Which Polaroid Film for Exposure Proofing ASA 100 Chromes?

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Wanting to get into Polaroids as an exposure guage for ASA 100 transparency film such as ES 100sw, Astia, etc.

But from looking at the Polaroid web set and the thread archives here, I can't yet deduce if Type 55 is the film used for this, or if Type 55 positive/negative is predominately used as an exposure check of ASA 50 transparency films (among other uses, such as direct use of negative for enlargements, etc.) Appreciate the help. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001


Since the new Pro 100 has gotten to the market, I use that for most of my commercial chromes. Based on my likes and the way my lab processes (extremely consistent!!!) I also have them push 10% to snappen up the whites. Whether you use the pack film or the 4x5 singles makes little difference in my experiences. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), September 26, 2001.

Can the Pro 100 be used in the Polaroid "sheet film holders", ie, models 545 Pro or the 545i? Looks like a good film, may be it will become available in 4x5 inch sheet sizes. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001.

Oops, a little re-reading or your post prompted additinal internet browsing to find the 100 ASA PolaColor Pro 100, available in 4x5 sheets compatible with the 545 series holders. I'll look into it. Thanks. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001.

i used to use polaroid for exposure checks, but found that it was much cheaper and easier to just bracket my CT exposures, and not worry about it. there are applications where this can be handy, but not for the extensive field work i do. i dont want to carry anythign else, and i dont have time to futz around when i need to get 100 shots in a day. since all my CT printing is digital now, i dont slightly underexpose CTs like i used to either.

-- jnorman (jnorman@teleport.com), September 26, 2001.

It might have something to do with learning how to judge it, but we use type 55 to proof our exposures (and check focus) for our CTs and b&w. It's a pretty good match for Provia 100, Fuji 64T and TMX 100. I usually aim for good highlight detail, and use lighting to control the contrast...type 55 positive is a pretty contrasty print, and matches the range of a transparency well. It could just be me, but I've never found it (55) to be close to what polaroid rates as far as speed goes. (i'm talking about the pos. here) You shoot it enough, and pay attention to what a good exposure looks like in your viewing conditions, and you can get the feel for it.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), September 26, 2001.

Mr. Thompson: Yeah, I read your post in an earlier discussion on your use of this film. I may use the 55 afterall, because it's about 2/3 the cost of the Polacolor 100. So your experience with it is that it is closer to 100 ASA than 50 ASA in reality?

I imagine you're shooting it under 1/100 sec, perhaps with strobes.

But, I would like to tack on a general question regarding both the Polaroid Polacolor and Polaroid type 55 film: Are they suitible for accurate exposure checks in longer exposures typical of large format natural light field work (secondary to the tiny apertures we often use)? Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001.

Big disclaimer here: works for me....

Yeah, for the most part we shoot it using studio strobes, mostly doing multiple pop exposures, that is "building" the exposure through usually 2-4 pops, at an aperture between 32-45. We then bracket usually to half over, by 3-6 pops, however it works out. But, for the most part, we can nail the exposure with the 'roid (as my boss says). A typical shot for us is to shoot one holder of color, and one of b&w and then move on...if we're worried (or have worked on a tough shot, that would be a pain to redo), we'll burn 2 holders of color, and just run one. Hold the other for safety. Nine times out of ten, the film is fine. We limit the polaroids to like 2-3 max. per shot, usually shooting only one. Because that stuff is not cheap, even in a case quantity on contract...although our cost is more like $30/box.

Now, I can't explain it, but we expose it around 80 EI more or less. To be honest with you, I rarely use a meter in the studio because our lighting setups have become pretty routine. I do meter on location, but we approach that in the same way. Same goes for copystand work, it's all consistent. I proof type 64T straight off the type 55. For tungsten lights, the 55 has a slightly slower speed. I usually open up half a stop off the positive for 64T. Most of the time, I don't bother with a polaroid on the copystand.

When I started here, we were shooting Fuji 50, and then 100D. We proofed on type 55 that same way back then, only we used a Q-Lab for processing, and it all matched up there as well. We ran a deep tank & control strips for b&w at that time (we've gotten lazy on the b&w since then), and it all matched up with the PX 4x5 we shot then as well. Now, we shoot a 50/50 split of provia 100 and TMX 100 for all of our artifact shots, and location work. We run a deep tank with TMAX RS, and our own E6 in a Wing Lynch (we've been pretty good lately with plots, and are in-control, as they say), and however it is--this system works for us. I've used polapan 100, the coaterless one, in the past as well, and it works fine.

Now, the negative part of the film, it needs to be a beefy neg to print well. That's one case where "more meat on the bone" is good. When I shoot for that, I usually open up a stop off what a good positive looks like. Polaroid does have alot of reciprocity on long exposures, but I have used the stuff to make down & dirty copynegs using heavy filtration (47B), and alot of bellows comp. for small images. My exposures are usually in the 45 sec- 1 minute range, and it's worked okay for me. It's not like some mystery to discover back in the lab, if you can burn an extra sheet, you can see the direction to move in.

I haven't used any polacolor materials in a pretty long time. I never got a good feel for them for proofing really, although the newer emulsions may be fine now. The thing to remember is that the chrome film can only hold about 5 stops in reality....you need to either use lighting (or fill cards or preflashing or ??) to compress the subject range down into that 5 stops, or choose which end of the scale to lose: the highlights or the shadows. Alot of what we shoot winds up being reproduced in print, or duped, or cibachromes. Alot of times it sits in a drawer for years and then gets used, so we always try to aim for a flat chrome. I've found that if I get a good 55 print, the CT will look good, and the TMX will be flat. It's so consitent, that my exposure time for a 5x7 print on MG RC paper has been the same for about 5 years now (using an Ilford paper processor). Same for contacts.

So, long answer I guess. The speed thing has been a head-scratcher on boring days, but I've been here for 10 years and it's been our working method, so I gave up trying to figure out a long time ago.

Disclaimer again: works for me, test it for yourself....

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), September 26, 2001.

Mr. Thompson, thanks for your detailed response. Lots of potentially useful info in there. Polaroid 55 P/N does indeed seem to be a versatile film, probably what I'm looking for. Thanks again. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 26, 2001.

A good combination is Type 55 positive/negative and Fuji Provia, both shot at asa 80. This is the combination recommended by Norman McGrath in a workshop this summer, and it worked splendidly. Plus, you can hold the photo up to a light to get an idea of the kind of texture that you can achieve in the shadows of the transparency.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@att.net), September 27, 2001.

Neil, thanks much for that addditional tidbit. Will definitely follow up on it. Large format has so many potentials for error that anything that fosters simplicity and learning the craft is important to accomodate. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 27, 2001.

Andre, Neil's right about holding the print up to a light source...some folks call this "candling the print"...and it's another way to evaluate the exposure. It's one thing to remember if you're viewing the print & the highlights look great, but the shadows are a little inky...try backlighting it & see if there's anything in them. you can use the neg for this too, just a bit. You'll get the hang of it after awhile...good luck. BTW, Polaroid used to offer a little how-to guide on proofing with their materials, I can't remember if it was in the old "Test" magazine, or what, but alot of that stuff is available online now. I use type 55 for other things too, like making internegs under a color enlarger, and making some quickie interpositives too (for b&w transfers) and it's pretty versatile stuff.

-- DK thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), September 27, 2001.

Great. Nice additional tip. I'll definitely refer back to this thread once I start playing with this material, which will be soon. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 28, 2001.

For what this might be worth (maybe not much, because I don't use 55:(), but Michael Freeman, in his 'Studio Manual', revised, sez of this film "The rating for this positive/negative film [55,665]is ISO 50 for the print, but ISO 32 if you want a properly exposed negative." I seem to need to derate 669 and 59 about a stop, but I'm new at this and I'm still (re)learning how to use a lightmeter!

-- Paul Coppin (coppin@execulink.com), October 02, 2001.

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