Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Instant 8x10 P/N

Nafis Azad holds up the first instant 8x10 P/N in Ashland
If you can make a 4x5 positive negative system that can be field processed that gives you a sharp negative and a balanced print, why not one for 8x10?  Precisely that is being done, this one just from today's experiment at New55 conducted by 20x24 Studio's Nafis Azad, who muscled our Saltzman around with its 8x10 view camera into a position looking at a lot of 4x5 results we had posted. 

Just like New55, less Polatrash is produced, but with four times the area and more acreage to process, this will be a boost that 8x10 photography has needed for a long time, as Polaroid didn't produce a monochrome 8x10 equivalent to T55.  But we can. Click here for more fun.

Link to a large file

Shop New55

The link here to Shop New55 brings you to some for-sale items that are here at New55 that we want to sell to help pay for some of the expenses incurred during the project. Along the way very exotic and desirable items have gone through the shop, including a new in box model 180, a rare and excellent form of the Kodak Aero Ektar, and several other items that appeal to medium and large format photographers.  Right now there is a featured Schneider 150mm Xenotar, with an aperture of f2.8, fast, sharp and in great shape, with a custom machined tilt mount for a Pentax 67 camera, and a sized lens board for a Pacemaker, with ring, so you can use the lens on your 4x5, too. The kit even comes with a helicoid mount and achieves perfect infinity focus.  Go here for more details.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Suwen Chee's Instant Shop

Very impressive and nice collection of instant and other cameras to be seen here in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

Controlling the spread

One of the challenging aspects that was solved early in the history of Old Pol in Cambridge was the problem of getting an even and consistent spread of reagent, or "goop".  The problem is further compounded by the fact that over time, the pods that contain the water based reagent have a tendency to dry out. If something "dries out" that is a sure sign that water is escaping.

Impervious materials exist, and some are more impervious than others! Such is the case with anything that contains water, as even the tiniest gap can allow a very slow release of the water over a long time. Old Pol used lead as a pod material, since lead is very well known for its impervious nature. Later, as lead became something that people didn't want in their hands, aluminized plastics were employed, and techniques to encapsulate them by folding and heat sealing were developed. Today, a large and growing pod "sachet" industry exists to put ketchup and hand cream and many things on the shelf for you to use, one at a time.

Getting back to porosity, potato chip bags are a good example of an aluminized plastic that prevents nitrogen egress. Potato chips are often packed in nitrogen gas with almost no oxygen, as that retards spoilage.  Nitrogen is a fairly small atom and can make it through many thin materials, so a coating of aluminum is used to seal the holes. Other sealants include Parylene, and various co-extruded or chemical vapor deposited materials.

Knowing the egress rate of an average pod is important: That tells you how long it will take for it to dry out and become useless. Since all pods do lose a little water, the pods are initially overfilled, so, a fresh pod has more goop in it than one that has been around for a while.  Excess goop can be expected from a fresh pod. All this affects the spread, and designers have to set the spacers, or rails, to make sure an even and complete layer of goop is spread each and every time.

The example above is a good one, edge to edge, and evenly spread. Amazing what careful hand-building of things can do. Now, the next step is to use the same quantities, spacings etc, in a more controlled environment of a factory. There is a big jump in investment to go from hand assembly to mechanization, and that has been our problem so far, but we are getting closer to an answer.

Monday, May 7, 2012


The old Polaroid office building in Enschede, Holland.  If you look closely, you can see the shadow of the Polaroid name. As you know, a new brand or group of brands are gradually coming to mean "instant photography". And since instant photography is today one of the most active and growing aspects of film photography, one could argue that instant is the realest thing going today.

We have not posted much because there have been plans in the making, and business progress.