Polaroid and Fuji Instant film quality?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by PHOTOTONE, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have been using Polaroid type 79 for years and years as a testing film in my studio prior to shooting color transparencies. I have put up with off-color, and poorly processed results because the image still was useful to me in evaluating my exposure and depth-of-field, and composition.

    Recently my regular vendor was out of type 79, and I ordered some Fuji FP-100c in 4x5 pack format. Wow, it developed better, had (for the first time for me) an absolutely neutral color balance, and a better rendering of highlight values, and the prints had a better gloss.

    I know one film is individual sheet 4x5 (type 79), and one is Pack 4x5 (FP-100c), thus different film holders, but I keep my rollers clean on both film backs, the Fuji just overall performs better...and is cheaper per exposure.

    I was wondering if anyone else noticed the differences?
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Interesting. I have only used the Polaroid products as the Fuji products have been a lot more expensive here.

    PE
     
  3. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    God yes; Fuji's instant film is miles better than Type 79. I only use Fuji in the medium format now.

    I don't have a 4x5" pack film holder unfortunately... Is FP100c available in Quickload & will it work in a Polaroid 545? (Yeah, I know, I should Google; but I've got to dash out of the house... I'll do my own research when I get back...)
     
  4. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Well comparing the per-exposure cost of a 20 sheet box of Polaroid type 79, with 2 10 sheet packs of Fuji FP-100c from a common vendor such as B&H:

    Polaroid type 79 20 sheet box $83.95

    Fuji FP-100c 4x5 2-10 sheet packs $69.90

    Per sheet cost Polaroid $4.19
    Per sheet cost Fuji $3.49

    A significant savings, I think...and this is official US import stock on both products. While one in pack and the other is sheet..the films are both ISO 100 speed color print films...Polaroid does not make a 4x5 pack film anymore.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

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    Ok, I was comparing the MF packs. Fuji was the roughly the same for 1 pack as the Polariod was for 2 packs or about 2x the cost. Since I only used it for setups, I never was really concerned about slight color shifts and whatnot, as I then went on to use a film back.

    PE
     
  6. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    No Fuji instant film available in USA in individual sheet format (you call it Quickload). Just the 4x5 pack film format, which actually gives a slightly larger print than the individual sheet format that type 79 comes in.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I too, am not concerned with color-shifts, since I only use instant-film for testing, but I am still impressed with the overall quality improvements exhibited by the Fuji over the current Polaroid material in 4x5 size. I could actually use the Fuji for exquisite 4x5 miniature images, whereas the Polaroid has more variable quality and poor even-ness of development which would prohibit this type of use. And, before anyone mentions it, it is not my 4x5 Polaroid holder at fault, because I have several, they are all clean, and the Polaroid material just does not develop as evenly as the Fuji.
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    PE, times have changed. Again from the B&H website, but comparable to other online vendors:

    Polaroid 690 Polacolor Pro 3.25 x 4.25 filmpack 10 exposure $10.99

    Fuji FP-100c 3.25 x 4.25 filmpack 10 exposure $8.49

    Both are ISO 100 instant color print films for medium-format film backs.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

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    I recognize that the Polaroid is about the same price as last year, but the Fuji at that time was about $12 or more. They have certainly come down. I wonder why? The costs of materials have gone up. Maybe due to flagging Polaroid sales have upped production at Fuji causing prices to drop.

    I have both 4x5 and MF holders, so I could go either way depending on camera. Sounds interesting, but I still have the 2 replacement packs from Polaroid to use. Well, only 1.5 now. I don't do much more than use the Polaroid now to verify my camera settings.

    PE
     
  10. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Thanks for that! Looks like I need to find myself a 4x5 packfilm holder then :smile:. Just when I thought it was safe to stay away from eBay... I've yet to be satisfied with the colour of Polacolor 79; it also seems to require somewhat delicate handling if I don't want emulsion defects in the print - FP100c in the medium format has always seemed less delicate as well as having a more pleasing colour palette. I'm very fond of Polapan 54 though (and never have any similar emulsion problems with it,) so it's not all bad news for Polaroid from me :smile:.

    I do have a pack of Polacolor 59 which I really ought to get round to having a play with... Intention was to try some emulsion lifts with it, but I never seem to get a round tuit.


    (The other good think about FP100c for medium-format users is that it's available in a silk finish version, which looks fantastic (to my eye.) Doesn't look like silk is available in 4x5 though, more's the pity.)
     
  11. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Interesting observations. On the B&W side of things, has anyone compared Fuji FP100B to the Polaroid types for print quality? I'm meaning prints from Type 52, 55, or 54. The Polaroid prints can be exquisite but based on this thread, I'm wondering.
     
  12. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    From working in labs there was a very odd thing which I observed Polaroid was bought by photographers who wanted off colour so that the clients would look at the image and go eww and then look at the final transparency and go WOW!!!.

    With fuji the product was always rich and accurate and so the wow factor when the client saw the tranny was supposedly less so hehehe.
    Also when photographers shoot and need something matched to an instant film they always seemed to supply fuji. It was far more accurate across the board. Is it just people dont know how to use polaroid properly? or that it really is poor at replication of colour?

    one advantage to polaroid is it seems to handle very long exposures better than fuji.
     
  13. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Brilliant, I like it!
    Speculating entirely here, but I imagine part of it is simply that the Fuji is a newer formulation/newer technology. Presumably if Polaroid went out there and changed (say) Type 79 now to perform better, there would be outrage from everyone who had got used to its unique characteristics (Polaroid is the old Holga among the art set after all, and if Polaroids started actually looking like decent prints they'd lose part of that charm.) But on the other hand, there probably isn't the market there to justify producing a new type which is any good, and selling it in addition to Type 79 - after all, in a declining market they'd probably just see it as cannibalising their own sales.
     
  14. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I've noticed, in medium format, between the B&W polaroid and B&W fuji films that there seems to be less messy goo on the fuji instant products. I've not used any polaroid colour but I like what I've seen as far as fuji FP100C in medium format.
     
  15. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    In general, I'd agree with that too. But for balance, I would say I've had one pack of FP100C go catastrophically wrong in the back (can't remember what happened exactly, but it definitely went pear shaped) leaving me with a horrific mess of gunk all over the rollers and holder, so the Fuji definitely can go wrong as well.

    (Typically, this happened in the middle of a session with a model. I learnt from that incident that if I were doing the job professionally, I'd make sure to have two pack holders :smile:.)

    Also in defence of Polaroid, I should say my most recent gallery photo (which was uploaded before this thread started I hasten to add) is a Polacolor 79 print. If you know its limits it can still make a nice (to me) end product:
    [​IMG]
    (Although this isn't the 'end product' in this case - I have some sheets of film to develop over Christmas - it's 'good enough for the web'. That's one of the reasons I like instant film - I can participate in my local group's fun 'theme photo competitions' on the Internet and get a shot up quicker than the digital folk. I can then work on getting an actually decent image out of the negs at my leisure.)
     
  16. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I rarely have failures with either companies Instant films, though it seems about equal between them. Overall I think Fuji FP100C falls somewhere between Polaroid 669 and 690 in colour response, which is one of the reasons I use it. The other reason for me getting Fuji Instant is that I still use a Polaroid 550 pack film holder, and Polaroid no longer make any films for these holders. The Fuji Instant films are more expensive than Polaroid films, so for my Polaroid 405 holder, and my 250 Automatic camera, I mostly buy Polaroid Instant films.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography