A brief introduction to Instant Film Cameras including current film availability for Polaroid and Fuji Instant Cameras.
This is a potted guide to instant film cameras. When this page was first created in 2009, Polaroid had ceased making film – camera production has ended a couple of years earlier. You could find cameras for as little as $3. That has since turned around dramatically since the Impossible Project. Refurbished SX70’s go for over $400.
Polaroid made Instant cameras from the late 1940s to the late 2000s. Film production ceased in 2009. Polaroid made literary millions of these cameras, and it is not hard to find good working examples. However, make sure that you can get film for it. SX70, 600, Spectra/Image, and 100 series peal apart are available. Film packs for the box type “Swingers”, and 4x5inch large formats, is not available.
FujiFilm makes a range of what can be best described as ‘toy’ cameras that have an image area of 24mm x 36mm. However, the Instax 210 and Instax 300 take images that are 62 x 99mm in size. This is still small, but usable.
FujiFilm makes and sells 100 series colour and black and white peel apart film packs.
Kodak reverse engineered the Polaroid SX70 process and produced their own range of cameras and film. Polaroid sued and eventually won a court case. Kodak had been found to have simply turned the emulsion upside down, everything else was deemed to be essentially the same. Kodak was made to stop selling their cameras and film, and compensate buyers. There are always a few of the Kodak’s at the markets. Sometimes people try to sell them for very high amounts. They are worthless, other than as a collectors item. Any film you come across will be close to 40 years old and well beyond producing an image.
A full rundown on buying and using an Instant Camera in a recent issue of 50 Lux magazine.