Just a note to say Thank-you to the many blogs and other websites pointing to this one. While most of them understand that what we are trying to do is aimed at enabling field processing of 4x5 negatives, a few seem to suggest we are trying to reproduce 55. That is not so, and would not make economic sense today, as the production cost for such a sheet film would require a retail price tag of over $6. Some people stall at the cost of about $2.50 a shot for FP-100B45 which is well worth it but nobody seems to know about it. It leads me to ask why Fuji cannot bring themselves to Fedex some of the 500 speed 4X5 black and white version to the US too, and spread some PA45 backs around. It's mystifying, given such a "well narrowed" market. (that's marketspeak for a customer base that has only a few remaining choices)
The spirit of 55, the ease of use, the portability, and the making of images using the many millions of 4x5 cameras that are out in the realm, is the driver for the New 55 Project. As you can read, we have looked in detail at the DTR process, looking for new opportunities to meld that with existing emulsions, using reagents derived from monobath formulas, just as Old Pol did. In the process of doing so, a few side diversions emerged to amuse and entertain us, such as the workflow to accomplish the recuperation of fairly high quality negatives from Fuji's FP-100C films, which are only a buck a shot. Also, several monobath formulas have been tested, and the results shown to be promising, but not perfect yet without the boost of DTR.
Equipment to make instant sheet film has been identified, and is available for purchase. It would only take money, and not much time, if we really wanted to invest in recreating 55 or something very much like it. It would not be hard to do at all.
Now would be a good time for Ilford or Fuji to invest in the project if they were interested, as there is a fairly complete product development plan in place, and very low technical risk involved. That won't happen. Fuji is too far away and Ilford has already passed - or at least they passed on a rights transfer from Old Pol, something that is no longer needed, since we are building the new know-how to proceed, if there is interest.
So go out and buy lots of 4x5 Efke 25, (you can get it for a little under a dollar a sheet here in the US) and some holders, and prepare to try an interesting new monobath reagant, and workflow, that may be convenient enough, and cheap enough.
From the masthead from day one:
The goal is to enable the supply of a very high quality 4x5 (and possibly 8X10) negative material, for artistic purposes, that can be easily field processed, such as so-called "instant film" of discontinued Polaroid type 55, and get this to happen any way we can! We will need your help to make it happen.