Shooting 4x5 with Mamiya Universal/Polaroid 600SE

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by mark jk, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Hello everyone,

    What I need to purchase to shoot 4x5 with Mamiya Universal/Polaroid 600SE? Do
    the lenses give a good coverage of 4x5? And what is your general experience
    using the Universal/600SE as a hand held 4x5 rangefinder?

    Manythanks Mark
  2. Mark, what makes you think it can be used as a 4x5 camera? I don't think the back will allow for it, and surely the lenses were never designed to cover an area larger than medium format.
  3. I do know people shoot 4x5 with Universal/600SE. I dont know if you have had experience with them or not but many lenses cover polaroid format (which is only smaller than 4x5 abit), and indeed some of them nearly cover 4x5. I have not had personal experience but I know its possible, just want to ask folks on here to confirm.
  4. I don't know about 4x5, but the 127 lens covers Polaroid. The Universal back opening is only 3 3/4 x 3 3/4".
  5. From Wikipedia:

    "This camera uses all Polaroid 3-1/4 x 4-1/4 instant pack films, including: 669 and 690 film (color prints); 664 and 667 film (B&W prints). (Note: Polaroid 665 film has been discontinued.) With the appropriate adapters and backs it can also shoot 4 x 5 Polaroid Instant film as well as 120 format film."

    Polaroid comes in different sizes, so "Polaroid format" is actually meaningless.

    True, the 127mm lens might cover the 600 numbered Polaroid films, and might even cover 4x5, but the camera won't handle it, except to expose a smaller portion of the 4x5 film than a 4x5 camera would.

    So, technically, while you could shoot with these films, it wouldn't be the same as "shooting 4x5" with a 4x5 camera; there's a lot of film unexposed.
  6. If you want to shoot 4x5 with a hand held rangefinder camera - why not a Crown or Speed Graphic? Cost less, more lens choices, roll film back options and is about the same in size and weight.
  7. Since it can't show the full 4x5 format. I would just use the 3 3/4x 3 3/4 size it was made for. That's what I do with my Universal.
  8. Dear Mark

    There are three 4X5 film holders for the 600SE. These film holders connect to the back of the camera just like the pack film
    holder. One is a 545i Polaroid 4X5 film holder. You can use Polaroid 4X5, Kodak Ready Loads and Fuji Quick Loads. The
    other type is a spring back design which will accept the 545i film holder and all the Lisco etc. 4X5 sheet film holders so you
    can use any film made in 4X5 size. The image size is just short of the full 4X5 image area on sheet film, but it is bigger than
    the pack film image area.

    One day, I will make the standard spring back and a special combination of 4X5 spring back film holder and an extension
    back for the camera. Then, you can get 99% to the full 4X5 image area, but will need a ground glass to focus. You will be
    able to fit these to a Universal or 600SE. I will also make an extension back set for the camera so you can do great close up

    The first type of film holder that has a frame attached to the 545i Film Holder has been made by several companies over the
    years. Some did not perform well. In the 80s and early 90s, a big bunch of them went to England. These were not very well
    made and did not have the film plane in the exact place required. They were not very popular and most of the holders were
    sent here and sold.

    I still have a few 545i holders for the Mamiya Press, (Made properly, film plane in the right place), but none for the 600SE.

    The Polaroid 550 film holder for the 4X5 pack film was also converted to fit the 600SE. You could use the Fuji 4X5 pack film
    with this holder.

    4X5 is fun to play with. The huge image area is neat. Remember that the 600SE lenses have far more resolving power than
    the standard 4X5 lenses with their much larger image areas. If you print your images 4 feet by 6 feet or smaller, you will be
    amazed at the detail etc. from the higher resolving power of the lenses.

    Hope this helps.

    Tony Sansone
  9. Hi Tony again,

    I have measure the opening at the back of the Mamiya Universal/Polaroid 600SE and confirm it to be around 3 3/4 square, so I guess thats really the maximum image area we can get?

    I'm very curious about the spring back design, could you please show me a few photos of it? I have been watching ebay for a while but still have not found anything. I surely will be on the queue when you start producing them.

    Many thanks Mark
  10. I'm interested in purchasing one 545i holder for the Press to if you're interested in selling. Please let me know. Mark
  11. One more question! with the back extension to cover 4x5 format, do you think its possible to add some rear tilt and swing like the Super23? That would be a very useful feature.
  12. Um, Mark, if you'll read the Super 23 instruction book, you'll find that it can use rear movements only with the collapsible normal lens fully collapsed. The other lenses won't focus. If you want to shoot 4x5, get a proper 4x5 camera.
  13. These holders will only fit the Mamiya Universal. The Super 23 has a fixed "M" (or sometimes "G") back and will only accept roll film
    or 2x3 holders. Hence the "23" name. I have a 545i back for the Universal which I bought from Tony Sansone. It is excellent. There
    are some examples of the results using T-55 P/N film here: I have not tried it with 4x5
    quick- or Readyloads, but packfilm like 665 is not bad either: And don't forget that your
    Universal can be used to make some amazing image transfers:

    - Børre Ludvigsen
  14. uhm....
    seems like being a new Mamiya Universal user and willing to use the Polaroid 4x5 back is not an easy task.

    need your help to make a few things clear (will you please allow just one off-topic question??):

    - 545, 545i and 545pro should work fine without any modification? am i right? can i fit any of the 3 on my Universal?

    - what is the "spring back design"?

    - (off topic) Polaroid Land Film Holder Model 3: this should be for the normal polaroids (66x polaroids) and it should fit without any M or G adapter. am i correct?

    thanks for your help.

    best regards,
  15. I'll make two points - one knocking the 4x5-on-Universal/600SE naysayers, and one supporting them!

    > The Universal back opening is only 3 3/4 x 3 3/4".

    Jack, this is true, but remember that the film plane is about 2cm further behind this; the lens projects a cone
    of light backwards and the cone continues to widen as it passes the 3 3/4 x 3 3/4" perimeter. This is how the
    Universal/600SE can in fact illuminate more of 4x5 than one would expect from simply looking at the hole in the
    back of the body. The effect is greatest with a wide-angle lens, since the cone begins closer to the film plane
    and passes the 3 3/4 x 3 3/4" perimeter at a more acute angle. Basically this means that the 75mm lens is the
    best one to use on 4x5, since it a wide-angle and since it has more inherent coverage than the 50mm.

    But if I may make a general point - I regularly fall for the delights of adapting stuff and doing more with a
    system than one originally thought. The "wow, so I can also shoot 4x5s with my Universal/600SE?!" realisation is
    the type of exciting, seductive idea I'm referring to. But before getting carried away, I try to look at all the
    aspects rationally. First of all, it means sourcing a rare and presumably expensive back - even if Tony Sansone
    has a good supply, they won't be as cheap as the abundant used 4x5 Polaroid and sheetfilm backs for regular 4x5
    cameras. Secondly, how many of the Mamiya lenses will make the most of the extra film area? Probably only two -
    the 75mm and 127mm. Compare that to the zillions of different 4x5 lenses out there. Thirdly, the format is still
    a bit cropped compared to a real 4x5 camera. Fourthly, no lens movements are possible, unlike a real 4x5 camera.

    Sometimes you can't really kill two birds with one stone; you can only kill one and slightly injure the other!
    Then you realise that you really need two stones to kill two birds. (I'll stop torturing this metaphor now).

    So, I decided to keep happily shooting rollfilm and quarter-plate Polaroids with my Universal...and add an
    outrageously cheap used Toyo 45G for 4x5-type stuff (including using some of my Mamiya Press rollfilm backs via a
    Toyo Quick-roll slider).

    If handheld rangefinder 4x5 work is your thing, I'd second the recommendation of a Speed/Crown Graphic (haven't
    used one, but I researched them extensively). There are also old Polaroid 110 folders with rangefinders which
    have been converted to modern 4x5 backs - see Razzledog etc. Just don't get caught up in the mud-slinging over
    patents for these conversions!
  16. Emil - some help for you:

    > - 545, 545i and 545pro should work fine without any modification? am i right? can i fit any of the 3 on my Universal?

    No, these all require the sort of modifications/special adapters that Tony Sansone referred to.

    > - what is the "spring back design"?

    The ground-glass backs of most 4x5 cameras are sprung so that a film back can be slipped under them, without taking them off. This is a convenience feature.

    > - (off topic) Polaroid Land Film Holder Model 3: this should be for the normal polaroids (66x polaroids) and it should fit without any M or G adapter. am i correct?

    Yes, this is exactly correct.

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