Solving Polaroid PN 55 Secret
Ron , As you remember , I had been started a thread on polaroid emulsion making here.
Finally , you said , kodak had been secretly developed the emulsion recipes.
50 years ago , there was not todays spectrometers and I believe PN 55 developer and thin film formulas can be reverse engineered.
I worked 22 years on zildjian and published the secret at www.cymbalholic.com under zildjian secret thread.
Some people visited me from France and started to cymbal business at there with my recipe.
I think I can again make it for PN 55.
Ron , you know the technology , how can this film and developer be analysed ?
I read some whiskey manufacturers at Scotland started to spectrum analysis their alcohol to match all future production to a single formula.
I did not use PN 55 but I saw some nude pictures taken by rodenstock land at polaroid com gallery and they were the best bw pictures i have ever seen.
How Kodak test their films chemical contents ?
Is there a special method ? Can Kodak be hired to analyse the films as Land hired the Kodak ?
Or are there same instruments at USA elsewhere cheaper ? University labs ?
Nowadays dollar is so low and its time to import knowledge from USA .
I think England and Europe costs 3 times more !
Can Russian technology be hired ? Is there anyone knows Russia ? David may be ?
Ron , you know the patents of Land , Can you collect recipes here belong to PN 55 ? If I know some portion of the mix , it would be easier to extract unknown.
I read Davids monobath experiments. Is Polaroid monobath formula inside of little pockets which opened and spreaded with rolls.
I think I will start from there , is there a polaroid monobath patent just for PN 55 ?
Is there still factory fresh PN 55 at the market ?
Mustafa Umut Sarac
I can't speak for Ron, nor do I have any of his wizardy in my brain, but perhaps I can offer a couple things to the discussion. I've used several boxes of Type 55 so I have some familiarity with it.
You're right. It is/was an absolutely excellent film. I've said many times that I could have been happy just using Type 55 for everything.
One problem I see with reverse engineering it is with the film base material. The stuff that was used was pretty unique. It was a lot thinner yet stronger than conventional film bases. To my meager knowledge, Type 55/665 and Kodak Panatomic X were the only commercial films that used this base material. All of those films are out of commercial production so I would suspect that the base material is nearly impossible to find. Could it be reverse-engineered? I'm sure it could, but producing it would take a full-scale plastic/chemical sheet production facility.
The second problem I see is one that Ron has wrote about before. The most difficult thing to manufacture on the instant films was the chemical pod. Not that the chemistry was hard, it was the pod itself that was very difficult to do.
My suggestion is to experiment with monobath developers. David Goldfarb has been writing about them lately. No chemical pods required.
You may be able to still find some retailers with a small stock of Type 55. Be prepared to spend at least $100 per box for it. I checked Polaroid's web store and they are no longer listing it.
Type 55 and 665 were stunning films. Its a shame they are gone but that's the unfortunate reality.
There are hundreds of companies at china and india which seeks customer like crazy. They can manufacture the base and the pods. At Intota site , there are many experts who are ready for help.
But it coasts 500 dollars per hour but they have 40 years of experience.
I think pod is the easiest thing to do but I want the image quality , we dont need to imitate the pod. May be customer distribute the monobath at home . It would be decrease the manufacturing cost also. We are not running after instant photography but the quality.
Market is 4 x 5 . I think after the chemical analyses , Ron can change the formula with cheaper newer chemicals without altering the result.
I am after writing a manual of inside chemicals.
I need patent numbers exactly for PN 55. And a analyser company , may be Kodak Labs.
Ron , can you reach inside of labs today with your connections ?
I found 46-52 patents from land
Somewhere I read the paste had triethanolamine in it.
But that's about as helpful as saying D-76 has water in in after it's mixed.
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so that's what i've been doing wrong
Originally Posted by Murray@uptowngallery
If I remember correctly, originally the film used was Panatomic X.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
Mustafa, I don't think there is any problem figuring out what's in the pods... certainly, we can break open a pod and do spectroscopy and tell you exactly what's in there and in what proportion. We probably already can guess the most important ingredients based on others' monobath work.
Even deciding which film best approximates what was used may not be such a challenge- there are so many rumours about it being panatomic x that we could just say, fine, close enough, let's call it that. No need for me to throw it on a TEM or whatever and prove it so.
But then what?
The issue is the reliable production of the packed and podded film with QC at the level of Polaroid... or better yet, the level of Kodak or Fuji. Based on what reading I've done, I would conclude that getting the polaroids to shelf at reasonable cost, in mass quantities, and with acceptable shelf life and QC is by far the hardest part. The formulas have been known for a very long time by two, maybe three companies.
What disappoints me is that polaroid has yet to step up and say, fine, we hereby discontinue the film as a packed product, but we will release the emulsion formula and the goo recipe... I mean, formulary could probably make up a goo and sell it in nothing flat, for use with a variety of films and processable by relatively simple rolling mechanisms. It disappoints me that polaroid didn't see that the true value of the product is definitely not in the positive image- it is in the quickly developable neg. For this they will face the wrath of St. Ansel himself on Judgement Day. And Ansel's gonna be pissed. I think he's going to place them on zone 20 or so.
Last edited by keithwms; 05-11-2008 at 01:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If the goal is to make a film that acts like 55, NOT necessarily to make an INSTANT film that acts like 55 (and the prints themselves are not what makes it so great), one needs to keep perspective.
Do people who use and love 55 think that there is really nothing that can provide comparable results? Have the other film companies really never matched or exceeded 55's capability?
"What is the best...?" questions pop up here daily. There is no such best ANYTHING in subjective interpretation.
I don't think a patent or even a list of ingredients makes something manufacturable (we would be lacking the specific processes), and what incentive do people who work 9-5 have, to research this to assist film lovers on the Internet? I don't see how the time and resources can be procured for the research on a charity basis. As Mustafa noted, people ARE available for hire, but who is going to cough up the money?
Then, how close is "close enough" in reverse chemical engineering? There are generic pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products that mimic 'name brands'. Some are functionally equivalent (speaks highly for the reverse engineering), but many have slightly different minor differences like odor, texture etc. (I'm speaking more about non-medicinal product copying).
If the goal is to make the film only, for home development, I really have to wonder whether people shooting film in formats other than 4x5 and 8x10 suffer the indignity of feeling the film they use will never be as good as Polaroid 55.
This sounds like more effort than even getting Polaroid to start making it again. At least that has a yes or no result that isn't subjective.
so the experts who made and marketed these products could not find a viable consumer base, why should any other manufacturer even bother?
maybe it's time you all got over your attachments to various materials, good photography is not about what you use, it's about how you see