View Full Version : Help with Polaroid Sheet film—some white, some black, one worked!

23-Sep-2012, 19:10
Two weeks ago, I had my first go at using my 4x5 (a Zone VI).

Basic camera operation seemed simple enough. I'm sure there are about a million things I could have done better, but I got an image—sort of. I used Type 59 film, but had some trouble getting the hang of how Polaroid sheet film and the 454 holder worked. Out of 2 sheets, I had one work, though I will admit it was a little man handled.

In the intervening time, I put the Polaroid 454 manual on my phone this time and read it over and over, as well as using the processed sheets to get the hang of it.

Today, went out with 6 sheets of Type 57 (B&W, 3000 ISO). I had the following results:

Scene 1:
Sheet 1: Just a dark sort of molted dark gray.
Sheet 2: Slightly over exposer image, but an image!

Moved on to scene 2:
Sheet 3: white
Sheet 4: the sleeve didn't catch at all and came out of the holder, this was this a very gentle and slow pull.
Sheet 5: white
Sheet 6: dark gray

In all cases I loaded film into the holder off camera, made sure the lever was in L position, checked the direction of the film each time during loading, slide the sleeve gently open and checked that the pod and negative had not pulled out with the sleeve (as per the manual). Shutter seems fine, it fired, and yes both lens caps were off.

Any ideas? The manual was not so helpful. I'm wondering if the chemicals have simply given out.

23-Sep-2012, 19:17
I'm wondering if the chemicals have simply given out.

Most likely.

24-Sep-2012, 08:26
Nothing more frustrating when you can't get an image from those last remaining boxes of Polaroid film. If the sheets came out white, then chemicals did not spread across the surface for development.

This might be because the chemical pod did not burst. Two most likely causes for this: Either the arm is not down (in position "P") or you are not pulling the envelope out **at a steady, moderate speed** (you mention pulling "gently" - that might not allow for enough force to burst the chemical pod and spread the chems evenly across the surface.

As the instructions say: pull it out while saying the word "Polaroid". Say this with the normal speed you'd say the word. That's considered "moderate speed". I always err on 'ripping' the sheet out vs. going really slow.

The alternate reason why they might be white is because the chemical are completely dry. Was there any "goo" at all? Was it completely dry in that chemical pod? What was the expiration on that box of film? Also you mentioned that you did get one overexposed image - what ISO were you using?

As for those that came out grey: It sounds like you're saying there's no hint of your image at all - just a darkness. Clearly chemicals spread across the sheet (hooray!). But if they just look pretty much like a 'blank' sheet (grey this time rather than white) it sounds like you didn't expose the film. In other words, when you withdrew the envelope, the sheet and pod came with it. Sometimes it's a little difficult to tell that this is happening even if you are feeling LIGHTLY for the chemical pod. (The envelope should withdraw without the chemical pod, which is attached to the polaroid).

Joseph Dickerson
25-Sep-2012, 09:04
What is the expiration date on the Polaroid film? In my experience it doesn't age very well, kinda like a cheap red dinner wine, and it should never be frozen, the Polaroid, not the wine. Do you know how it has been stored in the years since it was manufactured?