Polaroid $$$$

ashendel at aclcb.purdue.edu ashendel at aclcb.purdue.edu
Sat Oct 30 17:21:44 EST 1993

RE: Polaroid $$$


    I lost my copy of the original post on this thread, but as I remember, 
the question of photo/video documentation systems arose as a result of the 
shock of the increase in the price of a case of Polaroid 667 film to $500.  
While I have appreciated all the comments about the various systems (I may 
build one partly because I like to play with hardware), the original 
problem may have been overstated.  I just received a new case of 667 film, 
ordered shortly before I read the original posting.  The price for the case 
(25 twinpacks of film) was $402.50 plus a small amount for shipping, which 
was indeed a large increase over the $311 paid about 12 months ago (my last 
order).  After calming down, I took a close look at the invoice and found 
that the new packs are 10 exposures versus the older 8 exposures.  This 
means the new price is for 500 pictures, versus 400, and it works out to be 
virtually no change in price (about 81 cents apice).

For those who take a lot of wasted pictures using a Polaroid MP-4 set up, I 
strongly recommend that you switch to a hand-held camera+shroud system, 
such as sold by Fotodyne and Fisher Scientific (who provides Purdue a large 
disount off list price).  We did this change about a year ago and have 
been extremely pleased with the cost savings and convenience.  Not only 
does this eliminate bad exposures (one setting works for all our gels, and 
focussing is not needed due to a secondary lens in the shroud), but it 
also lets us do the photography directly in the lab, eliminating the 
overcrowded darkroom (assuming you have your own UV transilluminator).  We 
found that we do not even have to dim the room lights to take the pictures 
as the shrouds are blackened on the inside to eliminate reflected light.  

The camera, two shrouds, and a filter cost about $600 to $700 from Fisher 
(list price, much less with a discount) and it will pay for itself in 
about two and a  half years with the reduced film use.  The video 
documentation system described in the Biotechniques article, although 
relatively inexpensive, would take almost 8 years to pay for itself, 
assuming no maintenance costs.  As for using it as a densitometer, it seems 
that many departments are getting phosphoimagers with densitometry 
accessories, reducing the justification for an individual (such as myself) 
to purchase one, expecially when it is not a heavily used technique in my 

My $0.02 worth.

Curt Ashendel
Purdue University

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