Polaroid proofs for 35mm...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Ara Ghajanian, May 16, 2005.

  1. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    In the past, when I shot with medium format (I'm on a 35mm kick now) and strobe lighting, I would always check my lighting with a Polaroid proof. With the last medium format shoot I did, the Polaroid proved to be an indespensable tool for determining lighting/composition. Obviously, Polaroid backs are not available for 35mm cameras (well, for some, but I'm not buying one). I remember a television piece once that featured Helmut Newton and he was using this big Polaroid camera and then he switched to his Nikon for the real photo. I'm sure there would be issues as far as composition, unless you used a lens that was the same field of view as the lens on the Polaroid camera, but at least you could get a preview of the lighting.

    Is there a Polaroid camera which can be used for proofing for 35mm?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Digital has made Polaroid backs for 35mm really cheap. I picked up an NPC back for Canon for around $120 not long ago. These used to be really expensive.
     
  3. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    David,
    I had those in mind, but I'd have to buy another camera just to use it because I wouldn't want to keep taking the back door of my camera off every time I wanted a Polaroid. The other thing I hate about those is the fact that the actual image area would be the same size as a 35mm neg. Too small for me. Thanks anyways for the response.
    Ara
     
  4. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    I sold my last NPC Proback for a Nikon FM series for something under $200 five years ago but they were all around $600 or more new. If you are commited to 35mm commerical - location work with lighting then they are one of the most valuable things you can have. The images are very sharp, and if you bring a slide loupe with you, you can peer into the Polaroid and get as much information about the composition and lighting as the larger format Polaroids you are used to.

    NPC also made these backs for Canon, Leica R, Minolta, and for medium format cameras like the Pentax 67 or Mamiya 6, which didn't have interchanable backs like a Hasselblad. Contax made another version called the Contax Preview.

    Nowadays most commercial shooters use digital, or at least use digital as a proofing material. I still shoot large format 4x5 Polaroids for proofing jobs(usually architecture), but usually I wait on shooting 4x5 Polaroids until I have things pretty tight. I use my D70 as a "rough" proofer, just looking at it's tiny display screen is enough to give me the idea early on.

    That way, I am only using a couple of Polaroids. Back in the old days, it was nothing to use up a dozen plus Polaroids getting ready for a complicated shot.

    Newton was probably using a Polaroid 110 camera, which were often converted to use the modern pack films for medium format. Polaroid and Konica also make (made...) contemporary cameras that used the larger medium format film. The advantage is a bigger print, and they are useful if you use an odd-ball camera that won't take a Polaroid back. You loose the advantage of seeing the scene through the same lens from which the final photo will be made, but at least you can tell how the lighting is. People also used these on movie sets, before video was available to check the lighting. They are nice cameras to have, although they won't do as many things as the dedicated 35mm NPC backs.
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    If you haven't sold your Hassy, I'd use it for Pola-proofing. You'd need to experiment a bit to verifythe exposure relationship between it and your 35mm, but you'd end up with a Polaroid you can actually see. :wink: