of the world and the cost savings will be nice.

Maybe I'm special, but I can access the "For Sale" section already.

John Rice
1-Sep-2010, 21:05
I forgot to mention...

I appears Rodinal is history as well.

David Karp
1-Sep-2010, 22:01
I forgot to mention...

I appears Rodinal is history as well.

Don't worry. Adox to the rescue:



2-Sep-2010, 06:07
Rick and Mike, I got looking at small pack backs and the Cambo Master simply is not designed to take a pack where the darkslide pulls from the opposite of usual.

Yes, you are right. Same with my Calumet-branded Cambo SC. It was a problem for the MPP 6x9 back. I need to pull that camera out and see which of my backs will fit. I have several types and can check them. It was a particular problem when I attempted to reverse the rear standard to accommodate very short lenses, and the result of all the effort was switching to a Sinar.

Rick "who could never manage 65mm and shorter on that camera" Denney