In order to use the New55 products as they gradually become available, I picked up a Polaroid 545 holder on eBay for about $30. It came with the original manual, which I decided to scan and post here for reference.
The “Good” version is quite passable (5.8MB).
The “Better” version is quite a bit clearer but the file is much larger (24.6MB).
Polaroid 545 Manual (Better)
Polaroid 545 Manual (Good)
I got these all scanned and forgot to post them here…
These are the photos I developed with New55 R3. They turned out quite nicely.
The negatives came out disturbingly thin and yellowish. At first I thought they had not developed at all, but closer inspection revealed a good image. On the scanner one would never know that anything out of the ordinary had been used.
I think I would still rather use a multi-bath developer when time permits, but the monobath is tough to beat as far as convenience.
All my spare moments have been soaked up by the tripod project. It isn’t that the tripod has been a particularly involved build, but that I have had little free time recently.
However! The tripod is now complete!
I still want to put a third coat of polyurethane on the wooden parts and I may end up changing out the Baltic birch pieces in the leg locking mechanism for some aluminum. I’ll put a few hours on it and see what I think.
With one outing under my belt I can say that this tripod is much sturdier that my aluminum Manfrotto. I suppose it should be – this one probably weighs twice as much and is “bigger” in every respect. As I said before, I don’t expect to be carrying this one over great distances, but for shooting near my vehicle this will definitely be the go-to tripod.
I snapped those first pics while trying to shoot the cool old metal barn you can just see in the first one. We have had unusual rainstorms here over the last few weeks and I hoped that I would catch some great just-before-sunset lighting on the metal as well as the rain clouds overhead.
I timed it pretty well for these elements to align, and I swiftly set up tripod, camera and filter but Mother Nature decided to veto me… Just as I was coming up with my exposure settings, a bank of dense clouds rolled in front of the sun – my beautiful low-angle light vanished. I snapped two exposures anyway, grasping at the fading traces of sunshine that slipped through the clouds.
I bought a jug of New55’s R3 Monobath developer and I am using that stuff for the time being. It is nearly idiot-proof and seems to provide “useable” results. I’ll get back to Caffenol C when I have gotten the bugs worked out of my new photographic system.
At any rate, I’ll get my current crop of negatives on the scanner and see how everything is shaping up. I’m getting close to realizing my vision of a (nearly) self-made photography process.
I haven’t had much time to spend on the tripod, but I did get it put together well enough for our daughter to use for her class presentation:
Here is what it looks like by itself:
I still need to install the locking mechanism that will hold the legs in position at the desired angle. That’s what the “inner” portion of the top is for – the currently empty holes under the top plate.
I just need another day’s work on it and it will be done.
It is big and bulky but very solid and stable. The “spike” feet really dig into soft ground positively. The whole assembly seems to be far less prone to vibration than my manfrotto. It is definitely less portable but more solid. I think I’ll be using it when I’m not hiking very far.