Large Format Polaroids - Which Back?

Recently Paul from Ryerson University in Toronto wrote and asked:

"I am looking into purchasing a Polaroid back for a 4x5 camera. I am lost however as to
what exactly I should be looking for. Is the film the same as a regular pack camera? I have a Polaroid 100 that I got over the holidays (from you guys!!) and it is amazing.

Thanks for your help!

Hi there Paul!

The Radio Shack

FP-100c instant color film shot on the Crown Graphic 4x5 camera at The Shack in Butler, NJ

Just when you thought Polaroid naming, numbering, and formatting couldn't get any worse, there's Polaroid 4x5!

There were two major types of Polaroid manufactured for 4x5 cameras, namely pack film and single sheet film. The pack films all had a three digit number sequence and fit into the 500 and 550 backs, while the single sheet featured two digits and fit into the 545 series backs.

Although you can buy expired Polaroid pack and single sheet films on eBay, prices are going sky-high lately. The only new offerings are currently made by Fuji. If you'd like to shoot 4x5" pack film, also known as FP-100c45 (not the same as regular FP-100c), you need either a Polaroid 550 back or a Fuji-PA45 back; they're essentially the same, and a tad expensive. Also please note that Fuji 4x5 pack films haven't been discontinued, but as of right now they aren't making any more of it (maybe a year or two more).

If you don't mind shooting regular 3 1/4 x 4 1/4" pack film, there is a back that will fit a 4x5 camera, and that is called a Polaroid 405 back. Considering the current volatile state of the two larger 4x5" selections, this is the most economical choice, but finding a used Polaroid 405 back may be considerably harder.

Best of luck with your instant large format endeavors, it's a lot of fun peeling bigger Polaroids, and really hope you get the chance to try it!

Long live film!


-Mat M.

Main Blog Image by Andy Jenkins