Polaroid and medium format in one camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jamie_standbridge, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I have a project that I need to be able to shoot polaroids and medium format for. I don't have a suitable camera for either at the moment and I'm kind of hoping to kill two birds with one stone.
    As far as I understand at the moment I can't get a full size polaroid print out of a hasselblad?
    So I think this leaves me in Mamiya universal, or polaroid 600 se teretoriy. I'm a complete newby to medium format and polaroid all at once so please bear with me if I'm completely barking up the wrong tree.
    Does anyone know if I will be able to get a good sharp print on roll film out of a 600 se, and if so what do I need to get for it. Or am I better off going for a Universal and getting a polaroid back for that instead.
    I'm very interested in keeping the shots on both formats very sharp, particulary medium format, I want to go big, but it is very important that the polaroids are of a high quality as well, have heard reports on this forum that universal doesn't neccassarily compleetly cover polaroid size prints.
    I also read that some people have converted backs to shoot large format on Polaroid 600 se, is this really practicaly do able or is it more of an experiment where i'm likely to end up in focusing hell. Obviously as I want to go big the large format sounds like an excelent idea but practicality of shooting is also important. Also does any one know how well these lenses will resolve on a medium format print or even large format?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Hasselblad, the older mechanical V series camera, will make a 6x6cm polaroid print or negative. It is not full size, but then what is? There are several sizes of Polaroid materials up to very big ones (24"). Polaroid used to make a positive/negative film that gives both a paper print (black and white positive) and a black and white film negative that can be used for enlargements. It was, and still is at least from old stock, available at least in film packs that fit polaroid backs in medium format cameras or the likes of 600SE, and in 4x5 sheets (actually a bit smaller) that can be used in just about all view cameras. Try to search for information on Polaroid 55 or 665 to get you started. If you want big prints, and as big postives out of the camera that is reasonable, I think 4x5 is the way to go. The print, and negative, are very sharp provided you use a reasonably good camera and a good lens.
  3. Where are you going to get the film? If you have film 4x5 is what you should shoot.
  4. I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. But if I follow you, you want to acquire one camera that will shoot both film and polaroids (really, Fuji instant film, since that's all that's made at present.)

    In medium format, Ilkka's suggestion of Hasselblad is a good one; another option would be a Mamiya RB/RZ67 camera with a polaroid back that will accept Fuji pack film. I shoot with this setup and the results are excellent. Properly enlarged (either optically or via high-quality scanning), excellent large prints will be very doable. Of course instant prints are not enlargable--do you intend them as proofs for the final film image, or are they themselves end products of the project?

    In large format, I second Bruce's response. A 4x5 instant print is a nice size for either proofing or as its own objet d'art ; and a properly done 4x5 negative can produce very large prints.
  5. I think the best you will get in medium format is a Mamiya RB67 or RZ67. They both will produce a 7cm x 7 cm square image on the Fuji instant pack film. So it will fill the frame top to bottom but will fall just a little short on side to side.
    If you really need or just dead set on useing the instant pack film with good quality, think of getting a Polaroid Land 195 or the 185(?). They have fully manual shutter and aperture, good optics at about f3.8 wide open. They are just like the Automatic version with good glass and as I said fully manual. I have a 195 that I replaced the range finder with the Zeiss version from a very cheap 250 ($20.00USD).
    Finaly, if you are dead set in haveing both films shot through the same lens and have the exact same frame coverage, a 4x5 maybe your best/only option.
  6. If, you want to shoot Polaroid, then get the Mamiya Universal. Have one, with the Polaroid pack film back. It shoots full format. Also, get the 127mm lens. The other medium format cameras, don't cover the whole Polaroid film. Also, have the Model P focusing hood. It gives a groundglass back etched with the Polaroid, 6x9 and 6x7 formats.
  7. You will be disappointed with polaroids form MF for anything other than exposure evaluations - indeed I find that you can do better with a good DSLR set to the same ISO and with a equivalent lens focal length. I have only shot polaroids with Mamiya M645, Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji GX680 but in alll cases the image is small and not very sharp. fMy conclusion has been that it is the film and not the lens that leads to the fairly poor picture quality (the fact that the camera may not be as pricise with the location of the film when using polaroid backs may also be part of the problem. From a medium format perspective my conclsion is that the polaroid is only useful for testing exposure settings. through trial and error I have concluded that my Canon 5DII with +1/3 exposure compensation set gives me a better test shot than a polaroid when shooting MF. Since the film is not easy to source (I had to get mine from New York) and expensive (about 85 cents a shot for MF and around $3 for LF) calibrating your DSLR is a good alternative.
  8. Thanks very much for all your answers, there is already a lot of information here that I need to absorb and research. I just want to clear up exactly what I intend to do.
    The polaroids are part of the final product. I won't be using them for exposure evaluation or for scanning, they will be presented as part of the final piece, 4 or 5 polaroids along with one large print presented together as a set.
    If possible I would like to acheave full frame coverage on a normal size polaroid. I beleve that the most commonly available film for polaroid is 600, or is it 660, and I would like to cover the whole of the frame on this format.
    Then in addition to this if I can shoot medium format through the same body that will save me some money. If not I'll have to invest in two cameras.
    Has anyone had any experiences with shooting MF through polaroid 600 se. I think I read that the lenses reslove a little better on MF than the universal, but only if set up correctly. Is this correct or am I barking up the wrong tree here?
  9. As far as I understand at the moment I can't get a full size polaroid print out of a hasselblad?
    Correct, you will not be able to get anything bigger than the negative (6 cm x 6 cm in the case of a Hasselblad) on a polaroid/fuji instant print.
    I have a polaroid back for my Pentax 645N and it yields a 6 cm x 4.5 cm photo on a print that could potentially yield an image 8.25 cm x 10.8 cm -- so there is a lot of "black", empty space on the sheet.
  10. Dear Jamie,
    I have recently purchased a Polaroid 600SE with the standard 127 mm lens because I wanted to be able to take full-frame "Fujiroids" and not have black space around the images like I do when using my Mamiya RZ or Hasselblad 503. I was very fortunate to be able to also get the 75 mm lens and viewfinder at a bargain price. The quality of both lenses is excellent. I understand that it is possible to get an adapter to take a film back on the Polaroid 600SE but it is very rare and hence expensive.
    In order to get the largest size, with readily available instant film and "normal" film, you probably do need to get the Mamiya Press in one of its various guises. However, I don't think the Fujiroids you will get from this will be as large as those from the Polaroid 600SE as the full images are larger than 6 x 9.
    Best Wishes in your endeavours.
  11. Most MF backs use 4.25"x3.25" film which is the easiest to obtain. It is sometimes called type 660 and was for the Polariod Land camera series. As discussed above you get a lot of white space with MF cameras - my 6x8cm Fuji GX680 only covers about half of the area and a 645 camera about a quarter. The film is available in 4x5 LF size and this is probably the only way to get a full image - I belive this film is called Type 50 and the film packs type 500. You used to be able to get 8"x10" but I is suspect that it is no longer produced.
  12. Jamie
    I would look for a Polaroid 600se as this will give the largest image possible with currently available films. All Polaroid materials are now discontinued and the only film avilable is the pack film that fits in the holders of a 600SE as well as most other medium format cameras. All other cameras other than the 600 produce an image smaller than the area of the print when used with a polaroid.
    It may be in the future that another manufacturer will take up producing 5x4 format instant film but until they do I would not spend any money on that type of equipment as once stocks run out there will be no more film. Remember Poaroid stopped producing film a long time ago now so stocks are already short.
    The 600SE works brilliantly for roll film, you need to get an old style film back and search for an M adapter to mount it on the camera. The images on film are 6x9 so bigger than almost anything else apart from specialised panoramic cameras.
    Good shooting
  13. Thanks for all the answers, I have been really impressed by the fast an knowledgeable responses. I'm pretty much sold on the Mamiya Press Universal now, I think I'll be able to do what I want with it. My only concern now is how big I can get a print out of the Universal.
    I think I'll shoot 6-6 but I'm not sure yet. Might get a bit panoramic with it, I suppose this might be dictated by what accessory's I can get for it. Can anybody give me any idea of what size prints they have been getting out of this camera, and let me know what lenses they have been using, I hear a lot about the 127mm being a really good lens for polaroid so I'll probably get one of them, but how does this shape up on MF when you are using less of the image circle and printing much bigger? I think I'll print as big as I can, would like to shoot at a low ISO as well to help maximise the size of the prints.
    As far as lenses are concerned, I would probably want something a bit wider as well, how well do would the 50mm or 65mm shape up on MF for sharpness and Polaroid for frame coverage. Is it possible to do both well with one lens? Thanks
  14. OK just took a few moments to write that last post and Simons answer has poped up while I was writing it. Can I definatly get a full polaroid out of a Universal camera or am I better off going with the Polaroid 600 se. Sounds like Simon's getting some pretty good MF results from it and I can be sure that the polaroids will come out in top notch condition as well.
  15. AJG


    My experience with the Mamiya Universal with the 100 f/3.5, 65 f/6.3 and 150 f/5.6 is that there is a little bit of vignetting at the corners on Polaroid prints. Bear in mind that the Polaroid image is bigger than the 6x7 or 6x9 film negatives that you will get on 120 film in the back for this camera. I would not plan on making big prints by scanning or making copy negatives from the Polaroids--Polaroid film never had spectacularly high resolutions on their prints, since the print is made by diffusing the remaining silver or dyes onto the receiver sheet. Film images with this camera are quite sharp, and I have good 16 x 20 prints from these lenses.
  16. The 600SE was made by Mamiya. The Polaroid image size is about 2 7/8 x 3 3/4. Only a few Mamiya lenses cover the Polaroid format. The 127 i mentioned earlier and the 75mm and 100mm. Have the 100 and 127 lenses. They work very well for the Polaroid film.
  17. Jaime,
    The Graflex XL camera is very similar to Mamiya Universal/Polaroid 600SE, and it is a lot more compact and lighter. You can use Polaroid backs on the XL that has opening for the full coverage, just like the Mamiyas. There has been a test on whether the lenses for XL can cover the full 4x3 image:


    Not all of them do, just like the Mamiya Universal lenses.
  18. Hi, Jamie - I would also consider a 4x5 Speed or Crown Graphic. They'll shoot all of the following: Standard (3 1/4 x 4 1/4) Fuji instant pack films, using a Polaroid 405 holder (available used on the auction site) or a Fuji PA-145 holder; 4x5 Fuji instant pack films, using a Polaroid 550 holder (also available used on the auction site) or a Fuji PA-45 holder; and 120 film, using a 6x7 rollfilm back (also widely available new or used). Happy shooting!
  19. There's some misinformation above. My understanding (which I'm pretty sure of) is that the 600se and the Universal are basically the same camera, with deliberate incompatibilities between them introduced for marketing reasons. So there's no reason to get a 600se rather than a Universal. The Universal produces the full size Polaroid print, at least when used with some of the lenses. The 127mm and 75mm definitely cover the full Polaroid frame (I've actually done this with the 75mm), and I think the 100mm 1:3.5 also does (but not the 100mm 1:2.8, as I can also confirm).
    The Universal will also, of course, produce nice 6x9, 6x7, 6x6, or 645 shots from 120/220 film (size depending on back used).
  20. Jamie - I would check that 4x5 film is out of production. I don't use it but I know you can still but severl new colour and black and white film packs from Fuji. I assume that they are still producing it so before I rule out LF I would check. Unless you are looking for a specific look you will be very disappointed by the quality of MF instant film. The colours is rather unusual and the print from my GX680 (which has very good glass and a 6x8cm image) is about as sharp as a Wal-Mart processed 6x4 print from an disposable 35mm camera! Andrew has explained why.
  21. Hi everyone, thanks for all the answers, this is a lot of information to take on all at once but I think I have nearly got it.
    I thought I had nearly worked everything out yesterday but this is apparently a complicated one. Can any one confirm that the Mamiya Universal or Polaroid 600 se takes the commonly available 600 type consumer film that is still readily available on ebay ect. I'm getting a little confused as to what will work in this camera. Just to clarify, I know this film isn't the best but I'm going for the consumer polaroid film look. However it is important that I can get very good results on MF and obtain full frame coverage on polaroid.
    I don't think the 4x5 polaroid film is what I'm after, as far as I can tell it is polaroids and film negs all in one pack. I won't be shooting the same thing on polaroid as on MF so this sounds like an un neccassary expense.
    If I can shoot the common 600 type film on the Universal this is probably the camera I'll go for.
    Thanks again for all the help, it is really appreciated.
  22. Dear Jamie,
    Confusingly the Polaroid 600SE does not take Polaroid 600 type film. If you can get hold of any remaining Polaroid film you need to get T100 type.
    The following films, from the Fuji range, will work: FP-100C 100 ISO colour (available in glossy or silk finish - I prefer the glossy); Fuji-100B 100 ISO black and white; and, FP-3000B 3200 ISO black and white. I haven't tried any of the black and white films but am looking forward to trying the FP-3000B when I can get hold of some.
    Best Wishes
  23. Have used the 600 series Polaroid pack film in my Universal. Also, if you do decide on the Universal to shoot Polaroid. And, the shots will be with a tripod. Then, get the Model P focusing hood. It shows the full format of the film on the groundglass.
  24. Jack, could you advise me what back I would need to use polaroid 600 type film. Are there a few options, I think there is one called 545 for 4x5 film, are there different ones for the other types of polaroid. By the sounds of it the universal will be perfect for me, I think that will be the one I go for, now it's just a case of finding somewhere I will be able to buy one from in the UK. Does anyone know of any shops who specialise in this kind of thing, I would be prepared to import but I think that will be an expensive option.
  25. It did download. Also, look at page 27.
  26. Thanks Jack, I had a look, not sure if i'm being thick here but it seams to be demoing the use of type 100 film rather than type 600. Are u sure you used the consumer grade 600 film and not something like the 669. Sorry if I'm missing something here, I really appreciate the time and effort your putting in to helping me. I want to be really sure I'm getting the right thing here as this is quite a big investment for me. Thanks
  27. Jamie
    There are lots of options and I think you are getting confused between them.
    Polaroid 600se is a pro camera using peel apart film.
    Polaroid 600 series cameras are domestic products using all in one film.
    Polaroid 600series series film can be used either to mean film for a domestic camera or one of the films in Polaroids 600 range given numbers like 669,696,689 etc.
    The film you need is peel apart pack film. This film is pulled out of the camera and then has to be left for a set time and then peeled apart to reveal the image or else opened early to do a dye transfer. Another fun thing you can do is peel it apart when the image is ready and then soak the print in hot water and the emulsion will when then lift off the paper a bit like a transfer for a plastic model kit.
    When Jack says 600 series he means 669 and all the other films Polaroid made that were given codes of 6XX where XX is 69 or 89 or 96 etc. This is not the all in one film sold for amateur Polaroid 600 series cameras.
    The all in one film and a domestic polaroid is the one you need if you want to try manipulating the image. Tis was very popular with the old sx-70 cameras and film where the image was taken and then the surface of the print is pushed and distorted to modify the image.
    This effect was used on a Peter Gabriel album cover. Nowdays it is easier and safer to use software (IF you pucture the top layer of the print when manipulating it the chemicals released are toxic.
    Further to my earlier email the Universal will do what you want with the 127mm and 75mm lesnes but the other lenses do not have the coverage for the full Polaroid pack.
    I know the 600Se does what you need because I have one and use it for film with a 6x9 back and polaroids for image transfers.
    Another post mentions Fuji 4x5 film in a pack, yes this does exist but I have never seen an adaptor to use it on a 600SE or a universal, there used to be a person on Ebay engneering adaptors for Polaroid single sheet 4x5 film but that is now out of production.
    This site is a firm that was reported to have taken up all of Polaroids old stock. The show all the stuff you need to get a good 600se kit.
  28. Simon thank you very much for you answer. I feel confident that I will be able to achieve what I want with either camera, but will probably go for the universal as it has more lens options for MF and so should be a bit more versatile in the long run. Thanks for the link as well, this looks like it will be useful.
    Does anyone know much about Fuji, are they still manufacturing the FP-100-c film. As far as I can tell they are but I don't know for sure.
    On another note, has anyone heard much about project impossible, are the films they are likely to make going to work in Universal or will it only be the consumer stuff.
    Thanks for all the help everyone, I'm really greatfull.
  29. Dear James,
    As I said in my earlier e-mail, you can still get Fuji FP 100C - 100 ISO colour film. You can also get FP 100B - 100 ISO black and white and FP 3000B - 3200 ISO black and white.
  30. Thanks Ian, I wasn't completely sure from your e-mail weather these films were still in manufacture or not. I will go for a universal. Thanks to everyone for all their help. I have already started to make enquireys about purchasing one of these cameras, hopefully it won't take too long. I'll be sure to post on here when I get some shots out of one. Cheers for all the help everyone.

Share This Page