Polaroid P/N 55 in Cold Temperatures

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I've recently had some problems shooting P/N 55 outdoors in 28 - 35 degree F temperatures. I shoot P/N for the positive, and rate it at EI 80. I usually take an incident meter reading, and use that as my starting point. The P/N 55 prints are coming out either real muddy (particularly if a polarizer is used) or sometimes they are dramatically overexposed suggesting I should rate the P/N 55 at something closer to EI 200. The negs look OK. I use the negs for focus check, and then trash them. For the processing, I either put the exposed sheet inside my jacket, or inside my auto if it's nearby. It's gotten to the point where I just can't trust the P/N 55 material for exposure tuning. My chromes are exposing properly based on reading from my meter, so I know my meter is OK. As a control, I've taken sheets from the same batch and shot them indoors, and the prints look great. I know your suppose to compensate development time based on temperature, but this is going way beyond that. Anyone have a theory about what is going on?

-- Larry Huppert (Larry.Huppert@mail.com), January 08, 2000


I don't have the URL, but if you poke around www.polaroid.com, you should be able to find the technical data sheet on T55. What it says is process above 60 F for best results and they give a table down to 50 F at which they recomend 60 seconds process time and no exposure compensation.

I know Polaroid says don't freeze this film. The goo might get awfully viscous at low temperatures...

-- mike rosenlof (mike_rosenlof@yahoo.com), January 12, 2000.

I have had poor results with Polaroid in cold weather -- 30 degrees and below. Many of them came out nearly all white, which says "overexposed" but they weren't really. The chemicals were so thick they didnt spread properly, and so cold the reaction never did get going. didnt matter if I held them inside my jacket or not. I think I tried once at a winter fair and actually had little ice crystals in the emulsion. I can get a quick photo outside if I have had the film indoors and get it back inside right away, but no go if it has cooled down to the ambient temperature.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), January 13, 2000.

I've also had a lot of difficulty with 'overexposed' polaroids in cold/cool temperatures. I've used polapan pro 100 in my RZ 6x7 extensively for proofing in 40-50 degF temperatures and get the problem you have described. I think it's more than the viscosity of developing chemicals, and certainly isn't a freezing problem. I try to get my polaroid film as warm as I can (even up to 75 or 80) shortly before using.

Now if I could just figure out why the color polaroids are so green...

-- Tad Pfeffer (pfeffer@tintin.colorado.edu), March 21, 2000.

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