Monday, December 27, 2010

We need clips

We need a reasonable amount of them. None have come in recently. Urgent plea.

Clips can be salvaged from Fujifil Quickloads, Kodak Readyloads, and any Polaroid 4x5 sheet films. Send the whole sleeve if you can, with the clip. Labs, don't throw these out please! Send them to us.

Readers, please tweet this, FB it, and send this message to any labs you use for 4x5.

72 Nickerson Rd
Ashland MA 01721

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fujifilm Darkless

Here is yet another cute and innovative do-it-yourself product from the very creative Fujifilm that apparently never made it to the English-speaking world.  Like the Brooks Pixmat, Fujifilm's Darkless developed a roll of 35mm film in the can, with expected irregularities.

But, the fun is not lost on the Japanese author of this link, translated in google translate from Japanese. Or this one (warning, nudity) Why not color?

Anyone have an idea of the date of this product?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fujifilm Pinhole camera

Interesting evidence of Fujifilm's instant group exploring ways to use the excellent Instax integral film they make. The Instax Wide is superb and can be exposed in any camera you might cobble it into (I have not been very successful but others have). Because the Instax film exposes through the back, and not the front like Old Pol and TIP, the image comes out without being reversed.

The beginning minutes of this video don't seem as on topic as the pinhole demonstration at the end.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DTR on PP400 with EFKE 25

This is an excellent result. It might not look pretty, but it shows near perfect DTR onto the 20x24 PP400 material using the EFKE 25.  As you can see where I wrote "OK" there is a small margin where the image is good. That's where the reagent was thick enough. Where it was too thin, an incomplete DTR reaction took place. However, zoom in on the sepia toned portions, and see how the thinness of the reagent restricted the lateral diffusion, or point spread function (PSF) producing quite a sharp positive.

Even so, the thicker reagent portions are still plenty sharp.  That same margin on the corresponding negative also showed a good density, perhaps a little too high, but good enough for this experiment.
There it is at the top. Notice that the negative also developed outside of the border, proving that a negative can be developed without contact with the receiver material (again).

Below that is a negative produced by a spread on some Kodak premium glossy inkjet paper, which fell apart and produced a texture that you can see if you zoom in. You can also see some very good spots where the reagent spread is near the "right" thickness.

Look at how sharp this stuff is!

Thanks to 20X24 for supplying some receiver material for this experiment. There is no doubt that the PP400 receiver surface could be used for New55, if the stock it was on could be made thinner. Right now it is very appropriately thick, just right for a 20X24 print, but twice as thick as what we'd want for 4x5. 

Monday, December 20, 2010


Today after meetings I tried to produce a receiver sheet by adding lead acetate to Kodak glossy premium photo inkjet paper.  Not only did the negative stick to the surface and rip off the entire top layer after spreading the reagent, but nothing at all seemed to be produced on the negative.  I had hoped for at least a faint image on the negative, but a silvery mess instead.

Loading, exposing and unloading sheet film holders reminded me why this project might be worth the effort, as it is a pain and a bother. Wish I had some Efke 25 readyloads ready.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Results: How Old Are You?

Under 35
  58 (47%)
Over 60
  7 (5%)
None of the above
  56 (46%)

Responses: 121
Duplicates: 4
Poll closed on December 19

Thank you for participating!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ketchup Pods

Liquid Packaging Machine - StickPack from Apack Machinery on Vimeo.

The music in this video will kill you, but the subject is very interesting to us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reader Poll

I know a lot of people don't like to tell their age, and I have to admit I have in the past said I was older to get a job, or younger for reasons of vanity.

We'd like to get an idea of the age of visitors to this blog. It's important enough because we are seriously thinking of raising real money to produce a number of new products relating to the general subject of 4x5 photography, and well, we need to know who is interested.

You can see there are only three very broad ranges and we know one of them should apply to you. Getting some info here will help us decide the mix and type of products to be developed.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kodak's BIMAT System

Here's the best diagram I can find of Kodak's BIMAT P/N system used on early moon probes. The system used two lenses, a long focal length, and a wide angle (a Schneider Xenotar!) and two spools, one with film, the other with a "web". The web was damp with processing chemicals, and processed the film, which would also if desired produce a DTR positive onto the web.

The system shown in the diagram scanned just the negative with a flying spot scanner, a precursor to the drum scanner.  A flying spot scanner uses a CRT-like electron beam to illuminate a spot that moves in a predictable way, and the intensity of the transmitted light can then be recorded or transmitted to a distant location.

Check out this shot.

Here is a link to the website discussing it, and if you look around you can see striped pictures of the moon shot with this system, which might have used Pan-X. 

Key question - long answer

Comments and further explanations welcome. This is a reposted response to a question in the Fuji Reclamation thread:

Anon wrote: I sincerly do not understand the target of this project, maybe because i do not speak english, but what does it mean " The goal is to enable the supply of a very high quality negative" ?? is maybe you mean to say "The goal is develop high quality negative in a different way" Please do not consider me as a troll but I really find not clear the title best regards Mike Nardini

Bob replied: No problem. The goal is to provide a high quality negative that can be obtained without going back to the darkroom, or using a cumbersome changing bag. T55 spoiled us. It produced an exceptionally sharp and detailed negative and was pretty easy to process in the field, but not perfect. Now that is gone. Even Quickloads/Readyloads are gone!

That puts us back with double dark slides and grafmatic backs. These are OK and we know how to use them, but they are not light, they are hard for new users to get the hang of, and they take a lot of time. You can still buy boxes of sheet film and process them in the normal way with developer, fixer and wash. Great! But, that takes time.

We have tested a monobath/reagent that works with EFKE 25 to produce a high resolution, quality negative. It is a much sharper negative than the reclaimed Fuji instant negatives. Much sharper. Now we have to put it all together into a field usable system.

If it processes "instantly" like 55 did, that would be great! We might be able to do that. Even if we cannot, we can STILL use the monobath/reagent with a standard sheet film, if we make it easy to use. We definitely can do that.

The goal is to enable the supply of a high (very high) quality negative material, that can be field-processed. No darkroom. Fast, results in a couple of minutes. Most people (not all) are using a hybrid workflow for some of their work. Capturing the best possible image for that means, for some of us, getting a great negative. Not only that, but young people in art schools, and all over, still have access to one of the millions of 4x5 cameras that were designed to last 100 years.

I want to see them used, easily, by newcomers as well as pros, as tools for artistic expression. If that is too expensive or too difficult, it won't happen. If we make it easy, accessible, and fun, it can happen. It will be many years yet before digital cameras can compete with a sharp 4x5 negative.

Does this answer your question? We've already done the legwork. All the info is here in this blog and you can go out and start doing it yourself now by using monobaths with EFKE 4x5 or 120 Ilford Pan-F (great results we got still astound us). I will post more on a new thread, but that is the answer:

Make it easy, fast, accessible to young people, and very high quality for pros, without going back to the darkroom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Response from Kickstarter

Well I think you have done it.  I sent along some of your positive comments to Cindy that were copied and pasted from the comments section.  Who was it who suggested I try Kickstarter?  - special kudos to you, and to everyone who helped make the case.  Step one, right?

Anyway, here is the response - let's prepare, and make the most of this opportunity.  I have already signed up for a "creator account" and I have a log in. Give me a day or so to look into that a little more to see how we can connect Kickstarter to here, or on another site, in a way that we can all define and share this project easily online.

Meanwhile, please take a look at for examples of successful projects, and some that have not been.  Creativity is obviously a prerequisite - while we're at it, let's innovate too, not just mimic the past, but make something new and valuable that belongs in our future.


"Hi Bob,

Wow -- what a great community you've got! I think you've definitely picked out
some of the best suggestions :)

Congratulations -- you’re in! In just a moment, you’ll be able to start getting
your project ready. Yay!

Take as much time as you need to prepare. There’s no deadline to launch. Check
out some of our Recommended projects, browse the FAQ, and read the project
guidelines. They'll give you a feel for what works and help you shape your
project into a great one.

Some of the things you’ll learn:

1) A video is a must. It makes an emotional connection and shows you care. Plus,
projects with video succeed at a much higher rate!

2) Cool rewards make a big difference. Not every reward has to be special, but
they’re a great opportunity to share what’s unique to you and your project.

3) Spreading the word pays off. You provide the experience and the idea, your
network helps fund and promote it.

Also, when considering your funding goal, remember that it's an all-or-nothing
deal -- you can always raise more, but never less!"

Ready? Let’s get started!

To begin building your project, log-in to Kickstarter and then click the green
"Start Your Project" button on the start page.

All best,

Clips, Clips, Clips

Polaroid 4x5 single sheet film clips

Fujifilm Quickload clips

Kodak Readyload clips

We can use them all!

Bob Crowley
72 Nickerson Rd
Ashland MA 01721

If you have a bulk quantity and would like to sell these to us, please contact me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Goal of the project

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.

It is not the goal to "resurrect" Polaroid 55. T55 has gone the way of Kodachrome. If successful, we will have a new material or system, likely with its own characteristics. If receiver chemistry and costs goals can be met, a P/N product will be attempted. If that is impractical, a the goal will still be to supply a very high quality negative material that can easily be field processed.

There have been over 500 page views today! I am grateful and humbled by the generosity of people who have expressed their support, and are telling others.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Clips, Please

We need some more (a lot more) of the little black metal clips like the one shown here.
You can send them to our address

Bob Crowley
72 Nickerson Rd
Ashland MA 01721

It might be a while before we can have these made commercially so salvage and re-use is in order.  The clips come right off old Pol sheet films with the application of heat - like a very hot hair dryer or a heat gun. Be careful if you do this so you don't get burned. Otherwise the entire sheet after processing can be sent. Old, expired, dried-out, exposed, surplus or just lying around, we need them now!

And thanks to those who have already sent some.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Diffusion Transfer Reversal

Diffusion Transfer Reversal, or DTR, is possibly the most important photographic process developed in the 20th Century, and almost certainly an important technology that few have ever heard of, but nearly everyone knows something about.

DTR is the basic process that enables instant photography as practiced by Polaroid, Kodak, Fuji, 20X24, and was a key step in the development of integral films such as now made by The Impossible Project.

Here is a link to more posts about DTR, which was invented before WWII.  And here is a link to the Rott patent. Weyde invented DTR.

Type 55 was just one of many products that depended upon the use of DTR to produce a negative that is processed in such a way as to rapidly produce a transfer of metallic salts onto a receiver, bridged by a developer. The action of DTR is battery-like and DTR kinetics are complex and still being studied today.

I wanted to show some results of DTR that we have produced here. They are early and crude, but show definite ability to use existing films - in this case EFKE 25 - as an emulsion capable of generating a sharp, high tonal gradient DTR image onto suitable receiver paper.

Below is a DTR image produced using EFKE 25, in our own sleeve, and employing 17 year old T55 reagents and paper that was ruined by humidity, which in itself is very instructive. I shot this today in a Speed Graphic with a 545 holder to point out where we need to buy tooling and obtain materials for a new product.

 We know how to make new, fresh reagent, and we now have a very tonally rich emulsion.  We do not now have a supply of receiver paper.  We do have a source of pod-making equipment, and the ability to mass-produce sleeves, inserts, stops, clips and other parts if we can obtain the tooling at a reasonable price.
Here's the scanned EFKE 25 negative, showing less DTR failure, but with very uneven (slightly exaggerated in the scan) development. Note however, that the cleared portions have a tonality that is not too different than the print, which is good. Perhaps this defect is similar to what we saw with Reagent III and the sponge, but with a spread out appearance.
Here's a shot of the sleeve used for the above, and some of the EFKE (here shown in lower case_ PL 25 M.