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Media Technology

FujiFilm Discontinues Last Film For Millions of Polaroid Cameras (fastcompany.com) 81

harrymcc writes: Polaroid stopped making film for its instant cameras in 2008. Thanks to Polaroid-compatible film from FujiFilm, many fans of instant photography kept on shooting with classic models such as the Big Shot, which Andy Warhol used in the 1970s. But FujiFilm has announced that it's discontinuing production of peel-apart instant film, which means that an array of cameras which survived Polaroid's own exit from instant photography will finally be orphaned. Could this be a job for the Impossible Project?
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FujiFilm Discontinues Last Film For Millions of Polaroid Cameras

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Polaroid does make instant film and cameras - http://www.polaroid.com/products/category/cameras-and-film/instant-cameras-film

    • Re: Except (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @08:01AM (#51613815)

      No. No one but Fuji was making peel-apart filn for po!aroid Land cameras. Impossible Project is producing integral film for polaroid 600, sx70 cameras. Fuji was producing peel apart film, and Instax film for its own range of instant cameras that have nothing to do with old polaroid. The new polkaroid cameras are essentially using Instax technology. This is the end for polaroid transfers. You might see it in film emulation applications, instagram like frames, but the real deal is now history. Sadly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ixtl ( 1022043 )
      What they have there are some old 600 cameras that work with film made by the Impossible Project, and a rebadged Fuji Instax camera that works with Fuji Instax film. Polaroid apparently has a rebadged version of that, too. The stuff they're talking apart in the article is what's generally referred to as peel-apart film or packfilm, for 100-series Polaroid cameras like the Polaroid Automatic 100, 250, 360 etc etc... They were a lot of them. Also, you can use the stuff on old press cameras, like a Graflex or
  • The Impossible Project already produces it: https://shop.the-impossible-pr... [the-imposs...roject.com]

    Hipsters love it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hipsters == Muslim-style beard and black glasses eating in an MSG restaurant in New York.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Hipsters == Muslim-style beard and black glasses eating in an MSG restaurant in New York.

        You mean an "artisan" MSG restaurant.

    • by Tx ( 96709 )

      Nope, read TFA. They produce film for later Polaroid cameras, not the peel-apart film that Fuji is discontinuing.

    • The film you get from the Impossible Project ranges from absolute trash that doesn't develop at all to trash that develops into a mess of blurry, unsaturated, unevenly exposed blobs.

      You'll get much better results buying up old, expired packs of the real deal from eBay, though I'm not sure how much of it is still out there.

      If you want a camera that works, film that develops, and a company that supports its product, get a Fujifilm Instax.
      You get all the hipstery shit of a Polaroid with the benefit of it actua

    • Except that you're wrong. The peel-apart film that is now totally discontinued is for the Land rangefinder camera. The 8x10 stuff is sill very popular with portrait and landscape photographers, but it's not the same size, and it works with a different camera mechanism.
  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @08:01AM (#51613807)

    I am surprised there is still a market for instant cameras or instant film outside of hardcore enthusiasts, what with digital cameras being so prevalent and there being many easy ways to print directly from a digital camera with no PC involved (and even plenty of places that will print photos from a digital camera onto archive-grade photo paper)

    • Kids love it. They take a picture and see it fade into view like magic. Polaroid makes a whole line of instant cameras with film.
      • Kids love it.

        Kids don't have to pay for the film.

        They take a picture and see it fade into view like magic. Polaroid makes a whole line of instant cameras with film.

        TFA is about the older type of instant film whereby you pull a sandwich of film and chemicals out of the camera, wave it around for an approximate period of time based on temperature then peel off the print and try to find somewhere to safely dispose of the chemical-soaked negative. I can't really think of a use-case for that apart from nostalgia.

        The newer system, where you just get a blank print that fades into view and then 'fixes' itself is more fun and more practical

        • Kids don't have to pay for the film.

          Yeah, I was into photographic equipment as a kid - not so much the photography, because I couldn't afford film and development. But the equipment fascinated me, I'd pick up old pieces at car boot sales - again, for less money than developing a 36-exposure film would cost in those days.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            LOL If you saw my home you'd think I'm a photography buff. I'm not. I just like old cameras. They all work, I've actually shot pictures with them all. However, I'm about as artistic as is required to make stick figures.

            Well, that's not true. I've taken loads of classes (required, mostly) over the years and I can draw and paint and whatnot. I even do 'okay' at it. Left to my own devices, I can't think of a thing to draw or paint. It's much the same with a camera. I travel, a lot. I don't generally take a lot

        • Kids don't have to pay for the film.

          Kids don't pay for most things.

      • Kids love it. They take a picture and see it fade into view like magic. Polaroid makes a whole line of instant cameras with film.

        One of the magic moments of my life was the first time in a darkroom, watching the black and white image come up on the paper I was developing.

        I don't want to return to those days - I'm a complete digital ho now, but it's kind of a pity that so few get to experience that moment any more.

      • The problem with instant film is it's expensive. The kid may be impressed the first time they see it but they are likely to be less impressed when they find the number of shots they can take is strictly rationed. Pros too appreciate the option of taking multiple shots and only using up expensive consumables for the ones they actually want to print.

        Polaroid makes a whole line of instant cameras with film.

        Polariod discontinued their own instant film and cameras because they decided it wasn't viable.

        A small company called Impossible bought some of the old gear and s

      • Kids love it. They take a picture and see it fade into view like magic.

        With all of the old timey Instagram filters and junk like that, don't any of these camera apps actually do that -- take the picture and simulate the same kind of fading in? (I presume to get an accurate-to-the-film fading in, it's much more than just fading from pure black into the finished picture..)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      print directly from a digital camera with no PC involved

      You mean a trip into town to a Kodak kiosk? Or filling up your crappy home printer with expensive color ink and rapidly decomposing paper? Or buying a specialised photography printer? Or keeping it all on your phone or on the cloud, to be ultimately lost in digital limbo forever.

      Polaroid performs the same function now that it did 40 years ago: Instant, physical photographs, in your hand after one click (plus a wait). Digital does not provide this. In f

      • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @08:36AM (#51613903)

        Polaroid instant cameras were convenient, but that's about it. If the fixative wasn't applied just right - even in the auto-fixing cameras, you'd get sloppy consistency, fading colors and off-hues.

        Within a very short distance of home - and many tourist destinations - are places where I can jack my phone in, upload pictures and have plenty of good-quality photos to share around within an hour. And one thing no instant-shot camera could provide: multiple copies.

        If you're really into print-on-the-spot, as I recall, Polaroid even has a portable photo printer and it's probably not a whole lot slower than timing the developer on an instant-shot film.

        • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

          Canon Selphy range are compact dye sublimation printers with options of battery backs for portable printing with a range of printing options including PictBridge, off memory cards and USB sticks or direct off the phone using WiFi from iOS and Android.

      • What would *really* be cool is if someone made an image printer with wifi, Bluetooth, microSD, and usb connectivity, a lithium battery, and a touchscreen that exposed Polaroid-type film for instant prints anywhere from digital cameras.

        I think I remember seeing a primitive product like this about 20 years ago, but I think it was limited to 640x480 and had insurmountable compatibility problems with just about everything (including Windows NT). Apparently, Polaroid & Kodak were both so freaked out by digit

      • It was really good for two use cases: where your photograph was documentation rather than art and you needed to be able to confirm that it had accurately documented what you wanted to show right away, and homemade porn.

        The former has been thoroughly eclipsed by digital. The latter, well, people just learned not to shoot pictures involving faces.
    • by krouic ( 460022 )

      Probably the same people who buy vinyl records...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Edison wax cylinders, son. Edison wax cylinders.

    • by klapek ( 4200769 )
      But you don't carry your printer with you all the time.
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        You obviously haven't seen my girlfriend's purse. I have no idea what's in there or how such a small person carries that much weight with 'em everywhere they go. There's probably a printer in there. There's probably a few bricks in there. She asks me to get something out of it and I just go bring it to her and let her retrieve it herself.

      • I think they're silly, but there are very small portable photo printers.. e.g. http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com]

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          That looks like it might be nice for printing instant business cards, promotional postcards, and the like, without having to haul around a preprinted inventory.

    • When Hostess declared bankruptcy, many people were upset because they grew up eating Twinkies. However, as adults, far fewer people eat them. So of course sales were slow. Instant cameras are the same way. There's a certain nostalgia factor that makes people want to see these things still produced, but on a day-to-day basis people are using digital cameras. Technology and cost will always introduce new products and after a generation of nostalgia the old products disappear forever. I doubt someone born in 2
      • by drewsup ( 990717 )

        To someone who has never seen one before, it still holds the same fascination as for those of us who grew up when it was invented, its still new to either of us at the time, whether they get bored with it sooner is the real question...

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Apparently, Fujifilm thinks there is a market. That's why they came out with their Instax [fujifilm.com] line of cameras and film. It's possible that Fujifilm is trying to move Polaroid customers to their product line with this move.

  • by WalrusSlayer ( 883300 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @09:16AM (#51614079)

    If their efforts end up anything like their non-peel-apart lineup, then it's truly doomed. I have an old Land camera and a 600 series camera that uses the integrated battery pack in the cartridge (and develops in open air). The film from Impossible for the 600 is dreadful. I've gone through 3-4 cartridges and got nothing but a blurry, faded-looking mess. At best.

    You also can't point/shoot/eject/watch-it-develop like you could the original Polaroid. The Impossible film remains sensitive to light for at least 10-15 seconds if not longer, requiring hacks and tricks to eject it into either a box or under shade to make it develop properly at all. A real pain, all for vintage pictures that look like they're 40 years old the minute they fully develop.

    A shame really, as they have been at it for quite a number of years now. I would have hoped they could have recreated a more faithful and reliable facsimile of the original film. I know some people have reported good results, but I was never able to come close

    • by Rozzin ( 9910 )

      You also can't point/shoot/eject/watch-it-develop like you could the original Polaroid. The Impossible film remains sensitive to light for at least 10-15 seconds if not longer, requiring hacks and tricks to eject it into either a box or under shade to make it develop properly at all.

      Those issues have actually--finally--been resolved in the latest generations of Impossible's film; it only started shipping a few months ago.

      https://magazine.the-impossibl... [the-imposs...roject.com]

      I haven't tried the new color film, but I have used t

      • Those issues have actually--finally--been resolved in the latest generations of Impossible's film; it only started shipping a few months ago.

        They've "fixed" those problems several times now. At the prices they charge, it's just cheaper to buy the Instax and a bunch of film from B&H. I figured the number of shots to break even (X shots of Impossible Project film vs Instax Wide + X shots of film) at one point. It was under 100.

        Plus the Instax film actually works. With the Polaroid and Impossible Project film, every shot is crap shoot at best. Combined with the price per shot, you're discouraged from ever actually using it.

  • This is kind of the trouble with closed, privately held IP. When the company goes, so does the product, and the technology behind it.

    It could almost make one believe in Democratic Socialism.

    • These products are patented. If you so wanted, you could look up the patents and provided the ~20 years are up start up a factory and start producing them. The trick isn't the IP, it's the fact that no one in their right mind would build an entire factory to produce a product with such a limited market.

      It's not an IP issue, it's a tooling issue.

    • Interesting comment since Fujifilm is stopping the manufacture of film for Polaroid cameras. Neither Fujifilm or Polaroid are ceasing to exist. The technology is no longer profitable.
  • For you youngsters out there, Polaroid was how we used to have to take pictures of our dicks, back in the days before cell phones. This is the sad end of an era.

  • With so few Polaroid cameras out there, you'd think the remaining Fuji stock would last a while yet.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not that I have any interest in polariod film, but you're comment makes you sound like a 12 year old idiot. Why do you want to show the world you're a total dumbass?

  • ... rather than summarily discontinuing it.

    Or, rather, they should publicly "float the idea" of spinning it off and see if anyone - including hobbyists - bite.

    Obviously, there are exceptions. For example, if the tech is still legally encumbered or would require publishing still-valuable trade secrets you may not want to spin it off. Ditto if you are killing it because of liability concerns (e.g. your company had a side-business in tobacco in the 1980s or early 1990s) and you know that even if you spin it

  • Sorry to see Fuji go, but Polaroid film is still in production elsewhere.

    Fuji's exit won't really change much.

  • Cases abound of legacy users/consumers decrying the passing of obsolete technology. But it seems to me an opportunity is lost here. How feasible is it for groups like development-oriented NGOs to arrange for the transfer of technology and manufacturing rights to developing countries who currently lack industrial infrastructure and could use a compelling reason to start one? Maybe you can't really make money off an old product. But there is still value in the thing if the byproduct of making it can be of

  • is to think nthat this will EVER qualify for the impossible project. Instamatic camera collectors are so few and far between that they will almost all be able to obtain "discovered" cartridges via ebay. IMHO the film sucks terribly and fades so quickly that anybody who hasn't scanned their "precious memopries" taken via "peel away" instamatic has most assuredly lost them by now... we were early adopters being in real estate and I can still remembert the smell to this day...

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