Troubleshooting New55 PN
Why is it that some users have significant difficulties — sometimes compounding difficulties — while others skate through the New55 PN learning curve smoothly?
Friends & users of the Customer Support line — firstname.lastname@example.org — are familiar with my reply, “You’re facing a common issue that is easy to remedy once its source is understood.”
A 545 holder that’s warn out or functioning “out of spec” can lead to repeated failure, so it is important to check your holder’s condition — particularly the function of the Finger and the Gate — to establish confidence in your setup. Success comes from experience and learning to identify the ins and outs of a hand made system of systems. (Our trusty refurbished 545 holders are available here.)
ISSUE #1 — “Sticky-Sleeve”
… in which the Sleeve-to-Clip attachment is over-tight, making Sleeve Withdrawal difficult. In some cases, the film packet’s stainless steel Clip “jumps the 545 holder’s Finger” during the Sleeve Withdrawal. (This results in a BLACK PRINT and a CLEAR NEGATIVE if the condition is not spotted before processing — see “Feel Your Pod“. It is because the negative, being still up in the Sleeve, has not received any light during exposure.)
The Sleeve-to-Clip attachment is reasonably tight coming out of assembly; this was engineered into the film packet system in order to prevent accidental separation and therefore accidental exposure of the negative in casual handling such as during unboxing or during film transport in a camera case. Some 545 holders prefer a looser attachment in order to function optimally. Here’s how to prepare for 100% success to deal with the tight Sleeve-to-Clip bond.
REMEDY to ISSUE #1 –“New55 PN – The Clip Tip-Tap Tip”
An additional note on the spirit of the Clip Tip-Tap process: Don’t wait for the issue to arise. When I am shooting New55 PN on an important series or project, I use the Clip Tip-Tap exercise for all 5 film packets in a box when first opening the box at the outset of the shoot — very likely this takes place as a preparative step back at the studio over coffee, WELL BEFORE beginning the shoot and certainly WELL BEFORE arriving at a location. My purpose is to get all my film stock in shooting fettle so as to maintain full concentration and not to be distracted from my subject in the midst of a shoot. Film-packet hold-ups are infuriating and unnecessary when preparation is possible and, indeed, helpful.
There is also …
ISSUE #2 — “Sleeve-Hang”
… in which, during Sleeve Replacement, the Sleeve will only return about 3/4 back home. (This issue is more commonly experienced in use with the 545i [plastic] holders.)
REMEDY to ISSUE #2 – burnish or tape
Burnish the leading edge of the Silver Release Tab with a finger nail with the purpose of minimizing its relief from the Sleeve paper. Then replace the Sleeve into the holder as normal.
The other, and most certain, way of curing “Sleeve Hang” is with the temporary use of masking tape to cover the leading edge of the Silver Release Tab in order to get the Sleeve home properly. After getting the Sleeve home, be sure to remove the tape before processing or it will cause an impression in both the negative and positive in development. The proper sequence is: add the tape to the Sleeve, then replace the Sleeve, then remove the film packet from the holder (using the holder’s Release Lever ‘R’), carefully remove the tape, then replace the film packet in the holder and processing as normal.
All the Detail You Were Afraid to Ask
The New55 FILM system is a SYSTEM-OF-SYSTEMS: the New55 PN film packet has over 17 components that must work together in concerted tolerance within a holder with many many moving parts and three critical sub-systems — the Rollers, the Finger and the Gate — which can vary from 545 holder to 545 holder and across over 7 different vintages of 545, 545i and 545 Pro holders in the series since the 1960’s. New55 PN’s variability in pod production and in its paper components reward alertness and sensitivity to the condition of the Systems in each mode or state of use.
Gaining a full understanding of the parts and functions of the 545 series holders, and of the parts and functions of the New55 PN film packet system, can yield a regular 4- or 5-out-of-5 success rate per box of New55 PN. Confidence in cleaning and diagnosing 545 holder issues is paramount, and preparing each film packet for shooting also remains key during this early hand-made phase of New55 PN’s production.
In the near future, as New55 FILM automates pod production and replaces paper and mechanical components with more apt, rugged and versatile materials, users are justified to expect a more fool-proof photography experience, an improving print quality and even more sublime negative.