Various Film Holders : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Let's say I want to try a new film holder system for 4x5 B&W and am wondering which one to get.

I've been happily using traditional, 2-sided film holders for years but lately I've wondered if I'm missing something by not using one of the various Readyload, Quickload or Polaroid type holders. My impression is that there are weight and space savings to be had, along with less dust in some of the prepackaged systems.

I have searched the archives of this site and read the recent article in View Camera magazine but I don't perceive a consenus as to which one is the best, most reliable or at least the most popular.

Check my logic: The Fuji "Quick Change" and the Polaroid 545 would allow me to use any kind of film but must be loaded by me (risk of dust). The Kodak Readyload and the Fuji "Quickload" use prepackaged film (less dust?) but have limited film options, i.e. T-Max 100 but no Tri-x, making these last two holders less appealing.

Anyone have strong opinions between the Quick Change and the Polaroid holders or, for that matter, the preloaded options? Thanks.

-- Dan Montgomery (, December 31, 2001



I have a couple of Polaroid 545's of different models/vintages and I know of no means by which to use self-loaded film with them. If there is a way I would love to be enlightened.

Happy New Year ... Walter

-- Walter Glover (, December 31, 2001.


You're right - Readyloads and Quickloads only (and Polaroid, of course) in the Polaroid holder. I knew my logic needed checking. So that leaves only the Fuji "Quick Change", and old Grafmatics in the load your own/any-film category?

Happy New Year to all!

-- Dan Montgomery (, December 31, 2001.

Stick with the double CFH (since you say that you're happy with them). They are the least expensive, the most trouble-free, and by far the easiest. I'm personally partial to the old Graflex Bag-Mags.

-- (, January 01, 2002.

There seems to be no consensus. I too have used simple double film holders for thirty years. The only disadvantages to them are the need to clean and reload and the bulk of, say, 32 sheets of film. However, serious backpackers prefer them in small numbers and just unload/reload every night.

Quickloads are clean and simple and 32 sheets fits in a tupperware easily. The disadvantages are cost and severely limited choice of film.

Evidently the Quickchange has been available in Japan for quite a while but only recently discovered (or imported by Robt White and Badger Graphics.) My experience is limited so far but it seems like a very useful way to carry and use film. Basically, it is eight sheets of film in the space and weight of one and a half or two normal holders. And, since it is spring loaded, the dark slide and the septum that holds the sheet of film become a pressure plate. The film is flatter (subjectively) than the usual holder.

The film pack is labeled for one-time use only but is easily reloaded with the users' choice of film. To actually buy and not reload the thing would be very expensive and an incredible waste. The film pack is complicated. I am sure Fuji recycles the ones they get back in Japan. The duty life of the film pack should be OK though it does not seem to be as sturdy as the holder.

The flyer it comes with is in Japanese only and I had to ask Robt White for some pointers (gladly e-mailed after I asked) on how to unload and reload. It did require some practice with scrap film naturally.

The disadvantages are initial cost (perhaps not an issue if you have no film holders because one Quickchange holder and four film packs probably cost about the same as 16 double holders), and a little more tricky to load.

The total weight and bulk of 32 exposure of each system might be a good but boring subject for an article in View Camera. My guess is that in order by heaviest is double film holders, QuickChange, and lightest, Quickload. In order by ease of use and least risk of dust, I'd say Quickload, double holders, and QuickChange. A major advantage to both of the Quicks is film flatness because they are both spring loaded and you have only one film holder and thus reduce variability.

-- John Hennessy (, January 01, 2002.

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