Polaroid Image Transfer - Help a newbie getting started :O)

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Kim Catton, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    Hi. I mostly do 35mm and 6x6 b/w photos printed on RC paper. I am at the moment also experimenting with liquid emulsion, great stuff :=)

    Most recently I have been looking at the possiblities of Image Transfer. I want to try this. What is the cheapest way to try this? Ive been looking through the galleries and seeing that most of the pictures done this way has been done using largeformat cameras and speciel polaroid films?

    any help is apreciated.

    regards, kim.
     
  2. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    That liquid emulsion stuff was quite the fashion when I was doing a photography course at a local college 2003-2005. How do you use it?
     
  3. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    polaroid image transfer

    Kim, I can give you a little of what I know, I used it for years but now in Australia a pack of 20 is up around $180AU!!! There are TWO processes to do with Polaroid. (I refer to a box of 20 single polaroids, 5x4 size, which are put into a special holder one at a time) 1) Image Transfer 2) Emulsion Transfer
    If you don't have a 5x4 camera, an alternative is to use what they call a "daylab" which will print your 35mm slides onto one of these polaroids, but also using the special 5x4 holder. The daylab is not cheap but the polaroid holders can usually be found second hand for not so much money.
    I could write a book on this subject, as all users probably could, so I suggest you look into some books, there are a few available, also I'm sure there'd be something online somewhere.
    The polaroid Image/Emulsion Transfers are one of those processes which takes a lot of testing/failures etc and can be painful to the hip pocket if you lack patience. Hope I have (not?) put you off!!
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    check polaroid's website they give specific directions, and/or find a copy of Kathleen Carr's wonderful book "Polaroid Transfers". It covers anything you will need to know and more.

    daylabs or vivator processors can be found on ebay on a regular basis. You could also find a polaroid camera that will use 669 film and by pass the slides; however, it has it's own drawbacks.

    Check Kathleen's book, it is very detailed and will be easier to understand.
     
  5. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I'll second the Carr book - it is well written and very comprehensive. I would also suggest the cheapest way to get into Polaroids would be to get an older Polaroid camera that uses the correct film type. I picked up a 250 for a buck (shipping was $4) so I was able to start on a fiver. The film however is not as cheap, but the experience is worth the time, just to see if you like it. You'll get much sharper images with the Daylab or a 4x5 holder, but until you know if it's for you, you might do better with the less expensive option...

    - Randy
     
  6. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    http://www.polaroid.com/creative/index.jsp?PRDREG=null

    Just as a start, that is a good place to visit. Using type 669 film is probably the easiest and lowest cost. If you go with 35mm slides, and a DayLab, Vivitar, or old Sunpak Polaroid Printer, then you can repeat experiments. Unless something really goes wrong, hold onto your bad results; you can later use those to teach others, or you might find something more interesting.

    Buying good art paper really helps a great deal. Getting a good roller can make things easier. The one I use is the type useful for doing hand cut block prints, basically a medium firm rubber like material roller sized about the size of the Polaroid film. Paper is somewhat of a personal choice, and also a little experimentation to find what will work best for you.

    I exhibit many Polaroid transfers and other Polaroid manipulations. My initial adventures with this were very frustrating, especially after reading some instructions that were less than ideal. It is better if you know someone doing this that is willing to show you in person. Barring that, buy a few boxes of type 669 and give it a shot, making notes as you go. I have done most of the possible manipulations, though I tend to do more type 690 transfers currently. I have also done a few emulsion lifts onto glass or other non-paper surfaces, but lifts are tougher to do than transfers.

    Other than temperature or rolling technique, paper has the greatest impact on how well the transfer works. After trying several Hot Pressed and Cold Pressed papers, I ended up finding Fabriano Aquarello watercolour paper. The version I use is the Artistico Extra White 100% cotton Grana Satinata Hot Pressed paper. That is sold in block pads, is archival (if that matters to you), and is acid free. However, this is not easy to find paper, so I would suggest you find a thick paper that has a very smooth surface (Satinata or Satin is very smooth) and just practice with one paper until it seems you are consistent.

    Best of luck with this. It can be very enjoyable to see the results. Don't worry about perfect pulls when separating negative from paper, since the imperfections add to the uniqueness and character.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    http://www.allgstudio.com
     
  7. terri

    terri Subscriber

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    Hi Kim - probably the cheapest way to try the process is to get a camera that takes a 669 film pack. There are drawbacks to doing it this way; however you will spend less money and still end up with a fun camera if you decide you don't really enjoy the technique, and you won't be stuck with a slide printer you may not want.

    The other needed materials are less of an investment - the hot pressed watercolor paper, a brayer, a jug of distilled water and a couple of trays.

    You should follow the advice given above and read up on the process in detail, so you can lay out your workspace in advance. Then, simply shoot an image and pull the print. 10-12 seconds into development is when you will peel apart the film, setting aside the print and using the negative to "transfer" the image onto dampened watercolor paper.

    I would agree with Gordon's comment that "imperfect" pulls are part of the charm of this technique, and not be concerned with some of the dye lifting off. However, when you are learning the process it can be frustrating not to see most or all of the image, so when you're ready to peel the negative off the receptor paper, a simple trick is to slip the entire negative in a tray of tepid or warm distilled water and, keeping the entire negative immersed, peel the negative off slowly. I believe Kathleen Carr's book describes this in detail.

    Once you've seen several "near perfect" transfers you feel empowered to start playing with deliberate liftoff a little more.

    If you find yourself becoming addicted to the tecnique, then it might be time to invest in the Daylab - a wonderful slide printer, perfect for the job, which allows you to shoot slide film!

    Hope this helps. :smile:
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  9. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    THANKS ALOT EVERYONE! now I really wanna get started :O) Ebay - here I comeee! Ill let you guys now when things start getting serious.

    regards, kim.
     
  10. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    one more thing - It seems like buying an old polaroid off ebay that takes 669 is the cheapest (and the coolest and the funniest ;O)) way to get started. BUT I looked at the system in which Polaroid numbers their film and their cameras... oh my god... confussed. What am I looking for? something like the 350 ? 250 ? I want want that has a flash as well.

    regards, kim
     
  11. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Hello Kim Catton,

    The Polaroid Automatic line of cameras is largely different in construction, or in rangefinder, roughly:

    100 Automatic - glass lens, exposure compensation, TTL Flash (bulb) and exposure, flash sync

    250 Automatic - improves rangefinder to have viewing and focus window in same window; two versions of rangefinder for these, with a slightly higher magnification in early versions, parallax correction in rangefinder (crude)

    350 Automatic - adds electronic timer for film peeling; uses different battery than 100 or 250

    360 Automatic - changes the 3000 ASA setting; has a rechargable flash unit (avoid)

    450 Automatic - different flash than 350 or 360 that uses AAA batteries

    In general, the flash sync for the Polaroid flash has a weird extra plug, but it will connect to a regular sync cord for using modern flash. I have the old Polaroid bulb flash for my 250 Automatic. While that is TTL flash control with a bulb, in practise it is not that great. My preference is to use a more modern flash with a sync cord, either with the flash unit set to automatic, or by manually setting the flash. It is also useful with studio strobes, if you meter first with a hand held flash meter.

    The model 180, 190, or slightly rarer 185 are all manual shutter and nicer four element lenses. Unfortunately these are all high priced, despite being based upon body designs similar to the other steel body Automatic models. Also, all the other model numbers for this range are plastic body designs, and often plastic lenses.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    <http://www.allgstudio.com>
     
  12. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    Thanks alot.. one thing hit me when I was looking at the 250 model on ebay (and the other models as well) when you buy the 669 film does it then come in rolls or as sheet film ? I have never really tried the polaroid thing you see. If it is a roll then how is it done, I mean... how is the peeling apart thing done? do you have to take the whole roll and then "develope" it at one time or can you do one picture as soon as you have exposed?

    regards, kim - confusing... I know :O) sorry
     
  13. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    the film is in a pack. you place the whole pack in the base of the daylab (for example) and then use one sheet at at time. ou pull it from the base , let it develop for the time needed (depending on the process) and then peel it apart.
     
  14. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    I am not going to use a daylab but a camera (250 i think) - how is the process of film-loading and all that when using this?

    regards, kim
     
  15. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It's the same back.

    One issue that Gordon didn't mention is that some of the automatic Polaroid cameras use a hard-to-get 3v battery. I believe RadioShack.com is a source, but the local corner store is not.
     
  16. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Oops, not my thorough self when I posted that. So here we go:

    100 and 250 Automatic use #531, which is a 4.5 volt battery.

    350, 360, and 450 Automatic use #532, which is a 3 volt battery.

    Both types are hard to find, though sometimes an electronic supply place will have them. Apparently some computers and other electronic gear used these batteries, though little else did. The earlier suggestion of converting to AA or AAA batteries might be an idea, though if you are not technically inclined, or have never done soldering of connections, it might be better to avoid converting. You can sometimes find Polaroid batteries on EBAY for any of these cameras. If you get the old style battery, it will probably last a few years.

    I did a conversion to a CR123A, which is actually a 3 volt Lithium battery. It works fine in the 250 Automatic, though when I use 100 ISO film (669 or 690) I set the camera to 75 ISO. The 250 Automatic has 75, 150, 300 and 3000 ISO settings, and has a form of exposure compensation on the front of the lens. When you first get the camera, you will shoot a few test images to figure out where to set the exposure compensation, since most of the newer pack films you would want to use for transfers are ISO 100.

    The issue of the original batteries lasting so many years is usually why these cameras have corrosion in the battery compartment. Most of the time you can scrape them clean and put a new battery in it. On really bad corrosion cameras, the terminal connector wire might be broken, which means soldering a new wire into it. Mine had broken and corroded wires, which is the main reason I did a battery conversion.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    http://www.allgstudio.com