Polaroid Instant Film for Proofing & Fuji Film Choice

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Hello, There are going to be a few layers to this question.

I am going to be shooting with Fuji Quickload films, outdoors, natural light, land- and seascape in a few weeks. Leaning towards Velvia unless anyone has a strong reasons to consider another Fuji emulsion, like the NPS???

Also, since I do not have extensive experience with color films in 4x5 I wanted to be able to check a proof to increase the likelihood of success. What Polaroid color instant film would be most helpful, using a 545 holder, in getting this proof?


-- James Christian (jcc928@aol.com), June 12, 2001


Are you locked into proofing with a 545 holder? Have you gotten the holder Yet? Reason I asked is that I used a 545i holder on my Mamiya Pro-SD(The NPC MF-33 back),to proof my lighting set-ups for portraits. Proofing with these individual sheets started to run me into a lot of money. I was spending $50-$70 a box, and no matter how I tried to keep in down to just a few sheets per session, I would always end up going through a lot of sheets until everything is just right. I started thinking of the Polaroid 110A converted when I considered the move up to LF.

I just got a Polaroid 120 Pathfinder(Japanese version-110A), which I'll use to proof all my cameras in addition to my 8x10. I was astounded by the workmanship, quality, and the sharpness of this cameras lens. The lens on this camera is as sharp as can be, and it is in fact true what people say, these cameras are little pocket views. The pack film used by this camera runs a LOT less than a box of the individual sheets. A pack of fuji instant film runs about $12 and change from B&H, and $15 from Freestyle. A pack of T-665 runs $12 and change from B&H.

Yes I know, using another camera to proof your 4x5 isn't going to show you what your camera is doing, but by the same token, a polaroid taken with your 4x5 isn't going to duplicate what you do with another film. There was always some difference between the Polaroids I took with my Mamiya and the final film. What always worked for me regardless of the set-up, was using the polaroid for checking the lighting, which is why I'm going to use this system regardless of the drawbacks, to proof all of my cameras at a lower cost than I was doing.

Just thought I would lay this on you, but good luck whatever you decide


-- Jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), June 12, 2001.


I would not bother proofing with colour Polaroid. B&W Polaroid is cheaper to buy and gives you a better idea of scene exposure. I find the Polaroid colour films to be rather innacurate with colour rendition anyways. You'll never find a Polaroid Film to match your chosen colour emulsion. Stick with B&W. A little practice will tell you how the B&W will render colours. Shooting a test with a colour checker will give you a really good idea.

If you're willing to part with a little more $$$$ then buy the Instant Fuji B&W material which has a little bit more range.

Good Luck

-- Dominique Labrosse (d_labrosse@hotmail.com), June 12, 2001.

Thanks for the input. Proofing with B&W makes good sense, sometimes I over look the obvious when I am stuck on an idea.

Will the Velvia provide me with good latitude for shooting all day from sunrise to set? I will also be making prints from these as well.

Thanks for the help.

-- James Christian (jcc928@aol.com), June 13, 2001.

Polaroid isn' inaccurate, it is just different. Of course I'm the guy who thinks all photographs are abstract renditions of reality, and that none are true mirrors of "nature."

For general Polaroid proofing with a 4x5 , go with the 545i and Polaroid Type Polacolor Pro 100. My experience over the years is that Pro 100 needs to be rated about 1/3rd to 1/2 stop faster then what you rate your film.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (evphoto@heartstone.com), June 13, 2001.

Also there is a much more economic way to use Polaroid on a medium format camera than with the 4x5 back Jonathan is using on his Mamiya. He has just chosen not to use it or do some research.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (evphoto@heartstone.com), June 13, 2001.

When I was choosing between a Polaroid pack film back and the NPC 4X5 back for my Mamiya, Polaroid had just made sepia film available and the 545i also gave me the option of Kodak readyload film.

I had x amound of dollars at the time and had to choose one or the other but not both, so I picked what I thought was the most versatile option at the time. Hey, the best laid plans


-- jonathan Brewer (lifestories@earthlink.net), June 13, 2001.

James, I proof off the b&w polaroid films for color as well. If you use it enough, you can develop a good eye for how the highlights should look, and the shadows as well. Type 55 has a bit of short latitude to it, so I find it's a good match for CTs. If I get a shot (I work in a studio, or at times on location) that looks good on the positive, even if that means judging the shadows by holding the print up to a lightsource, then it's going to look good on the chrome. And it'll look even flatter on B&W film. Then there's always the negative to check focus as well. We use Provia 100, NPS,64T and TMX here mostly, and have managed to get our process (deep tank b/w & E6) geared around this method very well. Even using a local Q lab, we can get very close to normal with this method. But, all I can say is that you probably need a bit of practice to learn to see what looks best. If you haven't shot alot of Velvia, or will be shooting under varying conditions, you might find it easier to work with NPS, because of the added latitude.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), June 13, 2001.

I agree with DK, if you have not shot Velvia a lot, don't gamble if the shoot is very important...or if you can afford it, bracket both sides, unless you have a lot of experience with exposure. I am a Velvia lover, however, the film has its strong points, greens, blues, and the red rocks of the southwest...but if you are shooting lighter more muted colors like beach sand (or any whites or yellows) don't even attempt to use Velvia! Provia 100 F is by far the best "all around" chrome film made. If I shoot reds, yellows and oranges, then I really prefer Kodak 100VS. But if you want to bring one film only, Provia F is tough to beat...

-- Bill Glickman (bglick@pclv.com), June 14, 2001.

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