use of type 55 polaroid film for scaning : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I want to thank all of you who responded to my earlier question regarding scaning B&W films.

I would also appreciate comments regarding the use of type 55 polaroid film (positive/negative) especially the negative for scaning. Does it give comparable results to regular B&W negatives?. I have a Linoscan 1400 flatbed scanner with the Linocolor software. Furthermore, any ideas on the ISO rating of the negative and finally what is the best way to clear the negative. Sorry my questions are long winded. I am just starting out in LF. Once again thank you all for your anticipated recommendations and answers.

Mo Kenny

-- mo (, May 14, 2001


Response to kenny


The negative should scan as well if not better than a regular B&W neg as the texture range is about zone I/II to zone VIII and it has exceptional fine grain and resolution. If you are exposing to use the negative try between IE 20 and 32 and for the print try between IE 64 and 100.

The best way to clear the type 55 neg is to mix 220 grams of sodium sulfite (anhydrous or desiccated) in 1000cc of warm water at around 30 degrees C (80-90 degrees F). Add the sulfite slowly to the water and stir until it's fully dissolved. Use at 21 degrees C (70 degrees F). It's a good idea to use a hardener straight away after the clearing solution and then wash or if you're out in the field keep in a water bath until washing can be done.

Good luck with your experiments Regards Peter Brown

-- Peter Brown (, May 14, 2001.

Response to kenny

You can also clear Type 55 in permawash and avoid the mixture problems. As for ISO, you might look at an article in a recent View Camera by George De Wolfe that treats the ISO testing and development, selenium toning options open to the Type 55 user. De Wolfe also writes a lot on digital printing, using the Type 55, a scanner, and the Cone quadtone ink system. He has written that in the past few years he orks in Type 55 almost exclusively. Bob

-- Bob Moulton (, May 15, 2001.

Response to kenny


I shoot Type 55 Polaroid film almost exclusively. I clear it in either Sodium Sulfate or Permawash in a Polaroid clearing tank. Once clear I wash it for 15-30 minutes, rinse it in Photoflo and then let it dry.

I scan Type 55 negatives on my scanner at 4000 dpi, 36 bit RGB and the results are outstanding. I then use Channel Mixer in Photoshop to convert to grayscale.

When in the field, I remove the packets unprocessed and wait to arrive home before processing, unless carrying a couple of clearing tanks is not a problem.

This film is a lovely B&W film and very convenient to use.


-- Mike Kravit (, May 15, 2001.

I commericial photographer I've used many a time (I'm an art director and a shooter) proferred that all you need for type 55 was simply water. He said he'd fussed with chemicals in the past and found no difference than simply using water to wash the neg. I follow that advice - and it's been great for me.

-- Larry Burke-Weiner (, July 22, 2001.

Response to use of type 55 polaroid film for scaning

Most people like to (and Polaroid recommends) exposing Type 55 at an ISO of 25 or 32 if your goal is producing a high quality negative. Mike Kravit's scanning info sounds right to me as well. And while I sometimes usethe sodium sulfite solution to clear a Type 55 negative, I usually just use running water in a Gravity Works film washer.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, July 23, 2001.

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