View Full Version : Polaroid 545i holders

Steve Lewis
19-Oct-2003, 06:02
Hi guys

Is there a film flatness problem (or any other problems) when using Fuji Quickload film in the 545i back? I know that the older 545 back lacks the pressure plate, which is fitted to Fuji's own holder, but does the newer Polariod back have a pressure plate?




Tim Curry
19-Oct-2003, 06:27
I don't remember if my (newer) 545i holder has a pressure plate or not. That having been said, I get excellent results with both Fuji and Kodak products in mine. I think it is the best of both worlds for Quickloads, Readyloads and Polaroids. I do have a friend who uses his Kodak holder with Fuji loads and has had no trouble with film loading/unloading problems or image quality. My Fuji holder will not function reliably with Kodak products.

Ellis Vener
19-Oct-2003, 07:42
I switched to a Fuji holder from using a 545i holder after running some tests, the results showed that the QL film in the 545 holder wasn;t quite as sharp at the edges as at the center at apertures from f/5.6 to f/16 using a 210mm lens focused on a brick wall (camera was very carefully made parallel to the wall) about seven feet from the camera. My Polaroid Type 55 negatives made as part of the tests ( to check focus and exposure) in the same 545i holder did not demonstrate this problem.

The flatness of the filmplane in these holders is more of a result of the tension on the film and this is results from the packet design -- which I assume is optimised for the Polaroid, Fuji & Kodak holders respectively than from the presence of a pressure plate.

Some background: Many (18? 17?) years ago when Polaroid introduced the ProChrome line of films for Polaroid 4x5 holders, these films were a slightly different size than standard 4x5 film. I assume that this was to make the film fit better in the 545 holder. These films were made for Polaroid by Fuji and were Fujichrome 100D and 64T emulsions. I remember this because I worked as a lighting assistant on one of the advertising posters made for the Pro Chrome films.

Gem Singer
19-Oct-2003, 16:42
Hi Steve,

I recently purchased a box of Fuji Neopan 100 Acros Quickloads and was pleased to see that Fuji included complete instructions for using the Quickloads with a Polaroid 545i holder. I have a 545i holder, and did not want to invest in a Fuji Quickload holder, if I didn't need to.

The Polaroid 545i has a pressure plate, but it is not moveable or spring loaded. Too much pressure would probably be a problem because of the chemical pod included in the Polaroid film packet. Since the pod ruptures only when it is pulled through the rollers, spreading the processing chemicals onto the film, you wouldn't want it to be squeezed too soon. The Quickload film packet has no chemical pod, so is slightly thinner. That may account for the slight focusing error. I usually expose at f22, or smaller. Focusing error hasn't proven to be a problem for me, yet.

However, if I were starting from scratch with the Quickloads, and did not already have a 545i holder, I would definitely purchase a Fuji Quickload holder.

Bill Jefferson
20-Oct-2003, 03:13

Just a little history the Polacrome film was made by us (Polaroid) I was a crew chief at that time and the film was run on my machine. I still have some


Ellis Vener
20-Oct-2003, 07:47
I was told by the Polaroid reps at the time that the ProChrome (not Polachrome) was fuji 100D & 64t stock manufactured to Polaroid specs. The shoot I worked on was done by Mark Green and was of an industrial turbine. I'm in the shot wearing the red hardhat.

Bill Jefferson
20-Oct-2003, 08:10
Ellis, Sorry I ment the Procrome.

Sal Santamaura
20-Oct-2003, 08:17
And I was told at that time that Fuji shipped large rolls of film which Polaroid cut down and packaged here.

Ted Harris
20-Oct-2003, 09:55
Back to film flatness specifically. I absolutely agree with Ellis and have run the same tests. OTOH if you want an all purpose holder to use with Quickloads, Readyloads and Polaroid the 545/545i work fine for many non critical applications. You should try it with some Fuji and/or Kodak film and see what you think.

When I can afford the weight and the space I always carry the manufacturer's holder(s). If I am shooting any two of the three I carry the 545i only.

Generally, however, I try to keep to the Quickloads and Quickload holder in the field to guarantee best flatness.

20-Oct-2003, 10:03
Sorry to seem the fly in the ointment here, especially after souch eloquent replies. But a new 545 pro's film location was so badly out of flat (to the gg) that I took it back and after a measurment demonstration to a doubtfull sales person who I am sure thought I was mad, agreed to exchange it. Measurement of all the other 545 pro's including the rental ones were also well *out*. In fact mine was the *flatest* of them all. With error running to 1.4mm angled to the gg plane. The Polaroid rep was about as interested as the Pope as his head was full of all things plastic and pixeled. (Sinar recon .3mm to be about it.)

This may explain why polaroids are oftentime not as sharp as one would expect. Coinsidence of aperature setting and focal length having a bearing. Needless to say polaroid's letterbox marketing may not be reaching its intended volume at this address anyway. I have no reason to suppose that 545i's are any more or less *accurate* in their construction than the 545 pro.

Paul Butzi
20-Oct-2003, 11:51
At one point, I got interested in the issues surrounding the various packet holders (Kodak, Fuji, and Polaroid), the various systems, etc. I summarized my findings on my web site, and the page (at
www.butzi.net/reviews/readyquick.htm (http://www.butzi.net/reviews/readyquick.htm))
gets considerable traffic.  It also generates a considerable stream of
emailed questions, most of which center around which packets can be successfully
used in which holders.

As part of gathering the info for that web page, I did film flatness and
position measurements for quite a few holders, including the Polaroid 545i, the
old Kodak double sheet and single sheet Readyload holders, and the Fuji
Quickload holder.

Regular fidelity holders, Grafmatics, the Kodak holders, and the Fuji holders
all positioned the film in about the same place (that is, the differences were
very small and the position was close to the standard).

The polaroid holder with Polaroid film in it also positioned the film at that
depth.  The polaroid holder with both Readyloads (single and double sheet)
and with Fuji Quickload packets had a fairly significant error, on the order of
.04 inches/1mm.  That's working from memory, my notes are actually buried
in a box somewhere and the box hasn't surfaced since I moved.

20-Oct-2003, 14:15
"With error running to 1.4mm angled to the gg plane."

Since I've always wished for better with my Polaroid holders, this got my interest and I measured both my 545i and 545Pro holders with a digital mic. Are you sure you didn't miss a decimal point? My measurments, at corners and across the film plane, only show a discrepency of .14mm. And my holders were both bought used, although in excellent condition. There's a difference there of 10 times!

21-Oct-2003, 10:06
RichSBV, I would say you could have a lucky one. Keep it quiet and hide it they may want it back. I must confess I have missed placed the notes and I was going by memory. I recall commenting that this particular holder was about 5 times the Sinar suggestion of .3mm. Yes a rediculous amount. Measurment was done by laying a flat plane across the rear frame using a dial gauge on the gg (in 5 places) then comparing to the mounted holder. Most of my Lisco's were ball park being +.2 to say about -.6mm at the worst. With individual slides being no more than about .4/5mm out at their worst, some were perfect.

If any one is interested I used a Motorcycle TDC gauge giving 1/10's of a mm screwed into an aluminium bar, yes flat, that was positioned about the milled surface of the GG frame.

Ellis Vener
21-Oct-2003, 11:56
My experience is that it makes more sense to shoot tests rather than strictly rely on measurements. Having owned three or four, and rented & borrowed others,545 or 545i holders in twenty years, I have seen maybe one that wasn't right in line with the groundglass position of the various cameras I've owned or used including Sinar P, Sinar C, Horseman LX, Toyo G, Canham DLC, Linhof TK45s, & Arca-Swiss F-line.

I'm not saying you are wrong --how can I since I wasn't there -- but to make a blanket condemnation of 545 & 545i holders is not true to my experience and makes me suspect that some thing else was the culprit.

Paul Butzi
21-Oct-2003, 18:29
When I did my tests of film positioning, I owned TWO polaroid 545i holders. Both measured as substantially off when holding both Quickloads and Readyloads. In fact, both holders measured off by the same amount. I'd note that the film position with Quickloads and Readyloads is NOT the same as with a Polaroid film packet, because of the thickness of the Polaroid packet.

Both the Kodak and Fuji holders use a spring loaded pressure plate to force the film forward against the frame of the holder, ensuring that the film is positioned the same regardless of what lies behind the film. The Polaroid holders do not have a spring loaded pressure plate, and rely on the film being attached to the packet in a certain way to get the film in the right place. Unfortunately, neither the Kodak nor Fuji packets are constructed in that way, with the result that they end up in the wrong place.

Net result - you can get perfectly fine results in a Polaroid holder when using Polaroid packets, and then get unacceptable results from the very same holder when using Kodak or Fuji packets.

22-Oct-2003, 10:25
Ellis, you seem to be doubtfull. That's fine. It was only a comment in the first place not a definitive statement. Just my experience. My main gripe if it's that is the lack of consern from the Polaroid rep. I am well aware that good if not great images are created with polaroid but on the other hand there seems to be a body of folk who seem less enthusiastic. It may well be a quality control issue and with the now practically extinguished use of pols, in au anyway, I can hardly see any one breaking their necks to do much about it.

22-Oct-2003, 11:05
otzi: Just curious here. When did you have the problem with the holders? Polaroid did go through that bankruptcy thing a while back. Maybe that had someting to do with the reps 'enthusiasm'?

23-Oct-2003, 09:27
RichSBV _ Yes it was. I hadn't thought of that. The timer stuffed up early on and that got repaired but I feel that was on the local distributer.

23-Oct-2003, 13:06

Well, that doesn't help with the flatness problem(?), but if I worked for a company that was going bankrupt I probably wouldn't be too enthusiastic either. Although in my present position, I try to make up for my company's shortcomings with out customers. And it's not easy sometimes... The only problem I've ever had with my 545Pro is the batteries sometimes loss contact and the back resets. This has never happened while waiting for the timer luckily, but it does get anoying having to re-enter the film type every now and then. As a used item, it's a problem I can live with...

Ellis Vener
23-Oct-2003, 14:29
Otzi, try talking to the Polaroid Tech reps at Polaroid's toll free # or through their web site. I have always gotten excellent support & help from them. Sales reps are just sales reps. P'roid is well clear of the bankruptcy and has been for months.