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Thread: PA-145

  1. #1

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    PA-145

    I've already posted this on my blog, but I thought it belongs here too.

    Whilst researching purchasing a PA-145 back for my Speed Graphic, I searched this forum for a guide to using it or at the least a review of it. However, sadly, there wasn't one that I could find. Never the less, I bought one and hope to try to be of use to anyone hoping to do so in the future.

    The PA-145: An Introduction

    Instant photography with a 4x5 camera is a frequent tool for those hoping to check exposure, composition etc. before finally taking the picture, in addition to use as a photographic medium in its own right. Ansel Adams claimed that it had "rewarding potentials in many fields of practical and creative photography", and used instant film for a good few of his iconic pictures, and even wrote an illuminating guide to its uses. In this guide, he was able to give information about multiple films produced by Polaroid in the 4x5 (image of 3.5 x 4.5inches) format- from Type 51 (high contrast, blue sensitive black-and-white print film) to Type 58 (a colour film). Now, after first Polaroid then Fuji stopped producing 4x5 film (Fuji discontinued its FP-3000B45 films relatively recently, with the colour film being sold only in Japan) one can only use the smaller PA-145 holder and the FP-3000B/100C films (3.25 x 4.25" image size). Thankfully, both are still available.

    The Back:

    The back, briefly, fits a graflock back, and is essentially a plastic case with rollers and a dark slide. The film fits into the case and the film is pulled out of the rollers. Its all rather self explanatory.

    The film:
    FP-100C:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/products/ins..._datasheet.pdf

    The film, with a speed at 100ASA, costs about £17 and is sold in packs of 10. In addition to fitting in the PA-145 back it fits into various Land cameras (IIRC the 100,200,300 and 400 series cameras). It's temperature is 5500K, or daylight. It can be developed (post exposure) at a temperature of between 10-35oC- with times ranging from 60-270 seconds. Care should be taken, as always, to prevent exposure to radiation or extreme temperatures (to prevent the developing fluid from freezing). There is a recoverable negative, but its a pain to recover.

    FP-3000B:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/products/ins..._datasheet.pdf

    As opposed to FP-100C, this has an ASA of 3000 (not 3200!) and costs about £18. Its a medium contrast black and white film. Again, it fits in the PA-145 and some Land cameras. Its development times are far shorter, in the order of about 30 seconds. Again care should be taken, as always, to prevent exposure to radiation or extreme temperatures (to prevent the developing fluid from freezing). The negative can (when dry) be scanned, inverted and have to contrast boosted to give an image (generally not as good as the print tho').

    Use:

    (This is my workflow, using a tripod (as I assume most would) if you're handholding, skip straight to step 3)

    1. Prepare the camera for exposure as usual. Focus, compose (bearing in mind that the image exposed will be slightly offset to one side) and close the shutter.

    2. Remove the ground glass, and attach the back.

    3. Remove the dark slide, or move it out of the way.

    4. Make the exposure.

    5. Replace the dark slide. I usually find it helpful to take the back off the camera at this point.

    6. Pull the first (white) tab out of the back.

    7. Pull the second tab out, attempting to do so with even timing and pressure. Bear in mind that the pressure will suddenly increase when you get the neg/print to the rollers. For an even image, pull at an even, mid paced speed- perhaps timing by saying "polaroid".

    8. Start timing the development from now. On part of the NEG/PRINT sandwich, closest to the tab, should be a table giving timings for this.

    9. Peel off the print after a the time has elapsed.

    10. Let the print dry in a dust-free environment, as the surface can be slightly tacky and difficult (if not nearly impossible to clean).

    (11?) Before/ after using a roll, its a good idea to remove and clean the rollers (instructions for this are printed on the inside of the pack).

    Results:

    Both films are tack-sharp, the 100C has relatively accurate colour rendition (i.e. they look realistic, but I haven't bothered checking). The 3000B is very fine-grained, depute being fast. I prefer to rate the 3000B at about a half stop under, and give it a few extra seconds development, however YMMV. I may post some of my pictures on here at some point, but thats another blog post.

    Happy shooting!
    [/B][/B][/B][/B]
    Last edited by OEyers; 05-14-2013 at 03:24 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Realised I made multiple mistakes (formatting etc) with regards to how this would look, when making the transition from blog,
    *35mm*: Canon A-1, 28mm - 100-300mm lenses; Zenit ES; Fed 4 (now a pinhole camera).
    *120*: Rolleicord IV; Zeiss Ikon Klio; Balda Juwella.
    *Large Format*: Speed Graphic, Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 lens.
    *Instant*: Pa-145 Instant back; Fuji Instax 210.

  2. #2

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    Thanks for the description, I have been using my 145 back on my SpeedGraphic and really like it so far. One comment... I know that the FP-100c film is self terminating (you dont have to peel the film open at a certain time) and I believe that the 3000b is as well. Technically speaking, I think you could under-develop the film if you choose (better negative), but not over expose...

    I find this to be helpful in the field, because you dont have to peel open your shots, and worry about damaging your prints!

  3. #3

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    @PtJudeRI

    Damn! I should have said half a stop higher. I was under the impression (haven't tested it yet) that it was the other way round- therefore I have always payed more attention to the temperature and timing of the colour film. Thanks for pointing my mistake out tho!
    *35mm*: Canon A-1, 28mm - 100-300mm lenses; Zenit ES; Fed 4 (now a pinhole camera).
    *120*: Rolleicord IV; Zeiss Ikon Klio; Balda Juwella.
    *Large Format*: Speed Graphic, Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 lens.
    *Instant*: Pa-145 Instant back; Fuji Instax 210.

  4. #4

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    Agreed, FP100c develops to completion, so timing it is not critical. Also, recovering the negative on FP100c is trivially easy. FP3000 negatives are basically unusable, in comparison.

  5. #5
    adelorenzo's Avatar
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    I didn't know about the develop to completion thing. So I could shoot a pile of FP100C and just leave it unpeeled until I get home?

  6. #6
    xya
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelorenzo View Post
    I didn't know about the develop to completion thing. So I could shoot a pile of FP100C and just leave it unpeeled until I get home?
    yes, you can, easily. but put them in a plastic box (tupper style) so that they don't dry too fast and get difficult to separate. and it shouldn't be a hot summer day under a blazing sun.

  7. #7

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    @EdSawyer. Perhaps so, but when I tried it it didn't go particularly well. 3000B, on the other hand, comes out quite nicely (if left alone, then scanned).
    *35mm*: Canon A-1, 28mm - 100-300mm lenses; Zenit ES; Fed 4 (now a pinhole camera).
    *120*: Rolleicord IV; Zeiss Ikon Klio; Balda Juwella.
    *Large Format*: Speed Graphic, Kodak Ektar 127mm f/4.7 lens.
    *Instant*: Pa-145 Instant back; Fuji Instax 210.

  8. #8

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    Funny, I was shooting FP100c for fun and was thinking about old habits.

    So, back in the day, if you were shooting and developing in field, how did you keep the photos apart so that they could dry?

    And, how did you deal with the icky backing? I'm around in a city so lots of garbage cans, but, not really if I"m in side streets.

    ...vick

  9. #9

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    Whats the consensus on the 3000b?? I have never tried to recover those negs, as I was under the impression that you couldn't bleach them as you do with the 100c. The 100c ones that I have recovered have usually turned out a bit flat, but I haven't "developed for the negative" either. I think that may be my next project. Overall, that 100c film is pretty awesome though...

  10. #10
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    Hi there, my name is Pete Wolters and I am new here in the world of Large Format Photography, although I registered much earlier.

    I need your help!

    I own a Graflex Crown and a Speed Graphic. Recently I purchased a Fuji PA-145 back in order to get the "hang" of it before trying my hand on developing film myself.
    Today, a lovely sunny day, I followed all the necessary and important steps (focussing on the ground glass) etc. and took my first picture with the Crown (Xenar 4.7/135) and to my astonishment the picture was out of focus.
    Repeated the steps, checked the focus on the ground glass (sharp as a knife) but the end result was the same.
    Then I took another lens (Ilex Paragon 6,3/216mm) and gave it another shot. Same result, out of focus.
    I tried both lenses on the Speed Graphic but the outcome was the same. Still out of focus.

    Can it be possible that it's not the camera but the Fuji back or the film pack?
    Could it be that the image on the ground glass differs from that on the film (length)?

    Is there some solution perhaps? Hope I'm not the only one who has this problem.

    I would very much appreciate any input from any of you.

    Thank you all in advance.

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