New 55 4x5 Instant Film for 545 Holders!

     So those of you that like to make images with large format film probably know that the old instant films are long gone. You can find them here and there on eBay for $200 and up for a 10 pack and even then, there is no guarantee that they will work.

     Well, I found out about this inventor/engineer who lives in Massachusetts who has taken it upon himself to start making large format instant film for 4x5 camera that use the 545 holders available again. He found himself some investor and some help and they make this stuff BY HAND! They have had several successful batches produced and sold. You have a choice of 4x5 color instant, 4x5 B&W positive/negative instant, Panchromatic sheet, and ready loaded sheet films. They even have 545 holders and Ilford rapid fixer for sale!

     The instant films run for $75 for a pack of 5 which is WAY less expensive than what you can find the Polaroid Type 55 instant film for. Everything else on their site is very reasonably priced. They are selling small batches in order to build up enough funds to start mass production which I cannot wait for!

     I ordered the B&W instant with the Ilford fixer for the negative and I will be posting images here once I get the kit. You can find out more by clicking this link to the New 55 site.

Very Expired and Opened Polaroid Type 55 Sheet Film

     So I purchased some Polaroid Type 55 that had been opened. I picked up 18 of them for $35. Yeah, none of them work. The chems were all dried up. I went through almost all of them hoping to find one that would work. NOPE! The paper wouldn't even slide off the film to expose it. I am wondering now if all of the offerings on eBay are like that. I think New 55 might be my only option at this point but at $75 a pack, that can get expensive. I will continue to keep on eye on eBay and maybe I will be able to find some for a decent price.

Large Format Photography

     So I just recently finished up a class on View Camera Theory and after seeing some of the work by famous photographers who used these cameras, I decided to pick one up off of eBay. At this point, I didn't realize how hard it is to find 4x5 sheet film for these cameras or how expensive it is. For example, the 4x5 Polaroid 55 instant film runs around $200 for 12 sheets. No thanks, I'm good. The single sheets that are not instant are MUCH less expensive and in most cases expired. I am good with expired and I actually prefer it due to some of the cool artifacts you get once it isdeveloped.

 

     It took me only a few minutes to figure out how to work the camera since I have not seen one of these beasts up close. The are not exactly portable and it is hard to believe that photojournalists carried these things around reporting the news. The film was easy to load since it came with a 16 sheet pack which has these tabs that you pull to expose the film to the image coming through the lens. This was the easy part. The hard part came when I tried to open, separate, and load the film into the tank inside of a developing bag made for 35mm or 120mm film. I was using a three reel Paterson tank with a MOD 54 spindle. It was VERY difficult to work inside such a small space. The MOD 54 only holds six sheets of film so I had to stuff the other 10 back in the holder and hope that I closed it enough to keep the light out.

     Once I had the film in the tank, I developed like I normally would. Come to find out that I was agitation the tank with too great of force and the sheets slipped off of the spindle and stuck together on the inside of the tank. The caused some of them to stick together which made for some trippy looking images.

 

     I have since then decided to use my studio which has four window wells that are covered with blackout blinds. This allowed me to set up a table and red safe light to work with. This time I only used two sheets of film as a test to see if the red light will negatively effect the film. I will be posting the results soon!