PA-145

Discussion in 'Instant Cameras, Backs and Film' started by OEyers, May 14, 2013.

  1. OEyers

    OEyers Member

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    I've already posted this on my blog, but I thought it belongs here too.

    Whilst researching purchasing a PA-145 back for my Speed Graphic, I searched this forum for a guide to using it or at the least a review of it. However, sadly, there wasn't one that I could find. Never the less, I bought one and hope to try to be of use to anyone hoping to do so in the future.

    The PA-145: An Introduction

    Instant photography with a 4x5 camera is a frequent tool for those hoping to check exposure, composition etc. before finally taking the picture, in addition to use as a photographic medium in its own right. Ansel Adams claimed that it had "rewarding potentials in many fields of practical and creative photography", and used instant film for a good few of his iconic pictures, and even wrote an illuminating guide to its uses. In this guide, he was able to give information about multiple films produced by Polaroid in the 4x5 (image of 3.5 x 4.5inches) format- from Type 51 (high contrast, blue sensitive black-and-white print film) to Type 58 (a colour film). Now, after first Polaroid then Fuji stopped producing 4x5 film (Fuji discontinued its FP-3000B45 films relatively recently, with the colour film being sold only in Japan) one can only use the smaller PA-145 holder and the FP-3000B/100C films (3.25 x 4.25" image size). Thankfully, both are still available.

    The Back:

    The back, briefly, fits a graflock back, and is essentially a plastic case with rollers and a dark slide. The film fits into the case and the film is pulled out of the rollers. Its all rather self explanatory.

    The film:
    FP-100C:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/products/ins..._datasheet.pdf

    The film, with a speed at 100ASA, costs about £17 and is sold in packs of 10. In addition to fitting in the PA-145 back it fits into various Land cameras (IIRC the 100,200,300 and 400 series cameras). It's temperature is 5500K, or daylight. It can be developed (post exposure) at a temperature of between 10-35[SUP]o[/SUP]C- with times ranging from 60-270 seconds. Care should be taken, as always, to prevent exposure to radiation or extreme temperatures (to prevent the developing fluid from freezing). There is a recoverable negative, but its a pain to recover.

    FP-3000B:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/products/ins..._datasheet.pdf

    As opposed to FP-100C, this has an ASA of 3000 (not 3200!) and costs about £18. Its a medium contrast black and white film. Again, it fits in the PA-145 and some Land cameras. Its development times are far shorter, in the order of about 30 seconds. Again care should be taken, as always, to prevent exposure to radiation or extreme temperatures (to prevent the developing fluid from freezing). The negative can (when dry) be scanned, inverted and have to contrast boosted to give an image (generally not as good as the print tho').

    Use:

    (This is my workflow, using a tripod (as I assume most would) if you're handholding, skip straight to step 3)

    1. Prepare the camera for exposure as usual. Focus, compose (bearing in mind that the image exposed will be slightly offset to one side) and close the shutter.

    2. Remove the ground glass, and attach the back.

    3. Remove the dark slide, or move it out of the way.

    4. Make the exposure.

    5. Replace the dark slide. I usually find it helpful to take the back off the camera at this point.

    6. Pull the first (white) tab out of the back.

    7. Pull the second tab out, attempting to do so with even timing and pressure. Bear in mind that the pressure will suddenly increase when you get the neg/print to the rollers. For an even image, pull at an even, mid paced speed- perhaps timing by saying "polaroid".

    8. Start timing the development from now. On part of the NEG/PRINT sandwich, closest to the tab, should be a table giving timings for this.

    9. Peel off the print after a the time has elapsed.

    10. Let the print dry in a dust-free environment, as the surface can be slightly tacky and difficult (if not nearly impossible to clean).

    (11?) Before/ after using a roll, its a good idea to remove and clean the rollers (instructions for this are printed on the inside of the pack).

    Results:

    Both films are tack-sharp, the 100C has relatively accurate colour rendition (i.e. they look realistic, but I haven't bothered checking). The 3000B is very fine-grained, depute being fast. I prefer to rate the 3000B at about a half stop under, and give it a few extra seconds development, however YMMV. I may post some of my pictures on here at some point, but thats another blog post.

    Happy shooting! :D
    [/B][/B][/B][/B]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2013
  2. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    Thanks for the description, I have been using my 145 back on my SpeedGraphic and really like it so far. One comment... I know that the FP-100c film is self terminating (you dont have to peel the film open at a certain time) and I believe that the 3000b is as well. Technically speaking, I think you could under-develop the film if you choose (better negative), but not over expose...

    I find this to be helpful in the field, because you dont have to peel open your shots, and worry about damaging your prints!
     
  3. OEyers

    OEyers Member

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    @PtJudeRI

    Damn! I should have said half a stop higher. I was under the impression (haven't tested it yet) that it was the other way round- therefore I have always payed more attention to the temperature and timing of the colour film. Thanks for pointing my mistake out tho!
     
  4. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Agreed, FP100c develops to completion, so timing it is not critical. Also, recovering the negative on FP100c is trivially easy. FP3000 negatives are basically unusable, in comparison.
     
  5. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    I didn't know about the develop to completion thing. So I could shoot a pile of FP100C and just leave it unpeeled until I get home?
     
  6. xya

    xya Member

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    yes, you can, easily. but put them in a plastic box (tupper style) so that they don't dry too fast and get difficult to separate. and it shouldn't be a hot summer day under a blazing sun.
     
  7. OEyers

    OEyers Member

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    @EdSawyer. Perhaps so, but when I tried it it didn't go particularly well. 3000B, on the other hand, comes out quite nicely (if left alone, then scanned).
     
  8. vysk

    vysk Member

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    Funny, I was shooting FP100c for fun and was thinking about old habits.

    So, back in the day, if you were shooting and developing in field, how did you keep the photos apart so that they could dry?

    And, how did you deal with the icky backing? I'm around in a city so lots of garbage cans, but, not really if I"m in side streets.

    ...vick
     
  9. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    Whats the consensus on the 3000b?? I have never tried to recover those negs, as I was under the impression that you couldn't bleach them as you do with the 100c. The 100c ones that I have recovered have usually turned out a bit flat, but I haven't "developed for the negative" either. I think that may be my next project. Overall, that 100c film is pretty awesome though...
     
  10. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    Hi there, my name is Pete Wolters and I am new here in the world of Large Format Photography, although I registered much earlier.

    I need your help!

    I own a Graflex Crown and a Speed Graphic. Recently I purchased a Fuji PA-145 back in order to get the "hang" of it before trying my hand on developing film myself.
    Today, a lovely sunny day, I followed all the necessary and important steps (focussing on the ground glass) etc. and took my first picture with the Crown (Xenar 4.7/135) and to my astonishment the picture was out of focus.
    Repeated the steps, checked the focus on the ground glass (sharp as a knife) but the end result was the same.
    Then I took another lens (Ilex Paragon 6,3/216mm) and gave it another shot. Same result, out of focus.
    I tried both lenses on the Speed Graphic but the outcome was the same. Still out of focus.

    Can it be possible that it's not the camera but the Fuji back or the film pack?
    Could it be that the image on the ground glass differs from that on the film (length)?

    Is there some solution perhaps? Hope I'm not the only one who has this problem.

    I would very much appreciate any input from any of you.

    Thank you all in advance.
     
  11. vysk

    vysk Member

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    My guess is that the ground glass is registering at a different distance than the PA-145 back. You would have to devise some clever ways to measure where things are registering.
     
  12. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Check that the ground glass is the right way around. I've seen them with the glass back to front which can cause focus problems.
     
  13. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    Hello VYSK and Michael W,

    Thank you for your suggestions.
    I first checked the ground glass and Fresnel, they where assembled in the right order and I cleaned them just in case. There was no improvement in sharpness.
    Just to make sure that the assembly was right: Hood, ground glass, Fresnel (with the milky side and ribbed side facing towards each other) bellows and lens.

    Then I tried to measure the lenght of a certain point of the front end of the camera to the ground glass (image-1) and did the same on the dark slide of the mounted the PA-145 (image-2).
    There is one millimeter difference but when the darkslide is removed the distance became the same. It was a bit of a crude measurement but it was all I could do at this moment.
    image1.jpg image-2.jpg

    So alas no solution at this point. Any suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  14. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    Can you take a few more photos for us? Of the camera back, with and without the PA-145 in place?? The dark slide should have no bearing on the distance of the back to the film plane. Its contained within the housing, inside the rails.

    I think something else is amiss here.
     
  15. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    Hi, I hope these will help.
    If you need more detailed pic's let me know. Thanks!

    IMG_0616.jpg IMG_0617.jpg IMG_0615.jpg IMG_0613.jpg IMG_0603.jpg IMG_0607.jpg IMG_0608.jpg IMG_0610.jpg IMG_0611.jpg
     
  16. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    OK.... well, I have a different back, The spring or Graphic back... So I am less familiar with your Graflok back, but everything looks to be in order... :confused:

    Are your photos out of focus across the whole image or partially? are they in focus if you are stopped down to, say, f22?? Light leaks?
     
  17. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    The overall pic is just out of focus, even with f22 or f32. There's no sharp piece to be found on it. At a glance you would say that it's OK but when you look with a critical eye you'll notice.
    No light leaks or streaks present and the colors are fine.
     
  18. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    Well, Im at a loss here... The only thing I can think of is that the light trap rails are holding your back further away from the film plane than it should, but thats certainly a shot in the dark. I would do a few tests by throwing your focus out and trying to see if you can get a sharp image to reference. ??
     
  19. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    OK, thank you. I'll give it a few more "shot's" this weekend and keep you posted.
     
  20. xya

    xya Member

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    I don't have this camera, but on my lf camera the polaroid holder just slides under the ground glass, like a sheet film holder. it's not necessary to take away the ground glass. it's a bit tricky because it's thicker than a sheet film holder, but the springs are wide enough. I don't know if this makes a difference but it's worth a try.
     
  21. mgbgt68

    mgbgt68 Member

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    Thanks but this not possible with the Graflok back that's on my camera.