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  1. #1

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    Feb 2011
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    newbie needs help understanding holders, pack film and sheet film

    Hi All,
    I've been getting back into film and figured why not just take the plunge into large format I've always been a DIY kind of person and thought it'd be fun to convert a Polaroid 110/900 into a 4x5 sheet and instant film camera. Of course there are tons of tutorials out there, but I wanted to get a better understanding of film holders, "pack" film and "sheet" film before I start hacking away. I'd like to mod the camera so that I can a) use regular 4x5 film, b) make 4x5 instant prints.

    My current impression of a typical 4x5 system is that there is a standard "mount" on a camera onto which a film back is attached. So you load the film back with your film, mount it and shoot away. A couple of questions:

    1. Is there a single mount for both of these applications? I have seen videos of people using "Graflok" mount, is this standardized, and is it the same as an "international" mount? Can these be purchased separate from a large format camera?

    2. Is instant film also loaded into a back? And are instant backs compatible with regular negative/slide backs?

    I know that to a large-format camera person these questions might sound silly, but I'd really appreciate a breakdown of how things fit together. Of course, please pardon any confusion of the terminology, and feel free to correct me. Thanks in advance!!

    Ram
    Last edited by ramgopalmettu; 02-27-2011 at 12:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    juan's Avatar
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    Forget pack film. It hasn't been made in about 30-years.
    juan

  3. #3

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    Hello Ram,
    The rear of a large format camera has a ground glass. (It is this distinctive part which make us fun looking at under the dark cloth...)
    The principle is that the matte surface of the ground glass occupies the exact place the film will be. So if your image is in focus on the GG it will be in focus onto the film.
    Now, to hold this film you've several solution :
    First use the international film holder (made by Fidelity and the likes) which holds one sheet of film fer face;
    Or use the Grafmatic and associates which is a box holding 6 sheet of films each in a separate thin metal holder
    Or use film individually packed in paper be it Polaroid or Kodak Readyload or Fuji QuickLoad. For this film you need a holder to have the correct placement of film as the paper is thinner than the plastic/metal of the two first solutions. *
    You see that the packaging of the film is irrelevant, only it's position matters. (and to a lesser extend the thickness of the film holder because it has to fit in the back in place of the GG so if it is too thick, the ground glass won't retract enough to make room for it. )

    The Graflock system is used to position a roll film holder on the camera's back to take "small pictures" on a large format camera.
    A search will give you the ANSI specs for the film holders and the film sheet placement inside it. Only two surface are important (and their relative placement) :
    The first one is the one that sits on the camera back, where the GG was before insertion of the film holder, the second one is the surface of the sheet of film ready for exposure. This surface is inside the film holder you plan to make/use.
    Hope this clarify the matter ;-)

    * There is instant film in pack. But not in 4x5 format (IIRC). the principle is the same, you put the pack in an holder which will place the first film to be exposed at the very same surface the GG was. Then there is a way to select another sheet of instant film when the one you exposed had been put off to develop and see.

  4. #4

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    Great information, thanks! Now, my final question: is it possible to buy Graflok "parts" independent of a camera? Basically, I want the frame that the holder sits so that I can have somewhere to put the film I've seen the Graflok backs on ebay, but it'd be nice if I could just buy that piece new since it needs to be in good enough condition to ensure no light leaks.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgesGiralt View Post
    Hello Ram,
    The rear of a large format camera has a ground glass. (It is this distinctive part which make us fun looking at under the dark cloth...)
    The principle is that the matte surface of the ground glass occupies the exact place the film will be. So if your image is in focus on the GG it will be in focus onto the film.
    Now, to hold this film you've several solution :
    First use the international film holder (made by Fidelity and the likes) which holds one sheet of film fer face;
    Or use the Grafmatic and associates which is a box holding 6 sheet of films each in a separate thin metal holder
    Or use film individually packed in paper be it Polaroid or Kodak Readyload or Fuji QuickLoad. For this film you need a holder to have the correct placement of film as the paper is thinner than the plastic/metal of the two first solutions. *
    You see that the packaging of the film is irrelevant, only it's position matters. (and to a lesser extend the thickness of the film holder because it has to fit in the back in place of the GG so if it is too thick, the ground glass won't retract enough to make room for it. )

    The Graflock system is used to position a roll film holder on the camera's back to take "small pictures" on a large format camera.
    A search will give you the ANSI specs for the film holders and the film sheet placement inside it. Only two surface are important (and their relative placement) :
    The first one is the one that sits on the camera back, where the GG was before insertion of the film holder, the second one is the surface of the sheet of film ready for exposure. This surface is inside the film holder you plan to make/use.
    Hope this clarify the matter ;-)

    * There is instant film in pack. But not in 4x5 format (IIRC). the principle is the same, you put the pack in an holder which will place the first film to be exposed at the very same surface the GG was. Then there is a way to select another sheet of instant film when the one you exposed had been put off to develop and see.

  5. #5
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning, Ram;

    At this time, Freestyle, B&H, Glazer's, Adorama, and others seem to be carrying the Fuji Instant Film Packs in 4 by 5 size; the FP-100C-45 and FP-3000B-45, color and black and white, respectively. The Fuji PA-45 Film Pack Holder is useful in this application.

    It is true that Polaroid Corporation did stop making 4 by 5 instant film packs a few years back (around 6 or 8 years ago?), but it is possible that the IP (Impossible Project) people might resurrect that one also. Until that eventuality, we do have Fujiroid, as mentioned above.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."



 

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