Experience with Calumet's manual 8x10 Polaroid processor

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This forum has provided me with excellent information and I finally have a question that I hope I can get help with. I am interested in doing 8x10 Polaroids and wanted to know of any experiences people have had with Calumet's manual processor: ease of use, portability, consistent operation, anything to help with making a decision. I am interested in using the manual processor mostly for fieldwork. Any information, pro or con, would be greatly appreciated.

-- Henry Macler (macler_henry@lilly.com), April 03, 2001


The biggest problem with the Calumet processor is the plastic crank. I've rented the processor three or four times and the crank has broken off twice during transit. Calumet should have designed it with a removable crank. If your using it in the field, make sure to bring pliers to use in place of the crank if it breaks. If the Polaroids are your end product, practice a couple of times to find the proper crank rotation speed that avoids banding across the image. Although the Calumet version is easier to use in the field, the Polaroid brand processor, even used with hand crank, gives more consistent results.

-- Steve Wiley (wiley@mail.accesshub.net), April 04, 2001.

I have not experienced the crank problem and have used the Polaroid/Calumet 8x10 in the field extensively for four years now, but I can certainly see how it can break off. Next time I go out it will probably break just to spite. It is flimsier than one would think it should be. I recently broke off the lever on my 545 back by sliding (legally) under a fence with the equipment. Cleanliness of rollers with the Calumet is a MUST. In the field this is a pain. I wash it down with a cloth and water or cleaner after every run. It seems to squeeze a lot more chemistry haphazzardly than a 545, even proportionally. If the Polaroids are tests then field cleaning and processing is fine, but you will get the occasional dust dot, streak, or disappearing corner. You do have to be very steady with the crank to avoid streaking. All in all, though, I find it to be a fantastic product and well thought out, even though not the sturdiest as mentioned by the previous guy. But if Polaroids are your end product or something you want to keep and show then I would process back at home or the motel, or even get the electric Polaroid model and do it all out of the field and consistently.

-- Rob Tucher (rtphotodoc@hotmail.com), April 04, 2001.

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