Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: New55 FILM

"This negative is truly amazing"

"After just a little practice I got great results"

"The tutorial was good. I hope you include scanning and outdoor photography".

These are some of the positive reviews we have received from new users of New55 FILM.   I get a near perfect success rate (not remembering to open the focal plane shutter was my mistake), and the develop and fix sequence is easy to do, and fast.

A nice comment on a forum

It's amazing the project has come this far and is now delivering. While the product may not perfect, it is real - The real hope is that New55 will have an ongoing future in the midst of a shrinking (or limited) fan base of film users. If New55 receives continued support, it will hopefully survive - and improve.

I'm impressed the project has come this far, considering the difficulties, and hope it will advance much further. 
Thanks to those who are working hard to make it possible.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

New55 FILM New55 PN Instant film reviews

For some excellent recent examples of New55 PN, check out the blog here and also Flickr and Facebook.

http://new55project.blogspot.com


https://www.flickr.com/photos/59980022@N05/


Users are reporting very good spreads with few if any gaps. The positive prints are good and the negatives are highly detailed and scan very well.

An important point is the separation of the negative and positive using these directions, the same as have been used since the start of the project in 2010.

Users can expect fine, super detailed negatives with very little grain and long tonal scales such as this one. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Some recent New55 PN Photographs New55 FILM


New55 PN Instant 4x5 Film is available in small quantities here. Every purchase of New55 helps support the goal of creating the industrial capacity so that photographic film manufacture can be sustained. The purchase price pays for supplies, machinery, tools and development costs. Thank You!

New55 PN film. Scan of the negative.
click twice to see details
Copyright 2015 Robert J. Crowley
All Rights Reserved

New55 FILM. Scan of the Negative.
click twice to see up close
Copyright 2015 Charles Fendrock
All Rights Reserved



New55 FILM. Scan of the negative
Hand held 4x5
Copyright 2015 Robert J Crowley
All Rights Reserved









Wink!  New55 FILM. Scan of negative
Click this twice and zoom in
Copyright 2015 Robert J Crowley
All Rights Reserved
Dialing.  New55 FILM. Scan of the negative.
Copyright 2015 Robert J Crowley
All Rights Reserved



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Kickstarter Text from 2014

Quite a number of new people have arrived and we are glad you are here!  The New55 Project is chronicled here in this blog from the beginning of the project, so please do go back and read it to get an understanding of how it evolved.

Missing from the blog is the actual Kickstarter text. Kickstarter is discussed several times during the course of the blog, mostly about whether or not to attempt a Kickstarter effort. Many people insisted on it, and I mostly resisted until later.

So here is the text and after reading it over for the first time in some months I get the feeling that we were looking into the future more accurately than we could have imagined, at least with respect to the risks and other things that could go wrong that we told supporters and would be supporters about. Many of them didn't seem to worry and instead urged us on,  and I suppose knowing up front what the risks were we were able to confront them together in mostly good spirits. Now that we are over halfway through fulfillment the mood is changing again!

Here it is for your reading pleasure, uncluttered and in words-only just as you read them. The somewhat odd order of subjects is due to the template Kickstarter provided - sort of a fill-in-the-blanks approach, so keep that in mind.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Introduction

As a contributor to this Kickstarter project at the higher reward levels, you will receive boxes of first-run manufactured New55 FILM "First Edition" (5 sheets per box).

Shipment will likely be no earlier than 8 months after a successful funding. Shipping is included for United States backers. Backers outside the United States are charged an additional fee to cover shipping costs (see Reward details at right) and will be responsible for VAT in countries where it is applied and collected.

This is not a pre-sales initiative. New55 FILM's Kickstarter campaign is a collaboration of artists coming together from all parts of the Earth to fund the manufacturing capacity of an important creative material. The fulfillment of boxes of that material at the end of the project can be thought of as icing on the cake.

If this project doesn't reach it's financial goal, then New55 FILM will not go forward as a manufactured product.

As a New55 FILM backer you will be making history. But you will also be constructing the future of Post-Digital professional darkroomless analog photography. Here, we -- a group of artists (from every continent) -- will take up the means of production. Where large-scale industrial capacity has failed to adapt to the major technological and behavioral shifts from the rise of digital photography, a small-scale factory that is modular, scalable, and humane in its flexibility will begin manufacturing an important and necessary photographic material -- New55 FILM. We now have the opportunity and the responsibility to make it happen.

Although New55 FILM is based on a similar single-shot architecture as old Polaroid type 55, New55 FILM will trade upon its own unique tonal characteristics.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

To make a long story short, it was a lot of hard work and also a lot of fun. (This is Bob speaking ...)

“The initial motivation wasn't anything glamorous: I just noticed that The Impossible Project said they were not going to work on 4x5, and so I said, on Twitter, that I would look into it.

"The gamut of my inventions runs though all things that detect something such as heat, radio and light waves, or sound. In this case, lightwaves through a lens appealed to my inventor's instinct, along with the knowledge that a new era was opening up in materials science and nanotechnology -- which is plainly evident in the diffusion transfer reversal (“DTR”) process that Andre Rott and Edith Weyde invented for Agfa just after World War II."

"Like any project, New55 FILM started with researching patents and papers, buying the important books that exist in any field, and contacting people with knowledge who are willing to talk. After establishing a basic understanding of the technology, I set out to locate the pieces: industrial resources, vendors and others who could supply the materials - often materials that nobody has made for a long time - in some cases things that nobody makes anymore. That job isn't done and there are more places to explore after a successful funding effort.”

All of this transpired out in the open on the New55 FILM blog where, from 2010 to today, you can read about the research, experiments, epiphanies, dead ends and insights that bring us to this Kickstarter project.


USE OF PROCEEDS

We will use the proceeds of this Kickstarter project to fund the final component specification work, the acquisition of assembly machinery, pay for hired engineering, general and assembly help, cover material costs and the purchase of the parts inventory for the "First Edition" manufacturing run of New55 FILM instant peel-apart 4x5 film.

We estimate that the machinery sourcing, development and qualifications alone could account for about $250,000, and the parts inventory connected with the 25,000 assembled sheets of New55 FILM (that's 5,000 boxes) will cost a minimum of $75,000. The remaining $75,000 is needed for overhead and general expenses.

MANUFACTURING PLAN

We've already contacted several potential suppliers to get quotes on parts and line up specification and delivery steps, but there is more to do.

The 4x5 sheet film component -- the negative -- could come from any one of five potential suppliers including Kodak, Ilford, Foma, Adox or Shanghai. We still need to determine through more testing which negative works the best with the receiver sheet and developer that is finally chosen. The plan is to use a cubic grained emulsion, since this is known to have rapid processing capability and fast transfer to the positive.

The receiver sheet -- the positive print -- requires significant research and development. Most of the New55 FILM examples you have seen used 20x24 Studios' coaterless receiver sheet. We hope to work with 20x24 Studios to create a reliable supply of receiver for this project and the future, if possible, as coaterless sheets are also compatible with the 20x24 camera. But, that type of sheet is very complex and has at least 8 layers to it. A coater-type receiver sheet, more in keeping with "Old T55" is also a possibility and may be a necessity if we are not able to make the coaterless type. Coater type sheets are somewhat less complex to make, but still have 6 layers. The coating is only one of several important requirements for the receiver: It must have just the right stiffness, thickness and be free of curl. It also has to be light proof, and not swell and shrink during processing. Quite a set of requirements for what looks like just a piece of paper.

An "edge taper" is a machine that we will investigate to assemble the top and bottom of the sleeve together into a peelable assembly. It is assumed that some kind of inking or printing needs to go on this piece so that users will know which is the "lens side". This machine will have to be designed from the ground up, then built on the premises. It is a significant amount of work and expense.

Each envelope also needs a "stop" which is a thick paper bar bonded to the outside. The purpose of the stop is to prevent the user from pulling the sleeve out too far during exposure. A cutting tool and assembly fixture, and adhesive applicator are required. At this moment, we think that a thermal adhesive and thermal press can apply this strip, using a guide tool, and also perform some of the final thermal bonding on the end of the envelope to allow easier peeling. Two machines/fixtures are needed, at least.

The metal clips that slide into the 545 holder are important and have to be made carefully. The old T55 clip was made with soft steel that had been painted. Painting adds a lot of cost to a sheet metal part and we think it will be easier and better to use a stainless steel clip of a lighter and stronger gauge. Either way we will be buying a tool for use in four-slide machines, and have that part supplied to us by one or more vendors. Our hope is that we do this once, and not have to modify the tooling. If we have a problem, we will possibly have to make new tooling and do other things.

Once we have clips, they must be securely attached to the tongue - a part that holds both the negative, and the chemical pod. The tool used for crimping and thermal adhesive steps has to be designed, built, and tested, and then we have to make sure it can be assembled repeatably and reliably.

The "pod" is a critical component. It has to be sealed and yet also has to burst in just the right directions with just the right amount of pressure. As of this writing, 20x24 is offering to produce these for us at a per-unit cost. Not only is the assembly of the pod critical, what goes in it is also crucial, as it contains developer, fixer, solvent, thickener and toners, along with pH boosting ingredients needed for rapid diffusion transfer reversal to take place. 20x24's formula for their black and white film is the starting point, and may have to be reformulated depending on the final negative stock and the characteristics of the receiver sheet. Production of the chemical pod is a major undertaking and will happen in parallel with development of the other components.

The entire process of development and manufacturing New55 FILM, and shipping the completed boxes of film to Kickstarter contributors is risky, and estimated to take eight months from the initial funding, but it could be delayed for a variety of reasons as there are long wait times for certain processes and materials to be made, cut, formed, coated etc.

MANAGEMENT
Bob Crowley, Founder (CV)
Sam Hiser, project CEO (CV)


Risks and challenges

The principal challenges for getting New55 FILM to contributors on time include component uncertainties and the usual management risks facing complex manufacturing projects. At worst, the project could deliver late or quality could be well below expectations, or the project could fail to deliver at all.



Mitigating these risks is Bob Crowley's long experience as a materials research scientist and inventor. Bob has a track record of success in commercializing intricate new products in the medical devices, sound reinforcement and wireless communications fields. This is a source of confidence in the team's capability to achieve its goals. The unusual innovations achieved in New55 FILM's product development phase are a strong indicator of the project's chance of success, but various things could go wrong, especially where new materials are involved. It is possible we could engage in a months-long course with a paper coating vendor, for example, and still end up with an unusable part requiring us to start again.

Sam Hiser's decades of management experience in finance, software and start-ups will be applied to the smooth conduct of our business affairs. This is crucial for a Kickstarter project of this magnitude.

New55 FILM has had the benefit of advice all throughout its product development from wise heads in the instant film industry and we particularly appreciate the valuable ongoing support we receive from the folks at The Impossible Project, 20x24 Studio, Soundwave Research Lab and from a growing group of accomplished photographers who -- like us -- are really eager to have a fine, professional, darkroomless, analog 4x5 film in steady supply. As practitioners of the art, they know that instant film is a complex product with many stringent requirements.


RISK SUMMARY


Technical problems might prevent the timely production of the receiver sheet.

The project may be under-funded and require additional capital to proceed.

Important supplier agreements for film stock could be delayed.

The supply of pods and reagent may be interrupted requiring a start-from-scratch effort.

The performance of the product could be lower than we expect.

Access to facilities and tools could be interrupted.



This Kickstarter project is not a pre-order initiative. It is an attempt to fund the manufacturing capacity and product design effort for a new photographic film.


Questions

Assuming this campaign is successful, will the cost per sheet reduce once you are set up to sell independently?

The money pledged from Backers in this Kickstarter campaign is going primarily to manufacturing capacity. This Kickstarter campaign is not a pre-sales initiative.

There will be no future price and no manufactured film unless the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $400,00 goal.

(New55 FILM will not likely survive in the regular market at per sheet prices in excess of what old boxes of Old Polaroid Type 55 film trades for today on an auction website.)



Will New55 FILM work in the exact same way as Type 55, i.e. shoot, wait, peel, yielding developed print and developed neg that needs fixing?


Yes, handling is quite similar to old Polaroid Type 55.

The holder is the same (Polaroid 545 Land Film Holder).

During the late prototype phase, development time was 2 minutes. It may differ in the final product.

We are not sure if the print will require the acetic acid coater or not. That will only be determined later in the selection of the receiver sheet material; but the negative does require fixing right after development.

We used Ilford Rapid Fixer with highly satisfactory results. The old sodium sulfite bath is optional.





Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"It's easy" Fun with New55 PN (and a tip from Bob)

New55 FILM scan of negative
C 2015 Robert J Crowley
Today I decided to have some fun and shoot a box of New55 PN   http://shop.new55.net/ that I bought online.It is not unusual for a company to test its fulfillment system by buying some of its own product. I even paid full price.

Using the trusty Speed Graphic I shot this of some "sawbones" which are anatomical models made of foam that look realistic, along with Charles Fendrock's glasses and a cheap Halloween wig from Rite-Aid.

We like to say "A superb negative and a positive print too" and I do consider this negative superb. It's sharp, and good, and scanned in easily.

I see some results online that are not as good: Fogged, mottled, solarized - generally "Foggled". Not this one. Why? Because I followed the instructions which are:



1. Process for the time on the box
2. Immediately at peeling immerse the negative in fixer
3. Use only Ilford Rapid fixer 50/50 with water.

Peel the positive with the negative on the tongue face down and put the peeled negative and the tongue right into the fixer. That's right, just drop the whole tongue with negative face down.


This works like a charm and makes it easier (in my humble opinion) to remove the goo and any tape. Toss out any paper now wet with fixer. After a couple of minutes of fixing, wash the negative in clear water for five minutes and dry.

Don't use "some other fixer" or sodium sulfite, or water and don't let the negative dry. Don't peel it and wave it around because just like old T55, it will solarize in sufficient light.

That's all there is to it. It's easy!  Click on the image to see it up close.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Rubicon

You are probably as tired as we are to hear about all the coating problems we have had with the receiver sheet. To recap, the receiver sheet is an essential component of New55 PN, as it produces the positive print.

New55 went through a huge R&D effort to formulate a safer formula for the coatings that works well and eliminates the need for solvent coating, which is bad for the environment. Scaling the process up has been difficult. We spent over a quarter of the Kickstarter funds at various vendors with little result, and today coating receiver sheets, by hand, takes us half our total week.

That means we could double the amount of New55 built if we did not have to hand coat them. It was never our plan to become coaters of anything. It was always assumed that there are coating companies capable of coating the materials, but we now have run out of time and money to keep trying to do something that doesn't look like it is going to ever work.

So out of desperation, we decided to try another way. The new way is to outfit our little production floor with a special coater made specifically for New55. This is also not without risk and entails spending more money than we currently have. We never planned this. We never planned to take it so far.

I added additional funding to New55, both before and after the kickstarter effort. Sam and the team have kept at it, steadily, laboriously. Despite all the difficulties, floods, supplier errors and setbacks, we have achieved 50% fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards. Repeat: We have achieved 50% fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards!  Photos from supporters look good with some superb shots being made. But we are stuck in an endless loop of hand-to-mouth production where every day hand coating is done, and that is very, very slow. We can't keep doing that, because we'll be out of business if we do. Something has to change.

The Thing

In the back, away from everything, I started on building a new machine. It isn't pretty, and in fact it is big and ugly and I call it The Thing. The Thing uses a long, curved ramp to bias the paper to help keep it taught on the surface, and it has drive and return wheels that allow the coated paper to pass through a long channel of heated blowing air to dry it just fast enough so it emerges dry at the end. A special newly invented vacuum slip system was added just yesterday to maintain a firm hold down. Everything on the Thing is made of wood, screws and tape.

Yesterday Charles and I did a dry run of a stuck-together plywood and tape coater Thing.  Charles, a real engineer, made many suggestions and pointed out some real risks that the Thing might not do what we need, but he spurred things forward. The entire team stood with apprehension as we flipped the switch. Would it work? It had to. And as that switch was flipped, a long roll of our special paper started to move. Slowly it traveled along a track to see if it would stay in position as it was wet with coating materials, rather than curl into a mess. The result: It worked. Paper stayed flat, driers dried, and still the paper moved forward, a few cm at a time. We then knew it could be done!

Now we are working at a hurried pace to make this new machine practical for manufacturing this necessary part of instant film. As we do, we suddenly realize that we have crossed over the 50 percent mark in our thinking too. We are a real photographic materials company now, still shaky in its legs and depending on support through early sales to the most devoted, but it is now all very real. New55 is real. Every day the pace quickens and the team of six dedicated people work better and harder as we all learn how.  We have passed the rubicon.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31 News from New55 and update to Kickstarter backers

Dear Kickstarter backers and others,

We have some news and want to share with you this outline of the status of the various parts of the project.   

The slow fulfillment of packs as rewards to Kickstarter supporters in general order of pledge has continued. The current amount is 25% fulfilled, which is significant. 

Sales of a small amount of film online have made possible a steady effort. It has been tedious and expensive, but there is no alternative way to fund steady operations, and it is giving the team some actual commercial experience that presumably would be needed for a continued product.

The project still has the same cash shortfall that has prevented the paying of some bills and delaying needed purchases of materials, and there are end of year bills such as liability insurance (huge dollars) that will have to be paid.

Direct sales have been small, though sales in smaller amounts will help tell us if there is a real marketplace. Little batches of New55 PN have been up on the shop and sold out several times. This shows that some people are willing to buy and use New55 PN at its present stage and price to support the project and for their own purposes. This might be a good sign.

Field reports show that reliability has improved dramatically and that users have become more comfortable with the peel and fix part of the process. As expected, there has been a lot of learning, some failures, and many exchanges online as we dust off and attempt to repair our old 545 holders. The problem of bad 545 holders remains so we are going to put an extra effort into insisting that users know how to take apart, clean and reassemble the holder.  We want to overcome these startup failures in the future by offering fully checked out 545 film holders, but for now it remains a problem.

Supporters have started sending us some very beautiful photographs made with New55 PN. These are still few, as it is early, and not organized in any one place yet but a sampling can be seen on facebook or instagram.  This is encouraging.

The team has been producing a series of how-to videos that should improve the overall success rates. 

The latest receiver sheet coating exercise did not entirely fail and a small amount of good receiver sheet was made - enough for perhaps another 1000 packs. But hand coating has and must continue. The steady supply of receiver sheet remains a very annoying, expensive and distracting problem and the time and cost of all of it has put the project at risk.

The hand coated receiver sheets are works of art and produce rich full tones and good blacks now. A sort of silver lining, if there is one.

The negative stock we have is problematic. One batch was fine, another one has a tendency to fog chemically that can produce reversal in mid tones. The lead times for new negatives, and the cost, has us concerned about smooth production schedules. We are currently scrambling for new negative stock that does not have the tendency toward chemical fog. This problem might be mitigated by a reformulation of the reagent but lead times for reagents have been very long, to date. Bottom line: We need film to make the product, and the three film manufacturers that today make suitable film for New55 PN all have various problems associated with delivering a working product at a time and price that makes sense.

A fix for the mottled effect we sometimes see has been found and will be implemented. The addition of rails that space the receiver sheet from the negative involves further development effort, and we may print raised rails using expanding ink such as used in certain business cards. If that does not work we will apply strips of 0.0015” thick tape preferably by machine but possibly by hand if necessary. Expensive and time consuming, but an important product improvement that we feel must be implemented.

20X24 Studio has supplied the first tranche of bespoke pods at a specific transfer price. This is a milestone. Scheduled runs are planned and we hope all that goes smoothly.

The assembly stations for New55 work perfectly. There are two in use and one more planned. These are the so-called dark chambers that allow lights-out assembly of film like it is in daylight.  Great.

The team is changing somewhat with one key person moving on to another job and being replaced by another skilled person also with photographic experience. Congratulations and thank-you on a successful stint and best of luck as we evolve. Occasional staff  changes are normal and expected.

The assembly team consists of three full time and two part time people. The industrial production rate is about 100-200 packs per day and increasing. This can increase even more if we can get the supply chain to move more smoothly, which is critical to keeping the assembly team busy and productive. Once again, the slow supply of materials has affected this and is slowing everything down.

Every day is frantically busy with full time, part time and also volunteer staff working many hours making the product, and some vendors starting to produce and ship better parts to a cost and a schedule.   Users have told us that watching the project evolve, and new people using the product for the first time is "serious fun". While there is still no guarantee that operations can continue as they are today, we can certainly say we have put in place the industrial capacity to make the New55 PN (and other, such as 1SHOT) film products. That is what we said we’d do. That’s good, but we need to be able to keep going.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.


Bob Crowley

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A New Instant Film for 4x5 Cameras



A new film is born. An instant peelapart 4x5 sheet film that makes a superb negative and a positive print too. The art of the real without a darkroom. Scan in high resolution. Contact print onto cloth, metal or photographically sensitized object of your choice. This is real photography - instantly. Now for the first time since 4x5 instant films were discontinued by companies that couldn't make them anymore, a small group of dedicated photographers decided to make their own. And you can buy it while supporting one of the most interesting and challenging R&D efforts in photography here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mind the Gap!

Mottled negatives are a sign of a tight gap.

Some negatives produced with New55 PN can be seen to have a mottled look. This mottling is usually caused by too tight a gap in the 545 holder. The reason for this tight gap can be stiffening caused by age, or old, dried reagent in any of the rollers, or in the journals the rollers roll in.  Too wide a gap and the positive image will be blurry. The balance is achievable and over time we will get this more under control.  In the meantime, and going forward the 545 holder needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
Mottling. The gap is tight.

I have found a few decades-old 545s with very tight rollers. Make sure your rollers are free.  If you suspect that you have a tight gap, you can compensate for it by running a layer of thin masking tape down each side of the sleeve.  In the foreground is a taped sleeve to illustrate the point. You can see that an added edge of black masking tape has been added. It can be any color, of course.  You might do this if you suspect a too-tight 545 until we find a way to compensate for the variation of these somewhat elderly 545 holders.


The top sleeve has edge tape to increase the gap

Thursday, August 13, 2015

We must sell products to survive and grow

As most of you know, the sale of just a few New55 PNs does help the project and is consistent with the kickstarter goal to create an ongoing enterprise that would sustain 4x5 instant photography. The whole idea of New55's kickstarter is to get a sustainable thing going, not just a one-time project. How do we better communicate this ongoing goal again to those who are just becoming aware of the project? Maybe the larger question is about how well we understand the economics of small-scale products and how they might survive in the midst of a mass market culture that knows little about where the products come from?

Recently, a few supporters and onlookers have talked online about the project and asked why, for instance, their reward hasn't shipped yet when others have and some sales have been made. Like building a house, the roof can't go on first, there has to be a foundation and walls to support it. The analogy is clear when you look at how things are made. It is the capacity of manufacture, the know-how, and the money flow that make any sustainable business, project or crowd-funded effort move forward. A one-time project, like a book for instance, is written, goes to press, ships, and then is done.

Film, especially instant film, is just not like that. It would be a waste to apply the effort to assemble a finite number of units and then not be able to continue. One of the most explicit goals of the project (seen on this blog since 2010) is to find where the economic center - if there is one - can balance a sales price with a real world cost to manufacture.

Ladies and gentlemen, that time has come. New55 FILM is officially, though not yet robustly, commercialized. A substantial goal of the kickstarter effort has been met. No icing on the cake though, at least not yet. We produced well for two weeks before the shocking news of the coating failure stopped everything, and now we are at a crawl. But there are other things happening, too.

We are seeing the first reactions to the initial high prices as expected. We are seeing some impatience, as expected. We experienced more than the expected share of problems, but these have become interesting in themselves, and though daunting and still extremely risky, that is not something new either. Many people have found our several disasters to be instructive and even entertaining. They are, and we've all learned much.

New55 is at a very critical stage of commercial infancy and could be discontinued if the motives and money cannot continue to be aligned. That requires continued product sales and the support of the community, which I personally thank the many for. I would not have gone into this if that was not the case, and as many of you know, kickstarter only supports about half of the cost to get going. The other half comes from substantial six figure cash amounts, huge chunks of unpaid volunteer time, and sales of stuff.

So buy the stuff, Use it. Show us what it can do. It has warts and the recent failure of the coatings (which cost over $100,000) really threatened to end the project. Yet, as of today, we coated again, by hand. We made some full boxes. We made new pods, we did a lot of things, just a lot more slowly. And speaking of things to buy, the unexpected success of the Monobath Developer phenomenon has shown a lot of people how big the demand is for easy black and white processing. Something quick and easy that takes the same amount of time as instant PN is appealing. We've been experimenting in the background and have an even better formula that might reduce some of the shortcomings and make it even easier to use.

Rewards, when available, are shipped in the order of the pledge.  There may be a few minor exceptions based on logistics and timing of available materials, and of course a supporter poll went out and some people elected to have their rewards changed, which may accelerate the shipment of some. If you haven't responded to that poll, and have a moment, it would be helpful if you would. But you don't have to - it's optional and was put up in response to supporter suggestions, and sent out to all kickstarter supporters. We get a lot of good suggestions and the poll was one.

About 11% of all film rewards have shipped, and the non film containing rewards will have shipped fairly soon. That is real progress.  In the meantime we are going to try - within constraints of very limited available cash - continue to do what we said we would do - establish the means to produce instant 4x5 film into the future.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On the Cusp






Here is the recent Kickstarter update dated June 9, 2015.


The key points:

Progress is being made and a few full assemblies will probably be ready this month.

The characteristics of New55 PN will require people to learn something new.

Old timers might want to look to new users for guidance.

There will likely be direct sales of New55 PN alongside award shipments.
_____________________________________________________


Dear supporters,


Today we have some news for you that has been long awaited and cause for optimism but not yet celebration. New55 FILM will very likely have the first units of New55 PN built, in the box, and in regular production within three weeks. The first pieces will be a start and will likely need adjustments that will happen as we go through the first tranche of some 20,000 units over the coming months. Those of you who have been patiently waiting and encouraging us all along will already know that the road is just beginning and that what we do -- together -- to make New55 FILM YOUR success will depend on how we proceed to use it, show what it can do, learn it, and tell others who will have to follow.


There will be new things to learn: The balance of reagent to receiver to negative that we sometimes call “the wicked triangle” is OK and certainly good enough for artistic purposes, but the look, handling and results that you will get are unknown. If you are an old hand at T55, you will have to do some things differently. Unlearning can be almost as hard as new learning, something those of you who have never shot any 4x5 will probably learn faster than the old timers.


In the past we have discussed the need to continue to finance the project. That has not changed and we find ourselves with very limited operating cash. The many suggestions from you to raise funds resulted in 1SHOT and R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER and it is very encouraging and telling to read the reaction to these two new products on the various boards. Something new is happening in film photography -- real photography -- and you caused it to happen. Now we are likely to take your suggestion to fold in sales of some of the early New55 PN assemblies with the Kickstarter rewards in order to raise some cash, an idea that was quite enthusiastically received by supporters and newcomers, too.

OK enough for now. We are fatigued but optimistic about this new and counterintuitive business we are forging with your help. As always, you are the first to know.


Bob & Sam

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New55 Releases New 4x5 Film Product

Just when you thought that all the film manufacturers were cutting back film production because of lower demand, along comes New55 and its "1SHOT" product aimed at the growing interest in large format film photography. The New55 Kickstarter project, which is directed toward producing a new instant film, released this non-instant product recently and found it could not keep up with demand. "We were surprised as anyone that 1SHOT was so enthusiastically received, given its "fundraiser edition" price" said Bob Crowley, founder of New55. The group recently announced the fundraiser to help the effort to make instant film that it started in 2010.

New55's 1SHOT film can be bought at http://shop.new55.net





 *** YELLOW DOT FUNDRAISER EDITION *** READY LOADED 4x5 SHEET FILM IS FINALLY HERE! YOU ASKED FOR IT! Many supporters who have followed the New55 INSTANT FILM project have ALSO asked for a ready loaded 4x5 film pack like we enjoyed so much in the heydays of “quick loads” and “ready loads”. The New55 Team needs to raise funds to continue their excellent progress. Now, more than ever, the field of large format photography depends on you. 1SHOT comes from The Skunkworks, and while not funded by New55 FILM’s Kickstarter program, it does make great use of our capability! Won’t you help us bridge the funding gap by buying and enjoying this surprise from The Skunkworks, all for the benefit of New55 FILM, and you? The clock is ticking. New55 FILM project supporters will have the first shot at 1SHOT. With every box of 1SHOT you buy, $25 is contributed to the development of New55 FILM. THANK YOU!!! 1SHOT YELLOW DOT EDITION WILL BE SOLD IN LIMITED QUANTITIES TO New55 FILM SUPPORTERS We will produce 1SHOT with New55 FILM’s selected Atomic-X, cubic grained standard weight 4x5 sheet film that we rate at ISO 100. You can develop 1SHOT any way you like: monobath, conventional tray, or even send it out to your favorite lab. 1SHOT is not an instant film! But it is fast, and convenient. SPECIFICATIONS: 1 box contains 5 single-sheet packs 4x5 negative only works in the Polaroid 545 series holders for monobath or regular darkroom development Film negative: New55 FILM's Atomic-X cubic-grained black and white emulsion on a 4x5 standard weight polyester base Recommended film speed: ISO 100 Use 1SHOT with any Polaroid 545 holder in any 4x5 camera, pinhole camera, home made camera, or studio view camera! This offering is a test of the demand by serious photographers for an easy way to make large-format photographs, without having to load film holders. Many people have asked. Now it is up to you. 1SHOT IS NOT INSTANT FILM, OF COURSE! SPECIAL YELLOW DOT FUNDRAISER EDITION - LIMITED QUANTITIES The famous yellow dot of the Aero Ektar, and other dots like Gold Dots, Red Dots, evoke a special quality. It's here for the generosity of supporters, and those who believe that large format photography - real photography - is worth our every effort. The yellow dot also helps us commemorate and keep track of the first series of film products ever made at the new New55 FILM factory. Like “ready loads” or “quick loads” that are no longer produced, each pack contains one, single high quality 4x5 black and white sheet film negative. The premium price reflects the fundraising power of 1SHOT! Order 1SHOT NOW!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Silver prices affect the price of all film products

Here is a historical chart of the price of silver that shows the more recent spike in prices, and then the collapse.  Although plastics and sensitizing dyes can be as costly as the silver used, all film is subject to price spikes when and if the price of silver spikes. As you can see, it did that. Like oil, the price of the final product is quick to rise, and very slow to fall.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tilting Xenotar - still available to support New55 funding


The 150mm f2.8 Schneider Xenotar is still available for sale. Without the mount, in this condition, the lens alone would cost you at least $2000. It really is perfect. The custom machined tilt mount that I made would set you back, if you could find someone to design and make it. This is the only one. Since we need money to continue New55, I will consider a strong offer for this lens and mount for the Pentax 67.  Imagine having such a lens on your 67! Also, with an adapter, you can mount it to your Nikon or Canon full frame camera, or to a Mamiya 645, and others.









Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1SHOT - Lower shipping prices outside the US

After a lot of looking around we found a way to configure shipping so that European and Asian customers can usually pay a more reasonable price for shipping from Massachusetts. Several potential customers for 1SHOT abandoned their carts when shipping prices of $50 or more came up. That was the right thing to do. The reward for waiting are more 1SHOT packages available in the Shop (we've sold out three groups) and a lower shipping price.

So buy 1SHOT here. $25 of the price goes to fund New55 PN FILM development.

Thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Interesting finding after the 1SHOT letter to supporters

Some of you will know that an email letter went out early this morning to supporters of the New55 Kickstarter effort, with a link to the New55 Shop where a limited quantity of 1SHOT ready loaded sheet film was offered for sale.  All of the 1SHOT boxes were sold in almost no time, and this is very encouraging. Another finding was the distribution of visits into the site this morning, heavy on the European side at about 11am Boston time.

Below is a screen shot of hits to the web store. Most web stores use things like this to see where people come in from. Ours does not collect personal information and we are interested in the location and time of visit.

What does it mean? Californians were still in bed, the East Coast of the US was up, and so was Europe. If you are from California and missed the offer, don't worry, there will be another batch in the Shop soon.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Image collection for coating team access 3

Double layer delamination. Multiple layers tend to crack
and separate. Here two layers are widely apart.

Double layer dimensions and delamination. The layers
are thicker than we thought they would be.

Stripe artifact, with and without release layer over it. The stripe
is a wrinkle in the image layer and can easily be seen with a magnifier.
The image layer looks like it was dried very fast. The release
layer is so thin we cannot measure it.

Single layer adhesion is excellent. No place on the single
layer sample has any flaking at all.

Single layer worst case adhesion is excellent even
when it is flexed. It does crack, but stays in place. The single layer
thickness is 5 microns or more, which is plenty.
8 Layer top view showing severe delamination. Multi image
layers in the sample set all have this problem.
8 Layer side view showing adhesion and strata. There is
some adhesion between layers and some splitting. The
bulk multilayer separates from the ABV at the bottom. The release layer
is apparently too thin.
KODAK GLOSSY INKJET REFERENCE w/foraminous surface.
Lots of holes produce the deepest blacks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

20 X 24 Studio: the 20X24 gang

Sam Hiser plus the 20X24 gang of Nafis Azad, Ted McLelland
and John Reuter.



Our neighbors  http://www.20x24studio.com/   Quite an accomplished bunch! Check out their website and be amazed.

There's always time for a snapshot


Friday, April 10, 2015

Image collection for coating team access II

Top surface normal angle 23X

Top Surface 45 degree

Strata showing separation and multiple gravure coats


Top surface 20 degree 40X

Kickstarter Update #34 - This could be our most important update, and challenge

Here is the text, in full, from the April 10 2015 New55 Kickstarter Update. I'm posting it here on the blog as well as on Kickstarter so that we can reach the widest possible audience at this critical moment in the project.  As always, your comments are welcome here, on facebook, and elsewhere, and so is your continued support for this fascinating cause. 



________

Update #34 - This could be our most important update, and challenge

ALERT: This is an update to the Kickstarter Supporters of New55 FILM. This is a news story. This is a technical drama unfolding now! Written by Bob Crowley

Dear Supporters,

This may be our most important update ever about the cause of large format instant photography, and New55 FILM.

1. We have good general progress to report in the Shop, and technically;
2. A critical coating event is happening now on the Receiver Sheet;
3. We are short of money and have an urgent, immediate need for cash;
4. We are acting on a supplemental fundraising plan based on your recommendations and encouragement to continue.

1. GENERAL PROGRESS

The New55 Team is pleased to report very rapid progress in getting the Shop started, shipping methods in place and logistics underway. All of these steps are crucial but are often overlooked by new startups. Some of you have begun to see the early signs in shipments of t-shirts and accessories such as R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER. Sam Hiser is learning the ways of Shopify which has been very time consuming to his all volunteer effort. Sam is looking for some outside help configuring and updating the Shop which is essential to New55's survival, in case you know someone. Without an efficient means of online commerce goods cannot flow and New55 will not be sustainable, so the Shop is a high priority.

In other areas, we have made some progress understanding the pod machine. Our connection to 20x24 Studio, which supplies the pods and is essential to the project, continues to strengthen as we work together every day, all day.

Tests continue to show close correlation of the positive and negative and a nice tonal scale. You might have seen these on the Blog:


or on Facebook:


Critical vendor progress is good too: The sleeve and final artwork are nearly done and will be tweaked so that the thickness is correct to spread the reagent between the negative and the positive in just the right way. The vendor doing this will have to hold a critical thickness, so we will watch over it. More of the famous frangible pod material was purchased from a good company in The Netherlands - enough for 25,000 pods.

New55 FILM's supply chain is shaping up, but not without some glitches and one serious change that may be occurring at the sheet film factory: Last week someone at the factory expressed doubts about continued production, which alarms us. An interruption could adversely impact the price going forward, though for now we have some 25,000 sheets on hand, safe in cold storage and ready for final assembly. We cannot survive another loss like Efke when it went out of business. I suppose existential threats exist in any industry, but ours is more sensitive since we know of only six places on Earth where 4x5 sheet film is produced!

20X24 Studio, our friends and recently moved-in new neighbors, John Reuter, Ted McLelland and Nafis Azad, have now trucked in their huge chemical mixer, and that, with their pod machine also now installed, should lead to the ramp-up of pod production. Today I will put on my goggles and get back to rewiring the controls for the mixer so we can fire it up for the first time in Ashland. We have even started talking about a color product for the future, but first things first. There is a lot to do.
On the manufacturing and final assembly front, coordination with two other Massachusetts factories is fast underway, and we depend upon, and appreciate, their attention to New55 FILM's needs, which go like this: We produce and mix the coating formula, then we bring that to the coater while special paper stock for the Receiver Sheet ships in from New York. Once the coater puts on three critical layers, they ship the coated Receiver Sheet paper to a Packaging and Converting company that exactly cuts, folds, pastes and prints the coated materials into components that we will assemble here at New55 FILM in Ashland. If we can get this round-robin of factories to connect, end to end, then we will have the makings of an ongoing, sustainable supply chain. Fingers are crossed it will, though it will require constant attention during scale-up and long after.

The Receiver Sheet coating is still a very big risk, and gets its own category, here.

2. CRITICAL COATING EVENT UNDERWAY NOW FOR THE RECEIVER SHEET
Most of you know that the technical team had to scrap the failed original Polaroid-style Receiver Sheet coating, and how that led to the invention of an all-new environmentally safer and more manufacturable technology that we and our manufacturing partners can approve. In case you have only just heard this, suffice to say, it was a major failure requiring the coating team to start again; but then a major win for New55 FILM. Your support helped us invent a new material that never existed before, one that is better for the environment and works very well! It costs plenty and has never been coated before on a large scale, so there are still risks. This unique new coating is like a micro-scaled laboratory, and can have other uses in photography and even in medicine. Together with you we are proud of this achievement since it is something Polaroid never attempted.

Yesterday we tried the very first full-length, production-ready Receiver Sheet test coating and it ran into trouble. And while that news is disappointing, we are working intensely to find a way to get our layers down onto the paper successfully.

3. SHORTAGE OF MONEY. WE NEED TO GET MORE CASH SOON. AND THERE IS A PLAN

A “start-from-scratch” scenario for the Receiver Sheet was predicted as a possible high risk in Kickstarter's “risks section”. I just went back and re-read this prophetic warning again. We all paid a big price when that risk became real and we found we had to scrap the way the Receiver Sheet coating was done in the past. The Receiver Sheet re-do cost the project around 20%, which means that the project may need an additional $100,000 to get to the finish line, if not more. Money is needed to pay for services, rent, and hired help. Sam Hiser and I continue to donate our time without any salary but others cannot be expected to do this, and we cannot do so indefinitely. So we brought the problem of cash shortage to you and asked for your recommendations. The response was heartening, to say the least! Many ideas are very interesting and all were helpful, and as a direct result of your recommendations several fundraising projects are underway already. Here they are:

4. SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDRAISING PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS AND QUESTIONS FROM SUPPORTERS

Q: Can you sell a monobath?  
A: Done! We launched R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER last week. Not much money will be made but it is a start, and it helps Sam learn to manage the Shop and Dan learn how to execute fulfillment. We'll need these to stay alive.

Q: How about something like Readyloads?  
A: Yes! Stay tuned for 1SHOTTM ready loaded sheet film, yellow dot fundraiser edition. The 1SHOT product was not developed using Kickstarter funds as it is not an instant film, but does share one of the assemblies and several vendors. 1SHOT will be a lot like the readyloads of the past, but with a more film-agnostic twist that I think many of you will appreciate, and buy. New55 FILM supporters will get first alert when 1SHOT goes on sale, before the general public. Our selected Atomic-X 4x5 ISO 100 cubic grained film will be used in this special yellow dot run of 1SHOT.

Q: Can you hold a fundraiser?  
A: Yes. This is planned, a possible auction of artworks and photographs by some well-known artists, to be held in New York. But it can't be held until September, so we will have to do other things first.

Q: Do you have a way for people to contribute if they want?
A: Yes, there is a convenient paypal donation button here: http://www.new55.net/donate Huge thanks to those of you who have already used it! Your donation, no matter how small, makes a big difference.

Q: Perhaps you can attract investors? Big donors?
A: That's a way off, but I plan to continue to invest my time and also sell some of my personal collection of photo equipment like I have in the past to help fund the program. You may have seen the view cameras, brass lenses, Aero Ektar lenses, and other film and large format equipment from my collection that I sold on the blog to augment the first three years of development.

In addition, I am planning to sell some of the instant film stock, lenses, camera gear and other things I bought for New55 FILM, before the kickstarter program. It is my hope these will be sold to supporters who will understand they are supporting a cause and not just buying gear. They will appear on the Shop soon.

Another critical step might be to provide more cash from my own pocket to bridge the gap between now and the time we begin to make money. It looks like, with a note, about $75,000 could be temporarily added to the New55 Holdings, LLC, bank account this way. Since I started the New55 FILM project in 2010, I've already spent most of my time, and a lot of money. Gulps ... passes out ... posts motorcycle on craigslist.

4. Won't you please help? Use the donate button today, and do participate in these other fundraising events. We are creating the means and tools of post-digital photography -- real photography and real photographs -- for us all to enjoy well into the future. Your participation, no matter how small, makes a real difference.

And in other news ...

Christopher James’s new book, entitled The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (Third Edition), is out! We are on page 704 in the chapter called, “The Alternative Negative”. Nice shot of Sam.

Summary

New55 FILM's technical progress is strong, but there have been technical setbacks that cost the project about $100,000. The technical problems have been mostly overcome but they were more costly than anticipated.

The critical Receiver Sheet coating could lead to first-piece production in the coming weeks! There is still risk, yesterday we had a bad result which disappointed us, so money is needed more than ever.  We are completely focused on this goal. A new product called 1SHOT(TM) will soon appear! R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER has started to ship. Logistics and the Shop are coming together.
A cash shortfall threatens progress, but fundraising and personal financing from Bob are all in various active stages. These also depend on you. Sam and Bob continue to donate all their time but we still have to pay others their salaries as well as rent and other expenses.

The supporters have made important recommendations, and we have acted on several of them in product areas relating to large-format photography. They are R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER, 1SHOT(TM) ready loaded sheet film, sales of photo equipment from my collection, and additional personal cash to temporarily bridge the gap. Together these things might be enough if the flow of support continues as it has, and they all have to happen. Will they? They will if we want them to.

Onward!

Bob Crowley


Thursday, March 26, 2015

R5 and R3 Monobath Developer Resource Page


Tri-X processed in R3
Note that R5 replaces R3 and is a new formula that permits agitation. Otherwise it is very similar to R3, and it looks the same in our tests.

This is the page for information, tips, links and results of New55's R5 and R3 Monobath Developer. Please help support New55 by buying and using R5! R5 replaces R3 with a more agitation friendly formula for more even development. Your purchase goes to the continued development of instant film and other interesting new photographic tools and materials.

Click here to buy R5 Monobath Developer in a ready-to-use bottle.

Click here for some great examples of black and white films processed in R3



Introduction to R5 Monobath

Quick summary

1. no dilution needed
2. warm to 80f/27C
3. load film in complete darkness
4. warm your film and film holder, and add R5, agitate for 30 seconds and occasionally for 6 minutes
5. pour used R3 back into bottle
5. wash film for at least 10 minutes and hang to dry




Q: What is R5 Monobath?
A: R5 is a ready-to-use black and white film developer that allows anyone to process their own black and white film in about 6 minutes, using just one solution.

Q: What is a monobath?
A: A monobath is a developer that does the developing and fixing process in one step.

Q: Why use a monobath?
A: Because it is easy! It is also fast. And, R5 produces a unique look that can be very appealing.

Q: What precautions should I take?
A: We recommend you wear ordinary rubber gloves if you think you might want to handle films or containers wet with R5. Otherwise you should not get your nose close to the ammonia, which is irritating. Obviously, do not ingest R5, and if you do, call a doctor.

Temperature, and Time

Q: At what temperature should R5 be used?
A: 80F is the standard temperature. R5 must be warm. That's 27 degrees Celsius. Your tank and film must also be warm! If you cool R5 when filling, you will get streaks.

Q: How long does processing take?
A: About 6 minutes.

Films that work with R5

Q: What films can I process?
A: Most black and white films, probably. We have tested it with Efke, Ilford, Kodak and New55's Atomic X films, and achieved good to excellent results with all. An exception is Ilford ISO 3200 high speed film, which is intended for push processing. If you expose for ISO 800, R3 works fine.

Ilford Pan-F processed in R3


Is R5 a universal monobath?

Yes, with a very few exceptions, as mentioned above.

Household ammonia smell

Q: Why does R5 use ammonia? Doesn't it smell horrible?
A: No not really. The ammonia is less concentrated than household ammonia but you still don't want to stick your nose in it.  The ammonia controls the pH of the solution and that makes it work fast and controls the balance between the developer and the fixer.  The use of ammonia compounds to develop films was not accepted until several years of successful R5 use proved it worked.

Q: How can I keep ammonia smell to a minimum?
A: Easy. Process in a closed container. In a tray, cover it. I use sandwich containers made by Glad which have a lid that snaps on. I put about a half inch of R5 in the bottom and loosely cover it before going into the dark bag. Once the film is in, snap the lid and you'll have no smell at all.

Archival qualities of monobaths

Q: Will R5 produce an archival negative?
A: As long as the negative is washed well then it should last a long time.

Color casts and base fog

Q: My Tri-X processed in R3 was a funny color. It scanned well though.
A: Yes, Tri-X at first has a brownish tint, but this goes away after a while. R5 is the same.

Q: I see base fog in some of my negatives
A: The presence of a small amount of base fog is a characteristic of monobaths and instant films, too. Scanners have little trouble with this, by the way.

Capacity of R5 for continued use

Q: Can I use R5 again?
A: Yes, depending on how much film you process, you can reuse R5. Stop reuse when you start to see degradation of the negative. It comes on slowly.

Processing kinetics, and push processing

Q: Why can't I process the film at room temperature?
A: R5 requires that it be warm! This allows the develop and fix process to produce a properly developed negative. If the solution is colder than recommended, you will pull the development and lose speed. If the temperature is hotter than recommended, it can be used to push process and increase speed. This can be very handy at times!

Q: Do I have to hold the temperature exactly?
A: No. It isn't very critical, but do try to keep it to 80 or aboce while you use it.

Tray Processing

Q: Can I process sheet films in a tray?
A: Yes, use a cover to hold the temperature, and keep the ammonia smell to a minimum. Plastic sandwich containers work exceptionally well and need very little R5 to cover sheet film. Start off warmer because trays cool quickly

EFKE 25 4x5, tray processed


Q: Can I process in a dark bag/changing bag?
A: Definitely! This is what I do all the time. The sandwich container and my sheet film holder take up little space, the the sandwich container is left a bit loose until the film is put in. Then I snap it shut.

Processing roll films

Q:What about rollfilm?
A: You can use a daylight processing tank with a reel.  Be sure to use enough solution to cover the negative.



Q: Should I agitate the film?
A: Yes, gently agitate WARM film for 30 seconds or so.

Q: I use a roller tank. How about that?
A: Sure, go for it. You should be fine, but remember to keep the solution warm, and the film covered.

Shelf life of tightly capped unopened R5

Q: How long will R5 keep?
A: Unopened R5 should keep for at least a year, which is a long time. It may even keep longer than
that.

Scanning negatives

Q: I saw the fantastic and superb photography you and your crew did with R3. What scanner did you use?
A: This is the kind of question I wish I actually would get, but is just a self serving fantasy.  It is an Epson V750 Pro. I think the results are actually quite nice. R5 scans look similar.

Historic fact about monobaths

Q: I read that if monobath were any good, everybody would already be using them.
A: They have been, since instant photography began. Instant photographs all depend on a monobath.


Anonymous yet invaluable advice from a reader:









Anonymous said...
I've recently returned to LF after a 30 year absence and purchased a nice 3 lens Sinar F2 setup that obviously needed to be tested - alas, no more type 55. I stumbled apron this mono bath and wanted to share some success I've had through trial and error which have given me the results I was looking for.

The "Tupperware" sandwich box was a great starting point but temperature control was a bit of an issue. I've found that certainly you need to be in the 75-80 degree range but the falloff in temp, especially since there's such a small amount of solution being used was fairly quick. I also found the sandwich boxes were somewhat translucent and I wanted to be able to load them in a changing bag and let the film develop in daylight.

I found that by spraying the Tupperware with one of the "spray on rubber" products solved 2 problems. The rubberized coating acts as a great insulator and with a 10 minute development time I lose between .5 -1 degree. The second is that it makes the boxes light tight. I've sprayed 2 light coats over the box (with the lid on) and used a razor blade to cut along the top's seam which gives me a pretty much perfect light tight seal.

I also found that by straining the solution through a coffee filter after use removes almost all of the solids and I'm getting 9 or 10 uses from each batch (so basically 3 batches 1/2 inch deep in the box will handle a 25 sheet box of film.

I'm praying that the New55 project is a success but in the short term, using the posted formula and a few of the boxes I've made up gives me a 10 minute solution for test exposures - actually, the negs are of such good quality I can and do use them for either projection printing or scans.

Hope this helps someone.






Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reagent Mixer arrives at 20X24 in Ashland

Our neighbors at New55 are 20x24 Studio which is an amazing thing because together we have concentrated all US instant film development under one roof.  Ted McLelland runs their engineering and contributes to New55, and one of his key areas of responsibility involves the making of reagents - also known as processing developer, goo, jelly or paste - for both black and white and color products.  Yesterday, one of 20X24's large units arrived in Ashland and was quickly set up by the experienced ex-Polaroid riggers who still move large things around New England.

In this series, Ted inspects the newly-arrived Big Mixer that uses heat, pressure, vacuum, large stirring vanes and lots of valves and gages interconnected in such a way as to produce about 30 litres of reagent a day.  That translates into enough reagent to fill a few thousand pods. This mixer was installed and run in Connecticut for the past several years, but now is under the same roof as the Pod Machine, which it feeds.

Ted McLelland and the equipment used to make reagents
newly arrived at 20x24

Inspection of the heat exchanger, which
controls the process temperature

The vessel in which the reagent is mixed
under heat and pressure

A large motor and gearbox turn the mixer.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gallery of photographs processed in New55's Monobath

Here is a gallery with just a few of the excellent examples we have by using the Monobath.  All were scanned on an Epson V750 in automatic mode. Large files have been uploaded and you really should click on them once or twice to view them full size. Enjoy.

And you can buy R5 here.  

R3 processed TMY 


Efke 25 4x5. Ted McLelland

Ilford Pan F Plus  D Fyler

Ilford Pan F Plus R Crowley

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 D Fyler

TMX 120 (crop)

TMX 120 

TMY 135 R Crowley This was a lost roll, unprocessed for 20 years.

Tri X 6x7 R Crowley

A very old roll of Pan X 120 found in a flea market TLR and processed in R3