Who Uses Instant Film Packs?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bobwysiwyg, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    As someone who has just recently begun shooting 4x5 and very much a learner, how many use such packs? I can see the value, that is a preview, but seems a bit like instant gratification, something I've come to dislike about the digicam.

    One the other hand, while still learning, it seems more logical. However a Fuji holder looks like it retails for $200 which seems like a lot for something that might be used temporarily.

    Anyone care to chime in with thoughts or opinions?
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I use it as a teaching aid in my Large Format classes. The students are able to see me apply the Scheimpflug principle or perspective control and get results they can see on film immediately. I can also use it during their practical exams so I can see if they are learning and applying it properly.
     
  3. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    i still use the last of my type 54 and type 55 :sad:. Now the pa-45 holder from fuji with their color and b/w films. I think that the QC from fuji is better than that from Polaroid, at least in the last 2 years or so. Sometimes its nice when doing a shot where you still 2nd guess yourself and your calculations on that transparency where you don't want to risk it. I find it easier to pack a single pack of color and a pack of b/w when i backpack, and sometimes when you're 2nd guessing yourself(hey, photogs do this, at least this one does sometimes :smile:)

    I still know many a professional who is still shooting 4x5 who uses it. I have assisted for an automotive shooter who uses his PA-45 religiously. Whatever the shoot size (1 car or 10), he always has a case or 2 of the film at hand. Hey, it gets me some cool pics to post on the fridge :smile:

    He's starting to shoot more digital on jobs now, but he still prefers 4x5 transparencies.

    But in answer to your question, YES; there are still many people who like to see what they have working for them if they have any reservations about the shot.

    -dan
     
  4. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I use it, and I love it. You'd have to be crazy to pay the $200 new retail price for a new instant film back, you can get one on ebay for less than half that cost. I got mine in a used camera shop here in Japan for about $40.

    I don't use an instant back for instant gratification, but for insurance. If you are shooting 4x5, then you know how much work it takes to set up and compose a shot. A shot on instant film lets me know if my exposure settings are correct, rather than having to wait until after I develop my film.

    Fuji's basic instant films are very cheap and easy to use, and they give great results.
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thank you for the replies and input. I guess it might make sense to at least have the capability of using the packs. My wife and I travel a bit by car, some distance, and I take the 4x5. It's my first, a Cambo, seems quite versatile, but not very portable, so I see a folder in my future if I can learn and get comfortable with 4x5. It would make sense to be able to pre-verify exposure, etc. since these may be one-time opportunities that I can't easily go back and reshoot should I screw up.

    Here is my problem. I've done a number of searches and found many references to 4x5 instant film pack backs and films. It seems Fuji is about the only option film-wise and it comes in 2 different size/formats for black and white??

    I've seen references to various pack backs also, several older Polaroid backs that might be compatible with Fuji film packs and of course Fuji backs. I don't know if it's a matter of too much coffee, or not enough, but my head is swimming.

    Can someone deliniate the various combinations of backs and film packs that are suitable for my needs?
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I use instant film quite a bit and sometimes use the fuji fp100c as final output. You can transfer the image or lift the emulsion- quite fun.

    I'd say just get a fuji pa45 back and use the 4x5 fuji pack films. Try fp100b45, 3000b45, and 100c45.
     
  7. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    I don't but I would if I could get a back in the UK. I've been told they won't be available here until September :-(
     
  8. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thanks, Keith. I did a quick search and there don't seem to be too many used Fuji holders available at the moment and $200+ new is a bit more than I can afford. I will keep checking.

    I also saw references to Polaroid 550 backs being compatible with the Fuji film packs. Is this true? If it is, it at least broadens the field of search.
     
  9. namke

    namke Member

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    for exposure (not composition) checks, I use 'standard' FP100C (not '45') in a Polaroid 405 back. I'd like to have a go with the 4x5 instant film, but the 550 backs still seem to be not that cheap... I'd love to find a $40 550 !!

    (Fuji FP100C45 fits the Polaroid 550 or Fuji PA-45 back; Fuji FP100C fits the Polaroid 405 back)
     
  10. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Oh , oh, the confusion is setting in again. :smile: So a Polaroid 405 back works with pack film also (though perhaps a smaller format?)? Newbie needs pretty specific direction here. :rolleyes:
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Megaperls has new and used pa45 backs from time to time. They are also showing a "145" back now, not sure what the difference is but have a look... they have used ones too...

    http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/...age=2&osCsid=bcd3e536d7fdcb564a0623d4ac75cae6

    If all you want to do is check exposure of a central subject then you can use a smaller format (3.25x4.25) instant film in the 405. That saves some $$$ on film.
     
  12. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  13. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Just in case you're still not clear, Fuji makes two sizes of film packs. The smaller one fits in the Polaroid 405 holder. I don't believe Fuji even makes a holder for this film themselves. This film gives a 3.25 x 4.25 inch image. The larger film gives a 4x5 image and is compatible with the Fuji holder and the Polaroid 550 holder. The price difference is roughly $12 for the smaller and $30 for the larger. Each pack gives 10 images. The Polaroid 545 individual sheet holder is incompatible with either size.
     
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  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Greg, looking at the megaperls site linked above, it looks like the Fuji 145 holder is their version of the 3.25 x 4.25" holder.
     
  16. namke

    namke Member

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    Oh. Sorry about the confusion!

    Two sizes of Fuji Pack film
    1. FP100x is 4.25x3.25 inches, and can be used in the Polaroid 405 back, the Fuji PA-145 back, and the Polaroid 'Automatic' series of cameras (that's another topic, best served by looking for The Land List web site
    2. FP100x45 is 4x5 inches and can be used in the Polaroid 550 back, the Fuji PA-45 back, or some Polaroid passport cameras

    In both cases x can be B or C (B&W or Colour), and actually even the number can change (being the film speed: i.e. FP100; FP400; FP3000; are 100, 400, 3000 ASA respectively).

    The Fuji numbering system is pretty consistent actually! The only fly in the ointment is that there is sometimes a choice of finish - gloss or 'silk', but that's stated in the film name. If 'silk' isn't mentioned, then it's gloss!)
     
  17. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thanks for the clarification, it helps a great deal.
     
  18. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Keith, that is the first Fuji holder i have seen for the smaller film. B&H, Calumet, or Freestyle don't list it as far as I can find. I was left to guess that Fuji simply made film for Polaroid's holder.

    Bob, with either holder, your camera will need a Graflok type back to hold it. I have managed to fit the Polaroid 405 holder under the GG frame on a Toyo camera, but it won't fit under the frame of my Crown Graphic. It will fit both using the Graflok slides.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2009
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yup, occasionally I peruse megaperls / Japan exposures and find all sorts of goodies that we don't find in our stores yet!
     
  20. Thingy

    Thingy Member

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    I use both the Fuji PA45 and the smaller instant holder (405) with Fuji film for checking difficult exposures. The Fuji PA45 is particularly useful for checking architectural work when using the Schneider 58mm lens and the 405 is useful for checking exposure on Macro work at 1:1 or higher.
     
  21. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I found a PA-45 today for $20... The store has a couple more (attached to old passport cameras) for $40 each. Hopefully they are still there next Friday...
     
  22. lambis

    lambis Member

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    Question, i am totaly confused... will a Polaroid 405 or a Fuji PA145 back fit on a Speed Graphic Camera?
     
  23. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    It will fit if it has the Graflok type back. The ground glass frame will be attached to the camera by two silver hooks that act as springs. Press down and slide these out to remove the frame and then you can use the two metal sliding bars next to the frame to hold the polaroid back onto the camera.
     
  24. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Bob;

    From a slightly different point of view (but one that was alluded to), I use instant film for checking my set-ups and seeing what I have done with my 4 by 5 before putting in a holder with a regular film sheet. As a person who got a view camera only last summer, this film type has been very helpful for me as someone learning to use a view camera. Greg Davis has referred to using it as a testing medium with his students. Well, as a "student," I think that it really does help in seeing the result of the movements you just did with the camera.
     
  25. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I thought I'd add a little help on the film pack types, how they look, and how they fit.

    Here is a pic of 3 holders, the one on the bottom is a Grafmatic, the one in the middle is a Fuji PA-45, and the one on the top is a Fuji PA-145. The PA-45 makes a true 4x5 print, the PA-145 makes a smaller 4.24x3.25 print.

    [​IMG]

    The instant film holders are put in the camera the same way standard film holders are. They are a lot thicker than regular 2-sheet holders, but not much wider than a Grafmatic.

    Here's my Wista with a PA-45 in place.

    [​IMG]

    If the loader won't fit behind the the ground glass on your particular camera's back, you can install it like this, using the Graflok sliding locks (PA-45 holder shown).

    [​IMG]

    The PA-145 (smaller model) works well for checking exposure, but the image on film will be smaller than the image shown on the ground glass, so you'll have to compose accordingly.
     
  26. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Just a small point of clarification for new users. The image itself will not be 'smaller' as far as image size is concerned, but because the piece of film is smaller the image will be masked to the size of the film.

    If you set up the camera, attach the PA-145 and make a 3.25x4.25 image, then put the PA-45 on the camera and make a 4x5 image, the part of the image that is captured on the smaller film will be exactly the same size as that portion of the image on the larger film. But since the film is smaller, less of the image field is captured.

    I have pencil lines on my ground glass that indicates the image size and position for 405 film.

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2009