Hi, all - I'm looking on eb*y for a polaroid back for my 501CM and I see several models (PolaPlus, Polaroid 100, etc.) listed. Can someone explain the differences and whether they are significant? Thanks much.
The differences are significant, in the sense that the older backs use Polaroid film that is very hard to find these days, it might even be out of production by now. The Polaroid back 80 is the older one, the Compendium mentions film availability as problematic. The Polaroid 100 is a newer design, the Polaplus is the latest one. I would suggest going for the latest & greatest.
Only the Pola 80 back uses older types, "80-series", Polaroid films, only.
The Pola 100, and later backs use easy to find "100-series" Polaroid film.
The PolaCombi can even take both types.
The Pola 100 is a basic Polaroid back.
Basic, but then, what advanced feature could there be?
The PolaPlus answers this question: it has a dark slide with a notch, and a catch that engages in that notch when the slide is drawn out far enough to clear the picture frame.
So you do not need to draw the slide out fully (hence no slide pocket on the rear). But it is very easy to bend slides that are sticking out of a magazine.
The PolaBasic is a PolaPlus without that 'advanced feature". So it 'basically' is no more than a renamed Pola 100 back.
The PolaCombi (the latest of the bunch) has another advanced feature. As mentioned above, it not only takes the easy to find 100-series Polaroid film, but also the older 80-series 'amateur' film that knew a brief revival (= Polaroid/Fuji started making some again) a few years ago.
The old Pola 80 back is the only one you best avoid buying.
Buying Hasselblad Polaroid backs, the thing to watch for is that the glass plate is spotless. Any mark on the plate will show up on film.