I'll be teaching a workshop on New55 in mid-December:
Polaroid Type 55 was a unique large format instant film that made both a sharp black and white print and a fine-grained negative. It was a favorite of many photographers including Ansel Adams, and was discontinued in 2008 along with all of Polaroid's other instant films.
New55 was a wildly successful Kickstarter project to recreate Polaroid Type 55. While New55 is very different, it can yield beautiful results once you understand its quirks.
The workshop will include:
A quick history, including examples of work shot on both Type 55 and New55
Materials and chemistry needed to shoot New55
How to use and clean a large format Polaroid back
Loading, exposing and processing
Fixing and washing
Special effects: Solarizing negatives
Next steps: Scanning, enlarging, printing
Participants will have the opportunity to shoot 2 sheets of New55 film. Please bring your 4x5 setup if it's portable, and a Polaroid back (545, 545i or 545 Pro) if you have one. Participants should be familiar with using a large format camera.
My solo show Parade of Spirits: Portraits is opening 2 December 2016 at Gravy Studio, 910 N 2nd St. in Philadelphia.
The parade this year is from 4 to 6 PM on 17 December at Liberty Lands Park. The gallery will be open from 6 to 8 PM, so join the parade then come see my show. If you go, please consider bringing a donation of new, unworn socks in any size. Urglaawe, a local heathen group, is collecting them for distribution to homeless shelters throughout the area.
History. Fed made rangefinders from the 1930s through the 1990s. The original Fed is a straight copy of the Leica II. There were several subsequent models, and within each there were submodels with incremental improvements. (Occasionally cameras will be referred to by submodel such as Fed 2b. This lettering system comes from Princelle's Authentic Guide to Russian and Soviet Cameras.) The Fed 5 was the end of the line. Soviet cameras such as Feds and Zorkis are very inexpensive compared to Leicas of the same era and they’re a cheap way into the rangefinder world.
I bought a Fed 5 on eBay because the price was good and it was shipping from the US. I can't remember why I thought this was a good idea.
History. Zeiss, now known for lenses, made cameras until the 1970s. Their medium format folding cameras were mostly sold under the name Ikonta starting before World War II. There were many different formats and lens options over the years. Certo6, who restores folding cameras, has an excellent introduction to the different models.
The Super Ikonta III and IV were the last models produced, from the mid-50s until around 1960. The IV is a III with a built-in light meter.
I found an Agfa Isolette at a local vintage store which I restored and used. I like the size and the quality of the pictures. I didn't like the "guess the distance" zone focusing. I sold the Isolette and bought a restored Super Ikonta III. I've been using it for five years, and like it so much I bought a second two years ago.
I'll talk about my particular camera - with a a 3-element Novar lens, and Synchro-Compur shutter - in this review. Because there were many variations over the years individual models may have different features or specs.