New55 FILM — An Instant 4×5 Film Project Reviving the Polaroid Classic

Here’s an exciting crowdsourcing project for not only film aficionados, but for all lovers of fine photography and distinct gear: New55 FILM is a Kickstarter project that needs $400,000 to fund manufacturing. As a backer you will not only receive boxes of first-run manufactured New55 FILM “First Edition,” you’ll also be making history by constructing the future of post-digital professional darkroomless analog photography.

One of the tools you can use to shoot New55 FILM is the Chamonix Saber, pictured here with the Polaroid 545 holder attached.
One of the tools you can use to shoot New55 FILM is the Chamonix Saber, pictured here with the Polaroid 545 holder attached.
Initiated by Bob Crowley who’s trying to make large format negative/positive film accessible again, just think of the potential of medium format instant film. Right, it’s nothing mainstream and instant film is a complex product with many stringent requirements.

In essence New55 FILM wants to replace Polaroid 55, yet it’s not a duplication of the Polaroid classic, a large format instant film that produced both a negative and a positive image.

When you pulled the sheet out of the holder after taking a photo, you would tear it in two pieces. One would be a negative you could use in the darkroom to develop your photo — and the other would be a full-on black-and-white, large format print.

The cheapest pledge will cost a backer $75 — well it’s a premium product and large format photography never has been really affordable. Or you can hunt down old expired boxes of Polaroid 55 — on eBay they’re going for well over $100.

New55 FILM utilizes the same film holder that was used with Polaroid Type 55 P/N and seems to share many of the same characteristics. New55 FILM works in the same 545 Polaroid film holder back — which are available in great numbers on eBay. They’re compatible with all sorts of large format cameras.

Time to spoil yourself a bit — like reader and photographer Dierk Topp who inspired this article and who’s enjoying his new toy, a Sinar P. Dierk’s not the only one hoping for the New55 FILM project to succeed.

For more visit Kickstarter page, the project’s website and its blog. Also check out the New55 gallery.

  • Andy Umbo

    I wouldn’t mind buying this stuff if it was as pristine as the original Polaroid P/N 55. You could shoot it all day, pull it and clear the negs, with practically no damage to them (and they were very close to shooting Panatomic X, only in 4X5 format). These “samples” seem to have a lot of bad chemical distribution and other marks. OK for “arteests”, but I’d rather put those on by pulling the sheet out and breaking the pod with a pencil or something, not have that be the “norm”.

    BTW, studio “rats” are very used to P/N 55, in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, not because they used the neg, but because a lot of big catalog houses didn’t go strobe until the late 80’s, and P/N 55, under tungsten, had a very similar look and reciprocity (on the print) to Kodak Ektachrome Tungsten. You could shoot a P/N 55 packet, look at the print, and get your exposure to about a half a stop to “real”. Then we’d just toss it, and shoot our transparency bracket!

  • They could certainly make good use of you in the project team, Andy!

  • Dan, thanks very much for supporting this project!
    I really hope, that we will get this film. But it is still a long way to go for the 400k$.
    I dream of it for portraits, stills and may be landscape.

  • This funding looks like an uphill battle, let’s hope for a final strong push… And thanks for the alert Dierk!

  • they made it!!
    but not before 2015 :-)