Friday, August 20, 2010

Polaroid 500 FAIL! (or My Continuing Polaroid Experiments)

I recently picked up the Polaroid Captiva SLR and Polaroid Joy cameras from Both were released and available from Polaroid 1993 - 1997.

Polaroid Captiva SLR, Closed
The Polaroid Captiva / image © Christy Bassman /

The Polaroid JOY / Image © celluloid czarina

Polaroid 500 Film / Image © Chris B

The Captiva and Joy use the no-longer-manufactured Polaroid 500 Instant film.

Polaroid Type 500 film (produced from 1993-2005) has an image size of 73x54mm ( 2.874 x 2.126 inches), is ISO 600 and has 10 pictures to a pack.

Polaroid 500 fail

Polaroid 500 fail

My initial experience is that most existing packs available today have been improperly stored, causing the internal chemicals to dry out. The result causes film packs to leak caustic chemicals upon firing the shutter, malfunction or failure to eject any image at all.

analog edit

One of the packs exposed through the Captiva camera yielded some decent images (above).

Existing, expired film packs are scarce. When available these film packs can fetch upwards of $20. - $50. each on ebay.

Further testing and experimentation as soon as I can locate more film packs.

- Michael Raso

I host The Film Photography Podcast (Internet Radio Show) on iTunes
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All Images © 2010 Michael Raso unless otherwise noted.


  1. I swapped my Captiva SLR (a Vision 95, the UK name) and a pack of film with a weird woman for a glass plate negative my girlfriend liked. I kind of wish I hadn't now, but what's done is done...

  2. I've had terrible luck with expired 500 film as well. Your results are better than mine, but I've personally had better luck with instant roll film that expired in the 1980's.

  3. Another nifty Polaroid device that used 500 film was the P-500 printer. It would print pictures off of a compact flash card from a digital camera. Using the DPOF standard you could select the pictures to print on the camera, transfer the card to the printer and watch them come out one by one. The whole device ran off of the film pack battery, so all you needed to take with you was film. A very clever little device and it's a shame it can't be used any more.