Polaroid 545i with Ready Loads

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I have a new Littman Single Shot RF 4x5 camera with 150 APO Symar lens. I want to do environmental portraits with color neg film and make large prints (20x24, 30x40 and 40x60). To avoid fuss in the field, I'm considering the Polaroid 545i back, to use with both Kodak and Fuji Readyloads and Quickloads. I've been told for absolutely critical applications, I should use the manufacturer's loading device. I'd prefer the portability of the Polaroid. Has anyone used the 545i with either the Kodak or Fuji Ready/Quick Loads and done large blowups? Will I lose sharpness, focus, etc. doing this? Also, has anyone tested the new (still hard to get) Kodak Single Sheet Ready Load back with Fuji Quickloads? Are the results critically sharp? Thanks, Bill Jorden (billjorde

-- Bill Jorden (billjorden@aol.com), May 30, 2002


Bill: I had good luck with the 545i with Fuji QL, few if any problems I can recall... but have no idea how well it will work with the new Kodak Single Sheet ReadyLoads. I was usually stopped down to at least f/22, so if you use wider apertures for your portraiture, you may have more sharpness issues. I have heard that Fuji Quickloads work reliably in the new Kodak holder, but not visa-versa. Both the Kodak and Fuji are considerable lighter than the Polaroid.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), May 30, 2002.

Glenn, Thanks for the quick reply. Since the Littman is a rangefinder camera with an integrated viewfinder and rf focuser, I don't need the groundglass when I use the Polaroid and Ready/Quick/Loads. So the overall combo is lighter. I'm assuming if I stop down to f22 or beyond, I'll get excellent edge sharpness with the Polaroid. Since I'm shooting in relatively bright light (outdoors), and not doing super closeups, I should be able to get good results. What do you think? Or anyone else?

-- Bill Jorden (billjorden@aol.com), May 30, 2002.

By the way, is there a rcephoto@mediaone.net out there? I tried to e-mail him/her, but DAMEON bounced it. Whoever you are, please reply. Thank

-- Bill Jorden (billjorden@aol.com), May 30, 2002.

I've used both the 545i and the ss readyload holder, they have both worked well with kodak film but it looks like the ss readyload holder holds the film flatter, at least to my uncritical eye looking at it from the outside.

The ss radyload holder is more "protable" than the 545i (ie smaller, flatter & lighter). I got slight fogging around the edges from prints off both holders and had to sand the edges down a bit to "dull" them (thanks to advice on this forum).

I wouldn't worry too much about "critical sharpness" (unless your going to the moon or something) try for just good pictures. the 4 x 5 format looks good even when not "critical"

-- adrian tyler (tyler@nova.es), May 31, 2002.

Dear Bill,

As one hand-held shooter to another, could you please tell us some more about this Littman Camera. I must admit that I have never heard of it before.

As to holders, why not try the venerable and tried Grafmatics, that give you 6 sheets in one package, with very quick draw changing?

Good luck with shooting away with your Littman!!!

-- Emil Ems (emil.ems@cec.eu.int), May 31, 2002.

Emil, The Littman Single Shot 4x5 is manufactured by William Littman from an old Polaroid 110, which had a single window integrated rangefinder and viewer, with viewing brackets (not sure about parallax correction). The normal lens is a 127 Xenar, I believe, and the cost is about $1900. However, you can also have lenses from 120 to 180 (again, this is from memory) fitted to it for an extra cost, and the rangefinder and frame lines adjusted accordingly. Whatever lens you choose, it stays permanently on the camera. I choose Schnieder's APO Symmar 150 f 5.6. The only problem with any lens except the 127 is that the camera will not fold closed. In my case, I have to take off the front element, which is a pain. Can anyone recommend a secure case that will hold the whole camera wide open (the bellows can be fragile)? My cost with the 150 was about 3 bills. It also comes with a ground glass back. That's the temptation for me of the 545i -- I don't need the groundglass so can shed some weight. Plus the holder becomes an integral part of the camera. So my question remains: Can anyone tell me if I'm shooting at f22 whether I'll notice a difference in edge sharpness with the 545 when blown up to say 30x40??? Also, I don't intend to handhold the camera, just use it on a tripod and shoot color neg. And I don't intend to do super closeups -- more like environmental portraits and

-- Bill Jorden (billjorden@aol.com), May 31, 2002.

Emil, to answer your question re the Gramatic back. It's somewhat tempting, but, aside from a series I will do in New York City where I live, I intend to be away for weeks at a time. So I don't want to be loading film in the field, even if its six shots at a time. My basic camera up to this has been the Mamiya 7, which I'll also continue to use. But I don't want to fuss with no film loading. Maybe later I'll get used to it. By the way, you or anyone can check out my "Mystical Landscapes of the Celtic World" series at www.nextmonet.com under my name (Bill Jorden). You can also buy, hopefully, the August/September issue of Camera Arts magazine which will have an article that I've written on the Mystical Landscapes series and the glories of the old fashioned C print (although, ironically, I've had to digitize and correct my images in PhotoShop for reproduction in the publication) (If Steve Simmons is listening in here, maybe that should be a footnote -- assuming of course that you're going to run the article!). Cheers to all the good people on this wonderful site. Bill Jorden Gosh, am I too wordy? Can't help it, I'm also a writer (who like Scott Fitzgerald could use a

-- Bill Jorden (billjorden@aol.com), May 31, 2002.

The Polaroid 110 series used a 127mm Yashinon in Seikosha shutter or 127mm Rodenstock in Prontor - both excellent lenses although, unsurprisingly, the Rodie is more sought after. A friend of mine was bumped off ebay by Mr Littman for offering to 'convert your 110 to 4x5' for a lot less than he charges - about 25% in fact. Littman claimed to have patents and exclusive rights - all bulldust of course. The dust is yet to settle. The end result is a very neat and compact 4x5 - though very limited compared to a real field camera. I'm not sure whether my friend's version will take a Polaroid back but it does have a ground glass. In fact, I can't think why one would pay Littman's price when you can get a decent and more flexible field camera for less! Surely, the idea of modifying a Polaroid would be economy?

-- andrew fildes (afildes@netlink.com.au), July 10, 2002.

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