Polaroid 405 Instant Film Back

12th August 2015 – Another old post I didn’t get round to publishing. This one is from September 2013!! (I’m not a very good blogger)

I recently acquired a Polaroid 405 back that will let me expose Type 100 Polaroid film (e.g. Fuji FP-100C and FP-3000B) with my Speed Graphic 4×5 camera and lenses. It produces 4.25″ x 3.25″ prints after just a few minutes.

I’ve been keen to get to grips with Fuji instant film and try to get consistent results with it. The best way I could see of doing this is use a non-automatic camera. The Automatic Land Cameras are brilliant and I will continue to use them, but having full control of the exposure and being able to add in large format movements, compose on the ground glass, etc was really appealing.

The first step was to test it to make sure it was light tight and ensure the mechanics were sound, especially the rollers. The rollers looked clean and undamaged so I was optimistic. I asked Abi to sit for me at our south facing front door; the warm evening sunshine was reflecting off the fields providing a nice soft light.

I set up the Speed Graphic on a tripod, mounted with the Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm f/5.6. My first mistake when I took an incident meter reading from Abi’s position; for some reason I convinced myself that the lens was f/4. 5 when wide open.

My second mistake was forgetting to close the lens after focussing and loading the Polaroid 405 holder! As I started pulling the dark slide I quickly realised my mistake and pushed it back in; I exposed the top portion of the frame for a second or so. I went ahead and finished the exposure so that I could get an idea of how it will look. Here’s the result below:

It was a bit underexposed too, that will be partly due to the fact that the aperture was set to f/5.6 and I metered for f/4.5. Also, I’m not convinced that FP-100c looks its best when rated at ISO 100.

I attempted my second picture. Metered at 1/100s but exposed for 1/30s. After compensating for my aperture mistake I was rating the film at ISO 50 and here is the result, a much better exposure I think (please excuse the ridiculously dusty scan, I really need to re-scan the print sometime):

I’ve got lots learned and it should be much easier compared to learning with automatic Land Cameras.

Does anyone else rate FP-100C at ISO 50?

3 Responses

  1. Steve Battaglia

    Any experience exposing FP3000B?? I recently purchased two packs and will be running it through my RB67 with a Polaroid back… FP3000B is rated at ISO3000 so id imagine I’ll start there for at least the first couple of exposures…Using it for night cityscapes…

    • James

      Sorry for the late reply Steve, I’ve only just spotted your message! I’ve not got a huge amount of experience with FP-3000B, I’ve only used two packs of it, although I believe I have another 1-2 packs in the fridge that I really should use sometime before it dries up completely! Looking back to some scans from 2014 where I’ve noted down my exposure information for a portrait I did of my daughter I rated the film at ISO3200. Hope you get (got) on well with your photography with this lovely pack film!


    Thanks for getting back to me.. the 2 packs I purchased were bad so I’ll have to start over.. too old, and I think the developer was leaking out during the rolling process.. I’ll try your expose recommendation and get back to you once I have new (old) film..!! Cheers!

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