OH.....MY.....GOD......my first 4x5 photo

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and it only a polaroid.

Wow, what a thrill! Buy some used equipment on eBay, read a few books on LF and the Zone system (then wait a week for SK Grimes to reassemble self-repaired shutter attempt)....and whammo! I'm taking big ol' pictures!

With all the equipment in one place for the first time, I just had to mess around and go see if I could actually take a decent picture with some Polaroid #54.

Even used the new (used) Pentax V spot meter I got off eBay, plus used Toyo 45A (new bellows installed by myself) and both used lenses. What a hoot! It works!

Ah, but one question arises: The focus on the polaroids looks pretty good to my naked eyes, even wearing my reading glasses, but when I look with an 8x lupe, it doesn't look so sharp anymore. These are just landscape shots, and I focued on the GG with a lupe, shot at f32 @8. The whole thing looks equally soft with the lupe. So...am I just seeing the graininess of polaroid film with a too strong lupe? or, maybe the camera moved? I took 6 different shots in all, and they all pretty sharp with naked eye, and even with a regular magnifying glass. Is an 8x lupe just to close?

For my first try, I was very pleased with the exposures using recommended times on polaroid package. Any comments/experiance with expanding or contracting polaroid times?

-- Douglas Gould (assistdelrey@earthlink.net), February 27, 2002


polaoid prints are formed by transferring the image from a non directly usable negative to a receiver medium, the print . Try your exeriments again but use Type 55 polaroid instead and examine the negative (which you actually can use as a real negative to print from) for sharpness. Also try using f/16 or f/22 instead of f/32.

Wel come to the club. Also you might wantto get a better loupe if you are using a cheap 8x one now.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (ellis@ellisvener.com), February 27, 2002.

Yeah, it is a cheap 8x, and I've been shopping for a better one. Any suggestions from the board? A used Toyo 4x lupe? As I need reading glasses now, should I consider a lupe with a focusing eye piece?

-- Douglas Gould (assistdelrey@earthlink.net), February 27, 2002.

A loupe with a focusing eyepiece is ideal, since you can use it both on a light table and for focusing on the groundglass. I'm very happy with my Schneider 4x (current model) loupe.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), February 27, 2002.

Polaroid prints have very poor resolution so count on luping the prints to check sharpness.

-- Jeffrey Scott (jscott@datavoice.net), February 27, 2002.

You shouldn't expect Polaroid prints to look sharp when examined at X8 magnification. The image transfers from the negative to the print by diffusion through a layer of gel chemicals. The diffusion isn't perfectly perpendicular to the surfaces, so a point on the image will spread out some. For example, the datasheet for Type 52 shows the Modulation Tranfer Function to have fallen to about 50% by 4 cycles per mm (probably line pairs per mm). With an x8 magnifier, you can see detail way past 4 line pairs per mm, and detail this fine just won't be there (at least at high modulation) in the Polaroid print, so the print will look soft.

For ground glass focusing, my advice is a loupe around X4. With most ground glass, higher magnification doesn't reveal any more detail because of the grain of the ground glass. Higher magnification has the disadvantage of making the image dimmer.

With Polaroid prints, you can get modestly different contrasts by modifying the development time. You can't change the development time by much, otherwise the print quality will go down, e.g., poor blacks. Fractional stop changes in the exposure can also make a pretty big difference in the print.

Welcome to LF photography!

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), February 27, 2002.

I love it. I made my first 4x5 photos recently, and I had a similar reaction (my words were "Holy Cow!").

I suggest that you get some high-quality color or B+W film, make some images, and then use a loupe. It will knock your socks off.

-- Matthew Runde (actorm@hotmail.com), February 27, 2002.

If a polaroid got that reaction, try shooting some transparencies.


-- Dave Willis (willisd@medicine.wustl.edu), February 28, 2002.

Hi Douglas

Yes try it with a transparency film or a B/W and have then a look on it. Most photogs using Polas as control instrument just to see if you overlooked something in the composition etc. And then if its fine using the real hot staff, like slide filmes etc.

Wellcome in the club!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), February 28, 2002.

I had a similar reaction a week and a half ago when I saw my first 4x5 chrome. THIS was the reason I got into LF!

-- Dean Cookson (cookson@nedod.org), February 28, 2002.

A little soft at 8X? Thats not too bad. After all, its the equivalent of a 32x40 print. See how sharp 35mm would be at that size!

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), February 28, 2002.

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