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  1. #1
    athanasius80's Avatar
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    Polaroid type 55 for travelling?

    I just got my first 4x5 camera, and would like to take on future travels abroad. Would shooting Polaroid 55 negatives and processing them that evening be a practical solution? I figure its easier to whip up sodium sulfite baths than do conventional developing or carry a large changing bag and recycle film holders. Thanks for your opinions.

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    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    I think the easiest is QuickLoads. Second would be to recycle film holders, and save the developing for when I get back home. But for sure, some HCA in a tupperware works fine. It's then the drying and storing of what are very soft negatives for the remainder of the trip that becomes a risk and PITA.
    I'd just rather keep all the developing for when I'm nice and comfy in my own kitchen/darkroom. Unless of course, you need to see the results before you leave the location...
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It's an interesting idea. It's more cost per sheet, and the film is bulkier than sheet film, and the process is less flexible than conventional processing, though Adams describes how you could control contrast with exposure and development time in his Polaroid book. You also have the issue of storing the film flat in transit and avoiding extreme temperatures, and the boxes are quite bulky. The volume of one box of 20 sheets of Type 55 is about two hundred sheets of 4x5" film, though the film requires filmholders and a place or changing tent to reload them.

    You could bring some film clips and dry the film on hotel clotheslines, and bring sleeves for the negatives.
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    I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but when I try to remove Type 55 from my older 545 holder without immediately processing the film I only get the film part to come out about 10% of the time, a problem that has pretty much eliminated Type 55 as an option for me. If you don't have a problem like this, I don't see why it shouldn't be an option for you, but be sure you don't have this problem before you buy lots of film...
    Benno Jones
    Seattle, WA

  5. #5
    jperkinson's Avatar
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    I've travel with 55 all the time, and I've had the same issues as Benno above when I've tried to save processing for later.

    Now I either carry small sandwich bags or small plastic containers and fill them with water. Then I clear the negs in sodium sulfite back at the hotel or where ever I'm staying. Photoflo and then hang to dry...

    The only thing you have to watch for is scratching the emulsion...that's one reason I've gone to using the individual small plastic containers instead of sandwich bags.

    Also, a big issue for me at times is film speed. Those 55 negs are sloooow. I do a lot of natural light portraits, so I also carry HP5 sheets with me if I can't use lights...

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    My main gripe is the film speed, and I personally wouldn't want to use the back. I shoot film holders, and although they are bulky, they are cheaper for film cost and I can use any 4x5 film. My package is a stripped Pacemaker and some film holders in a regular backpack for city stuff. I can carry 10 holders easily with half of them color, and in a variety of speeds. If traveling tho you'll need a portable dark tent for the holders, but that can be left in the room. If you've the pockets, the Fuji and Kodak quickloads would be the way to go. I guess it comes down to how much your willing to carry if hoofing it. What are you shooting and how far afoot will you be operating?

    Btw, I did a cost comparsion a year or so ago and after comparing film cost plus processing by my local lab, I found that the Type 55 was cheaper to shoot by a small margin, but in the end if I was doing my own processing it was cheaper still.

  7. #7
    athanasius80's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=waynecrider] I guess it comes down to how much your willing to carry if hoofing it. What are you shooting and how far afoot will you be operating? QUOTE]

    I'll be shooting a Burke & James 4x5 press camera. I'll probably be going to western Europe for two weeks to a month and thought Polaroid would be less of a pain than carrying 3 dozen film holders.

    Keep suggesting ideas guys, I like them all!

    Chris

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    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Three dozen film holders is quite a lot. When I'm traveling with 4x5" I usually carry four or maybe six Grafmatics and a few empty film boxes and can almost always find a place like a closet or hotel bathroom to reload. If I'm traveling with 8x10" I might bring six filmholders. If you're concerned about having a dark place to reload, you can get a changing tent, but I haven't needed one.

    In any case, given the way it sounds like you plan to use Polaroid, you would probably be better off with Readyloads or Quickloads, unless you prefer the look of Type 55 to the films available in packets.

    Grafmatics save a good deal of space and let you use any film you want. A Grafmatic is about as thick as 1-1/2 conventional holders and holds 6 sheets. They don't save much in the weight department, though. You can usually find them for around $60-90 a piece, which isn't too bad if you're comparing them to the price of Polaroid or Readyloads.
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  9. #9
    Ole
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    With a big changing bag I find I only carry about five holders (in each size - 9x12, 4x5", 13x18, 5x7", but not necessarily all at the same time!) and lots of extra film and an empty box or two. 18x24cm goes back to the darkroom to change, I haven't dared try that in a changing bag. Besides, I only have 2 1/2 holders in that size, and they weigh a ton (mahogany plate holders).
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by athanasius80

    I'll be shooting a Burke & James 4x5 press camera. I'll probably be going to western Europe for two weeks to a month and thought Polaroid would be less of a pain than carrying 3 dozen film holders.

    Keep suggesting ideas guys, I like them all!

    Chris
    I agree that 3dz is way too many. With that tailboard camera you should be able to get by with alot less. Just in my excursions around S. Florida I normally shoot 2 to 4 maybe 5 peices of film per half+ day. Also consider the fact that many of us take a smaller format with us when traveling and that will cut the amount down alot. I certainly wouldn't travel without at least a 35mm along wth a normal lens and fast color print film. There's going to be alot of places you might want to visit that are not going to allow you in with a tripod. Secondly, your probably not going to be hoofing it alot. Out of the back of a car you could carry as many holders as you want. Consider 6 holders as a nice quanity; 12 shots are alot.

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