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Thread: Polaroid type 55

  1. #1

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    Polaroid type 55

    What are the advantages to shooting Polaroid type 55? I've seen people post about it but until now have only used Polaroid materials for proofing and checking exposures. Do people use it as their primary film? Does it have a different look when printed to Tri-X or Tmax? What is the process for developing and how stable is it after developing? Thanks!

    Andy

  2. #2

    Polaroid type 55

    t-55 is a really wonderful thing. It is nearly grainless, and has a really smooth grey scale. It processes pretty easily sodium sulfite and a sink is all you need. a couple things to watch for are that is pretty delicate it scratches very easily and will even tear, also without well cleaned rollers you can get pretty modeled looking areas and other weird polaroid stuff. have fun

    doug

  3. #3

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    Polaroid type 55

    Thanks Doug. Another question... What is the latitude of T-55 like? Are there any methods that you can use to control contrast with this type of film? N+/- development doesn't really seem like an option. ;^)

  4. #4

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    Polaroid type 55

    Hi Andy

    Doug is correct. Polaroid tyepe 55 is a great film. The grain is fantastic. The emulsion is easily scratched so watch out for that. I use the film for portrait work. As far as contrast goes the options are a tad limited. I have even talked to the wise folks at Polaroid to get any info on N+/- development. No luck for me.

    Since I use the film for portraits I have no problems as I control the light. There are times where I will overexpose the negative to get more density. I did try the usual over/under development of the film with not much difference. For me the tradeoff of lack of contol with N+/- is worth it. I have an entire article of how to work with the film on location by Marc Hauser in an early Polaroid magazine. I can send you a Xerox copy if you like. It is very informative. Please do not let the lack of expansion or contraction bother you if you can control the light to some extent. Good Luck!

    Bruce

  5. #5

    Polaroid type 55

    Andy, there is a page of information about Type 55 right here on lfphotography.info that you may find helpful: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/polaroid55.html

  6. #6

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    Polaroid type 55

    Given its softness, is it worth running the Type 55 negative through a hardening fixer?

  7. #7
    Yes, but why? David R Munson's Avatar
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    Polaroid type 55

    As long as you're careful with the negatives, I don't think you would need to use any kind of hardener. Personally, I love 55, especially for portrait work. Has a great look to it, I get instant feedback, and I get a big negative to print from, all without having to set foot in the darkroom until it's time to print. Here are two examples of portraits I've done on this film - 1, 2. And here is a still life. It's a really versatile film - just remember to give it enough exposure for a good negative (I usually go for about EI 32 or 25). You can also shoot it out in the field and process when you get back, which dispenses with the need to carry a clearing tank around with you, which is a *huge* pain.
    So apparently my signature was full of dead links after a few years away...

  8. #8

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    Polaroid type 55

    Back in the college days (really not that long ago) I payed my way through by working as the darkroom guy for the Library's special collections department. It was a fantastic experience. Due to the nature of a lot of our requests I ran through hundreds of sheets of T-55 while I was there. It blew as a copy film but was nice as a portrait film. David's pictures atest to that. There were also many T-55 negs in the collections. I did not like printing them thought, I always thought it had a certain softness to it and do not think it enlarged particularly well. It is grainless though, I mean spooky grainless, like the image was painted on the neg. Which I guess in a way it was.

    Just my opinion

  9. #9

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    Polaroid type 55

    In Ansels book Polaroid Land Photography he goes into a lot of detail about how to get + development(slight underexposere and 2 to 3 times development time) and minus development(overexposure and underdevelopment) there were a host of other ways to change the curve too. He also recomended washing the negs then fixing them in standard fixer and washing in the usual way.

    Type 55 has all the smoothness of slow speed film without the harshness associated with the same emulsions. It has shadow detail like a 125 speed film, excellent stuff!

    CP Goerz.

  10. #10

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    Polaroid type 55

    Check out Ansel Adams book on Polaroid photography. He discusses some aspects of contrast control.

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