Sunday, August 8, 2010

POLAROID EXPLOSION: Instant Film in 2010…so far

Polaroid One Step 1000

With the re-emerging Instant Films in stores this year via Polaroid / Fujifilm and The Impossible Project, amateur and professional photographers alike have raised their eyebrows after initially thinking that instant photography was going the way of the dinosaur when the end of instant film was announced by Polaroid in 2009.

ABC-TV New York report on the end of Polaroid instant film

In 2010, instant photography is alive and well with continued commitment by Fujifilm in Japan and grassroots movements like and The Impossible Project getting more attention this year than in the last two decades combined.

The Fujifilm commitment aside, most instant film excitement has been coming from an old Polaroid factory in Enschede (pronounced En-Ska-Day), Netherlands, where The Impossible Project purchased equipment from Polaroid and promised to make new films for the millions of existing Polaroid SX-70 and 600 cameras in the world.

CBS-TV USA report on the end of Polaroid and beginning of The Impossible Project

For those of you who don’t eat, sleep and breath Polaroid photography (like me!), instant film by definition “is a type of photographic film first introduced by Polaroid that is designed to be used in an instant camera (and, with accessory hardware, with many professional film cameras). The film contains the chemicals needed for developing and fixing the photo, and the instant camera exposes and initiates the developing process after a photograph has been taken.

1963 Polaroid instant camera TV ad

In earlier Polaroid instant cameras the film is pulled through rollers which breaks open a pod containing a reagent that is spread between the exposed negative and receiving positive sheet. This film sandwich develops for a predetermined time, depending on film type and ambient temperature, after which the positive sheet is peeled away from the negative to reveal the developed photo.

In 1972, Polaroid introduced integral film, which incorporated timing and receiving layers to automatically develop and fix the photo without any intervention from the photographer.”*


Most folks are familiar with integral instant film with cameras like the Polaroid One-Step. Polaroid cameras were heavily, heavily advertised in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Polaroid One Step TV Ad 1981

The Impossible Project has made good on their promise and in March 2010, introduced monochrome SX-70 and 600 films. On July 29th, Impossible introduced their “First Flush” edition of color film for SX-70 cameras and plan on releasing color film for 600 cameras later this year.

Earlier in 2010 Polaroid Corporation announced a new, re-envisioned One-Step camera called the One Step pic-1000 to be available in December 2010.

The Polaroid Pic-1000 announced January 2010 at the CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada USA

Then, two months later under the direction of Lady Ga Ga (Polaroid’s new Creative Director), Polaroid surprisingly released the Polaroid 300 camera.

Lady GaGa discusses her creative partnership with Polaroid

The camera uses business card sized color film and was released to the US market in April 2010. Many on-line bloggers have noted that the release of the 300 camera solidifies the Polaroid-Fuji relationship since the 300 camera and film is manufactured by Fujifilm Japan re-branded Polaroid here in the United States.

Elsewhere in the world, the camera is known as the Fuji Instax Mini. It should be noted that Fujifilm attempted to release their Instax Mini cameras and film here in the US in 1999 but instead made an arrangement with Polaroid and partnered on the short-lived Polaroid Mio camera.

It is suggested that Polaroid will continue the relationship with Fujifilm and introduce the Pic-1000 camera with new 600 film manufactured by Fuji late in 2010.

Additional links:

Previous Posts:

Glorious Days with Impossible PX Film

Writing a new chapter in the history of photography – IMPOSSIBLE FILM

Get Happy (with Polaroid 300)

Instant Gratification by Ellen Jo Roberts

Polaroid 300 and it’s cousins Mio and Instax

Additional videos on Impossible here:

Images © 2010 Michael Raso

The Film Photography Internet Radio Show

Film Photography Podcast Flickr Group


  1. I love reading your Polaroid stories. Yer a bonafide wealth of information, and good cheer!

  2. Check out the Polaroid that never went away, the 20x24 Studio.