T-Max Readyload - Great Experience

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I njust got back from a trip to the southwest USA. I shot 4 boxes (80 sheets) of the new single sheet Kodak T-Max 100 Readyloads. I used my Kodak holder as well as my Polaroid holder. (Approx 20 were exposed in the Polaroid Holder). I have not compared film flatness or sharpness as of yet.

The results are outstanding. Of the 80 sheets there was only 1 mishap due to operator error. I must have not pulled the cover all the way out as only 3/4 of the negative was exposed.

70 other images were perfect! No light leaks. That is a 0% error. A far cry from the old system.

Finally a reliable system!

-- Mike Kravit (mkravit@kravit.net), June 26, 2001


I think many, including myself, would love to hear your follow up comments when you have had a chance to compare the negatives from each holder for sharpness / film flatness. I admire your confidence in the new product. 80 sheets is a lot of work. I probably would have shot a minimum of the film to see if they had ironed out the bugs. Now if we could get a few more users to duplicate your same results, (which I suspect we will shortly), we will have a very positive trend line!

Thanks for the information

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), June 27, 2001.

This is the kind of stuff I have been looking for. Please do comment on the Polaroid film holder for sharpness. If the Polaroid film holder works and provides percise alignment between the film and the ground glass then I only have to take one holder in the mountains with me. This would be a dream come true. I look forward to your findings.

-- Stephen Willard (willard@peakpeak.com), June 27, 2001.

Great. Now coat this same product with the Verichrome Pan emulsion and we would be cooking!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- David Stein (DFStein@aol.com), June 27, 2001.

I have visually inspected my film and can see no problem with the Polaroid holder exposed images. I have drum scanned two T-Max 100 Single Readyload negatives, one shot in the Kodak Holder and one shot in the Polaroid holder at my scanners native 4000 dpi optical resolution. Inspecting the film edges and center at 300-400% magnification in Photoshop shows little or no discernable difference in sharpness.

This is not a fair evaluation as they are of different subjects and of course suject to my focussing abilities. Perhaps this weekend I will shoot the same subject with the same camera adjustments and focus using the two holders.

Inserting and removing the new Readyloads is so smooth and effortless that it makes me wonder why I ever fought with the old style holders. In fact, after the first few sheets I was able to take my mind of worrying about perfect technique and enjoy the process of making photographs.


-- Mike Kravit (mkravit@kravit.net), June 27, 2001.

Mike: Yours is the kind of post we could use more of on the forum. Very informative. Thanks for the effort.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), June 28, 2001.


Would you consider contributing a short summary of your conclusions with the ready loads that could be intergrated into this web page. I feel that the subject is of sufficient interest to all readers that it would prevent periodic and replicate questions and answers in the future. If you could perform a sharpness test on the same subject with both the Polaroid and the Kodak holder, that would be the ultimate. Thanks for sharing your results with the group!

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), June 28, 2001.

While I also look forward to Mike's posts, shouldn't we wait until the Kodak single-sheet holder (reportedly with improved film positioning accuracy) is available before urging him to conduct further sharpness tests? Also, bear in mind that Mike is using an Ebony SV-45U that has a fresnel on the lens side of its ground glass. Focal plane curvature from that screen could render results of critical sharpness testing less meaningful.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 28, 2001.

Good points Sal. After carrying a full load of film holders on my last trip into the mountains and considering the fact that the summer is rapidly progressing, I would be happy with the results with just the Polaroid holder irrespective of the camera specifics with Mike's camera. But that may be just me.

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), June 28, 2001.


Could you explain the technical aspects of the Ebony fresnel on the lens side of the ground glass and how it might affect focussing? I am not at all familiar with the technical considerations and more of a shoot from the heart kind of guy.

If interested, I could also shoot the Polaroid and Kodak Holders as a comparison on my Arca Swiss.

Thanks Mike

-- Mike Kravit (mkravit@kravit.net), June 28, 2001.


Rather than me muddling through an explanation, please read Ron Wisner's writeup on fresnels at this url:


as well as Ron's answer to a question by John Flynn dated 8/20/99 on this page:


I don't know if Arca places fresnels on the lens or eye side of the ground glass, so can't say whether performing tests using that camera would make possible more meaningful results. Even if Arca got the correct side, one must also confirm a groundglass matt surface 0.190" backset. Otherwise, despite not having a curved visual focal surface, one would still be focusing on a plane offset from where the film will (should) be.

Finally, to reiterate an earlier point, there have been (unconfirmed) reports that, unlike double-sheet Readyload holders, the new single-sheet Readyload holder will account for packet thickness at the packet insertion end. This would finally offer the possibility of emulsion location being a uniform 0.190" as opposed to the ramping result with current holders. For a detailed description of the problem, go to:

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/photography/lf/holders.html#sharpn ess

on Tuan's large format page. I don't think it would be worthwhile for you to do any more rigorous testing until the new holder becomes available in a few months.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 29, 2001.

OK, first, the url shows a space where there should not be one, within "sharpness" near the end. Second, when you get to that page, scroll down to the "Effect of Different Holders on Sharpness" section and click on four sequential links to gifs of Joe Englander's article "Readyload, Quickload, Shoot!"

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 29, 2001.

I have yet to find any technical reason to not go out and make photographs versus waiting for something that will either work as intended or fail miserably. While I am sure that they are many individuals in pseudo-academia that are fixated with making sure that the numbers are all correct for whatever reason, personally I am looking for what is available today to see if it improves my photography. As a result, I feel that even half of the data with the Polaroid holder would be better that none of the data waiting on the Kodak improvements. In case you have not noticed, the light is marvelous out there and time it is a wastin....

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@home.com), June 29, 2001.

I never said not to go out and shoot, nor did I suggest that Mike shouldn't put a loupe to his negatives that were already exposed in the Polaroid holder. I simply pointed out that he might be wasting effort performing *additional* formal testing with the currently available Kodak holder.

Don't know what the "...individuals in pseudo-academia..." crack was about, but it doesn't seem to contribute anything to a discussion of large format photography.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 29, 2001.


I'm happy to report that I just finished a box of the new Kodak T-MAX single sheet packets. For each shot, one exposure was made with the new Kodak holder, and a second one was made with my Polaroid 545 Pro holder. As for side by side comparisons under my 8x lupe, I could not see any difference in terms of sharpness. So I called my ex-Life Magazine photographer friend over to confirm my observation, he could not tell any difference either. I don't really know whether I had a bad batch of E100VS single sheet packets or that was due to user errors. But I'm certainly impressed with the new Kodak holder. It's much smoothier to insert and retrieve. I'd give it a big plus! Cheers,

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), June 29, 2001.

Geoffrey, thanks for that report. I'm curious: at what apertures were your test sheets exposed? Discrepancies in film position and flatness are much more evident when using larger openings on planar subjects; diffraction can mask any differences in typical 3-D landscape situations at f/22 and smaller. In any case, your good experience with the new holder's mechanical

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 30, 2001.

Geoffrey, thanks for that report. I'm curious: at what apertures were your test sheets exposed? Discrepancies in film position and flatness are much more evident when using larger openings on planar subjects; diffraction can mask any differences in typical 3-D landscape situations at f/22 and smaller. In any case, your good experience with the new holder's mechanical performance is very encouraging. Thanks again.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), June 30, 2001.


I fully understood your intention on not performing further tests at this time.

I think that it would be a great asset if the Polaroid holder proved to be an excellent platform for exposing the new Readyload packets. What a pleasure in having to carry only one holder on trips where weight and volume are a concern.


-- Mike Kravit (mkravit@kravit.net), June 30, 2001.


A couple of shots at F16 with Rodenstock Grandagon 90/6.8, the others at either F22 or F32. No jams, no blanks. It's definitely worth getting a new Kodak holder just for its smoothness. Cheers,

PS Some people might have sharper visions than me and my friend. You might be able to detect differences under high resolution scans, but it's good enough for me.

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), June 30, 2001.

I've looked in B & H and Calumet for the new single sheet Readyloads and also for the new holders but can't seem to find any for sale. Where did you buy yours? Thanks.

-- Cal Eng (caleng@inficad.com), July 01, 2001.


I had my local shop order them for me. I paid $38 a box. Perhaps B&H or Calumet will be selling them a bit cheaper, but I needed them for a trip and did not have time to shop around.

I ordered 5 boxes and look forward to getting some time to shoot some more.


-- Mike Kravit (mkravit@kravit.net), July 01, 2001.

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