Fans of tech nostalgia, it's time to rejoice.
Film for Polaroid's old-school instant cameras went out of production in 2008, but a European company has started reproducing certain types of the film again.
A company called "the IMPOSSIBLE project" started selling the instant film on its Web site today. The price is steep, though: $21 for a 8-photo pack that develops in black-and-white.
The black-and-white film works with SX 70 Polaroid cameras from the 1970s.
Color film will be released this summer, according to news reports.
The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog has details on the difficulties of producing the film:
The Impossible Project acquired its namesake because of the complexity of the film, which has six distinct layers, (mask, receiving sheet, developer, negative, rail and mash), with each of those layers comprising of six to 10 components. Additionally, many of the key ingredients and chemicals were no longer available once Kaps and Bosman got working in the factory.
The Associated Press notes that Fujifilm produces other varieties of Polaroid-compatible film, but not this type.
By some accounts, Polaroid is making a bit of a comeback these days. Lada Gaga, the singer and fashion maven, is part of the company's publicity campaign. And Polaroid has come out with digital cameras that print photos on-the-spot, but they haven't taken off the way its vintage instant cameras did.
Even if you don't have an instant camera, there's still plenty of Polaroid entertainment to be had on the Internet these days. Flickr has a robust Polaroid-sharing community, with more than 14,000 members. There's a popular iPhone app that gives mobile-phone photos a Polaroid look (you even get to shake your camera to "develop" the prints).
And, of course, there's always that OutKast video.
Posted by: John D. Sutter -- CNN.com writer/producerFiled under: photography Polaroid
wow... now i don't have to go to wal-mart and wait. I don't even take pictures, this isn't news this is... hmm... CNN!
So much effort expended to keep a product we don't need in the age of digital cameras and that was of questionable quality at best. If you've ever seen what happens to those photos after a few years, you wouldn't waste the energy on this.
I understand nostalgia, but not everything in the good old days was all that good, just old.
Fujifilm has a system called Instax that is just like Polaroid but gives really good quality prints. Got some of kids with characters at an amusement park and was quite surprised to find a really good picture.
Digital cameras have nothing on Polaroid. Sorry, Bob. I own more that 10 different models of Polaroid cameras and they are wonderful and quirky and not perfect. But that's what's fun about them!
Digital has less soul. If you know what you are doing, they take WONDERFUL photos and if stored properly..will not fade after years.
I have photos taken from the 60's on and they still look great!
Fujifilm makes many great quality instant films. They are inexpensive and easy to find online.
I always get stopped on the street when I am taking photos with my old Polaroid. Because they are pretty damn cool, if you ask me.
Well, Avrailer(Jeremii), if you find it so uninteresting, why did you read it? Or were you by chance just cruising the news articles, looking for something to whine about?
Maybe I should have bought that polaroid camera at the garage sale last week.....Nah
I use Polaroid 600 Instant Film for art purposes and have done for several years now. When Polaroid announced they were stopping production I was shocked and quickly purchased a stock of film before it vanished. Since then the demand has just grown and it's getting harder and harder to source even expired film.
Polaroid film has a unique quality and produces shots that last decades. it's true that over time the images fade and the colour changes but I see this as positive of the film not a negative. Now days we have digital photos that always produce crisp colour accurate results but sometimes perfection is not what's desired it's creating something truly unique and a tad random.
I applaud the efforts of the impossible project and it's not small feat to resurrect this film format in any way.
Once 600 film is shipped in about a month I will be buying several boxes and hope we never see the end of this wonderful film again.
Hey, I loved my Polaroid. The darn digital cameras don't capture things in an instant, and I miss a lot.
reminds me of when all the Atari games came out on a PS3 disc :-)
Polaroid needs to build a digital camera core that will fit in the place of an instant film pack. Maybe have a couple of options for white balance, etc., to replicate the color tone of Polaroid instant prints. And, of course, put the proper borders on them. I own ... let me count ... including my cell phone, 6 digital cameras of various generations, plus two digital video cameras ... and I'd buy a Polaroid camera-pack like that just because my old SX-70 is cool.
Of course, it's never gonna happen. If Polaroid had any kind of handle on what they SHOULD be making instead of what they WANT to make, they wouldn't have lost uncounted millions on that instant movie (well, 30-second video clip) camera they pushed onto the market even after the first home video cameras came out, and they'd have been selling digital cameras that docked into portable little dye-sub printers since day 1 of the digital camera revolution, with a slogan like "Polaroid: Still Instant!" ... and there wouldn't be those huge vacant buildings around Boston. But Polaroid just doesn't get it. So we won't get little digital camera packs that click into our old SX-70's. But I can dream.
There was a time this product actually provided something in the market. However, like buggy whips.....an interesting relic from the past but of no use any longer (unless you are Amish)
Good to see that they are still making film for polaroids, it would be sad if future generations never got to use something so cool. Digital is awesome, but sometimes I find myself photoshopping and editing my photos to try to get that imperfect look that Polaroids gave. It would be fun to be able to grab an actual Polaroid and go out taking photos.
Saying that there's no use for Polaroid is ridiculous. That's like saying there's no use for drawings or paintings because we can take pictures instead. You're missing the artistry of this revolutionary product.
I literally cried when I found out they were discontinuing film production. This is the best news I've heard in a LONG time!
I have stripped the front layer of my Polaroids, and photos from the 70`s look as brilliant now as they did then, unfaded.
The old polaroid film used metal based dyes, so it resists fading. Its also toxic to manufacture.
Lady gaga has nothing to do with the-impossible-project.com
You can't forge a Polaroid.
If we're bringing the Polaroid back, then why not a revival of the photo booth? I just had a photostrip sent to me from Shutterfly and loved it. Check out their Wink application.
This is great news! I am a professional magician and had to stop performing one of my favourite effects when Polaroid stopped film production. You are right – the beauty of Polaroid pictures taken on the spot are they cannot be faked, they capture the moment, and they become treasured gifts by the spectators. Looking forward to re-introducing my torn & restored invisible card into my act here in Sydney Australia.
thank heaven i didn't choose to work for Polaroid after graduating from biz school.. talk about a company that failed to adapt.. yikes!
[...] Polaroid Instant Film Resurfaces Polaroid instant film is back … sort of – SciTechBlog – CNN.com Blogs. [...]
Does not matter to me: 30 years ago I convinced my older girlfriends with "dont worry darling, you can have the ONLY copy later, i promise.
and now i convince my younger girlfriends with "dont worry darling, you can easily erase it later, i promise"
I have a friend that is a retired mechanical design engineer for Polaroid. He won't have anything to do with the "new" Polaroid or any of the new Polaroid products.
I hear talk of how these cameras take these wonderful pictures, and the aging process of the pictures is like a patina...
There's a Photoshop filter for all that.
this is great news. i see a lot of naysayers in the comments.. but everyone should check out the iReport on the Polaroid demise that was done a year or so ago. I had some of my work featured there.
Polaroid has a strong (yet small) following that work exclusively in that medium and produces astounding art work,
For those saying there is no use for Polaroid in an age of digital, you just don't get it. There is nothing quite like a Polaroid photo. I have photos from the sixties in my collection that are still bright and brighter than other photos from the period.
I don't know, Bob. I have color Polaroids that are 30-40 years old and are still looking good, no fading, etc. I also have some from the early 80s from a "newer" Polaroid camera (SX-70 vs. Land Camera). I also have some Kodak (non-instant) prints stored in the same boxes and albums from about '78-80, that have badly faded and discolored.
RE: the above shot of Lady Gaga, does she ask to be made up like that, or does her hair dresser secretly hate her?
There is also an app for Android phones that gives your digital photo's the polaroid look, it even has the white around the edges like the old photo's do.
For all those finding something negative about this product, I feel this era will be known as the age of lost pictures in the future, with all of many familys photos on ancient hard drives at best, they may easily be all gone in 10 years. Then there is the press photographer issue, now images are edited on the fly, where in the past all the negs were kept, allowing many famous pictures to surface years and decades after they were taken, because we can search through the old negs with film and all that stuff is deleted with digital today. Just a thought.
I am 24 and I love my polaroid, turntable, VCR and black rotary phone (amongst other "old" technologies) that I use daily. Funny how NONE of my old things have broken, yet I (and others I know) have had to replaced numerous digital cams, cd players, dvd players and modern phones. You can't say I am nostalgic for something that was created before I was born and that I used only as a child. It's not only the older generation that loves these things. I am a firm believer in the older technology – I am glad things like medicine have evolved, but do I really NEED to be able to download 20,000 applications of naked guys on a phone in under 30 seconds?! I don't really know who Lady Gaga is, but if she is helping bring polaroid back and attract a new generation then I say go for it!
Lucky for those of us who love our Polaroid cameras, you can still get 600 color film on eBay.
YAY!! I love polaroid transfer art, and it's been difficult to find viable film to use. So this is great news, thank you :)
You could do truly fine art level work with many of Polaroid's professional products – their Polagraph 35mm roll film was absolutely the most beautiful film I've ever used. It's not just instant films that are gone – Kodak and Fuji have dropped many films from their product lines. Yeah, digital is "perfect" and I love it for my business – but REAL FILM brings a level of beauty that digital doesn't have, in its grain, its highlight rendering, etc. Sad to see so many films disappearing.
Polaroid's inability to adapt to today's market has much more to do with being sucked up by ponzi schemer Tom Petters. Without his takeover and shell game they would have been much farther along than they are today. I love nostalgic items for what they are. Now that Petter's is behind bars for life, now let's see what you can do Poloaroid.
Sounds like an advertisement for 'Hot Tub Time Machine'.
[...] Press notes that Fujifilm produces other varieties of Polaroid-compatible film, but not this type. MAIN SOURCE News [...]
Have you seen the latest style polaroid camera? Instead of printing out the picture, it displays instantly on a little TV screen on the back of that very camera! Some of these are even integrated into a mobile phone where you can share em out through E-lectronic mail!! Its amazin!
Digital has blown over film so quickly that I think we should all take pause, look at what we've lost, and perhaps hail moments where there are still alternatives. And mourn the loss of film that digital has currently not touched. For example, if you have never heard of it, look up Type 55 or 665 polaroid film. This is the stuff that ansel adams raved about for a good reason. Imagine an instant 4×5" or 3×4" fine grain highly dynamic b/w negative. Even a modest scan of this media will get you many times the output of anything digital today. All with equipment that will not set you back more than a few hundred bucks vs. the 20K or more you would have to spend on a high performance digital back or the like.
Now when they revive *this* film, that's when I will be jumping for joy.
[...] The Associated Press notes that Fujifilm produces other varieties of Polaroid-compatible film, but not this type. MAIN SOURCE [...]
I have a been taking pix in clubs since 1995 and Fujifilm is the way to go! Once you compare, you'll see the price & quality is WAY better (I should know) and plus, Fuji was there when Polaroid wasn't. Law enforcement, model photographers, strip club managers and people like me will agree that what Polaroid did was put a lot of us in a bad position (took me 6 weeks to find the replacement since it wasn't sold in the US). With the high price of their Polaoid film, ($2.84 per exposure as opposed to Fuj's $0.81 inc. tax). My loyalty is to Fuji!!!
Before photography, there was only charcoal and paint. There is still charcoal and paint. My point being that any art medium has those who revere its unique characteristics and are saddened by the thought of them becoming extinct because mainstream consumers cannot appreciate their aesthetic value. Granted, Polaroid's value as a consumer good is obsolete, but its artistic value will and should live on.
Keep it where it belongs...! In the history books.
I am really happy to see this happening. I am interested to get the company's contact number, and talk to them about the product. Please let me know if CNN can help me in this.
Good to hear... well this is progress, so much effort going into recreating something that everyone had and used 30+ years ago...
My Grandma would be happy... if it wasn't so expensive!
i own many polariod cameras; I am a conissuer of sorts. I think that this is a blatent insult to all I stand for. Not only have digital cameras ruined the way pictures should be taken; they now are trying to intrude on the sacred ground of polariod camera.
It may be old school and 'not needed' in our digital age, but like the Holga, Polaroid over the years has garnered a cult like gathering. Does anyone really need to use film these days? No, but like anything else, these type of things have their own little following who will fight to preserve these things.
Wow I could pend $21 for eight pics, use my old camera, and when I'm done I can scan them into my computer and have some really bad digital prints, so I can share them ... OR ... I can use my digital camera
Charles Linberg ... WTH do you mean, "the way pictures should be taken" If you refer to the way things used to be done, I suppose you enjoy the glass plates washed with siver solution
My Poloroid camera has been inactive for almost two years now.
I hope they start making the color film soon. It may be campy, by there is no other way to get an instant print from your camera.
I love how people think newer is better. Even instant film is higher "resolution" than the digital cameras people are hauling around today.
Film is still king.
This is a legit news article. Lady Gaga still looks really stupid.
After many years of working in a photo lab and from amateur classes I must say to the people who claim film is out and digital is the way....
There are certain effects and styles you can ONLY get with film, and will never be able to replicate with a digital camera, ever.
Digital is king – and analog is dead. Right? Really? No. Anybody who claims I'm wrong only need look at the turntable market. They are back. I took out my polaroid on st. patrick's day and popped it open in a bar and snapped one of my friends – they went nuts posing for the photo. Try that with your run of the mill phone camera or pocket digital camera. Polaroids make the moment. I only used some of my precious polaroid currency because I have been following the impossible project and knew more than a month ago this was coming. Right on the ball with breaking news there cnn. Long live Polaroid. Probably not – but I hope so. I've shot pack film in a 4×5, pack cameras, sx-70, 600, spectra, type 45 roll film – yes from 1947! Still my favorite photo of my parents. Again – try getting that moment – yes the moment, that thing that cameras record – from an endless fountain of pics that can issue forth like toilet paper from a digital camera. Don't get me wrong, I own a few – they are great and I extoll their cheap endless film. But you will never quite a record a moment the same way with any other camera the way you can with a Polaroid.
Instant film is back. Great. Let's roll out an increcibly wasteful product for the sake of nostalgia. The paper and chemicals used in any photo develoment are awful. I've got dozens of pictures taken with these cameras in the seventies, and they all suck.
Some of our best family photos are on Polaroid. They were mainly taken at the zoo when we were visiting my uncles!!
YOUTUBE LINK IS REMOVED...
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But I love the Impossible Project :D
So disappointed with CNN for showing that moron Gaga in a photo for a story having absolutely nothing to do with her. At her age she's unlikely to have ever touched a Polaroid. Good job, idiots.
Wow, now its time to bring back the 8 Track, the Attari 5200 controllers, ect......
Avrailer(Jeremii), you know what? The internet's plenty big. There's room for stories you're not interested in. I found it interesting enough to read, and despite your comment you apparently did as well. I'm sure the internet, and this site, would be just wonderful if it ONLY APPEALED TO YOU, but thankfully, you're not that important.
Lada Gaga? Sheesh.
With all the great digital cameras out there & very inexpensive processing, why do people really want to hold onto Polaroid cameras, which didn't take great photos, with film packs that would cost about $15 for 10 photos (do you really want to pay $1.50 for a photo???). It's an outdated camera.
It was more fun to take photos when photography was all new and not everyone had a camera. The good old days were good in the old days because we remember the good parts. It is not that film was better than digital. Nobody looks at photos anymore. I don't even bring a camera on my holiday now because all the photos of these places are online now.
A picture of Lady Gag-Gag. Give me a break! She's so ugly, she'd break the lens of a camera!!!
I have to admit it hasn't been long since I switched over to a digital camera. I loved my old polaroid instant camera but sometimes it is time to just move on.....
Shaking the Polaroid print to make it develop faster became unnecessary in the 80s. This was something you only had to do with the early Polaroid film. I always thought it was funny to see people mindlessly shaking their Polaroids while they developed. I actually heard that it could do more harm than good as it could cause separation from the chemicals in the bottom area, preventing it from fully developing.
I didn't realize there where so many Polaroid fans. Hey if you enjoy using one, and can get film for it, good for you. But, come on, today polaroids are nothing more than nostalgia and novelty for most people. I have owned polaroids, 110's, 35mm, and currently have a Sony digital SLR. Comparing my Sony to a polaroid is like comparing a model T to a 2010 Corvette. Someone made the comment that digital cameras 'no soul', I have news for ya, niether do polaroids don't have souls either. Its a camera, not a living thing. A polaroid can't touch the flexibility of a digital SLR (or 35mm for the matter), like the Hasselblad H3D II for expressing ones creativity photographically. As far as the 'instant gratification' factor someone else mentioned, alot of newer digital SLR's have large LCD screen to view the pic you just shot, until you can print it or view it on your home computer. As far as the longevity of a polaroid print, I have one left from 20 years ago, faded, but the image is still recognizble. I stored it alongside 35mm's I took during the same time period, and the 35mm's have held up much better.
We owe a great deal to Polaroid. Back in the 60s, the study of plasma (the sun type, not blood) led to groundbreaking work here in the US due to scope results captured immediately with Polaroid film. Russian scientists had only old-school equipment which delayed their research to the point of stanation.
For those of you who are saying "this isn't news" let me just say: you're mostly right, this is a blog. A science and technology blog at that. They post science or technology related things that they believe us readers will find interesting, useful, or whatever.
Personally I think it's great that someone's keeping this type of technology going.
OK, now bring back my Kodachrome and no one will get hurt! :-)
Wow, I'm glad it will be back. I miss being able to burnish, etch and manipulate the emulsion to give subjects halos, shoot daggers from their eyes, or give surfaces a weird, abalone shell-like texture. I also have an AM-FM portable radio that was a promo item from Polaroid that uses "AA" batteries OR the used film packs, with their built-in battery as a power source! Sustainability and recycling long before it was popular. Then again, I'm pretty old-school and I'm shopping for a new turntable to replace my old one, and I still use a VCR.
polaroid? Where is my super 8 film?
[...] http://scitech.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/25/.../ The Impossible Project Site: [...]
as an elementary teacher, there are many times when i would take an instamatic photo let the kids watch the picture 'magically' appear. i still have my instamatic camera and hope that film for it will one day be the norm instead of a fad. yes, i take digitals all of the time, but with the printers at school breaking down left and right, who knows when i'll be able to print my photos? i could always count on getting a picture with my instamatic. :)
My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE use of the old Polaroid cameras is at sporting events. I went to the Indian Wells tennis tournament a few weeks ago and I took my Polaroid and got some great pictures with the players on the practice courts. As they were developing I had the players autograph the white part on the film. BAM! Personalized autographs instantly!
This is GREAT! My grandparents gave me an SX-70 just a week ago! I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to use it...until I found out that there was no way I could without modifying other film products. Now it looks like I can get some use out of it!
Groovy news! Some of my favorite photos from childhood were taken with a Polaroid by my dad. I came across a Polaroid Land Camera at an estate sale the other day for $5 in pristine condition with unopened film and developer! I can't wait to try it out! For all of those venting their negativity, remember ... life is short. Hope you feel better tomorrow. La...la...la. =)
I read all the comments to this point and I have to say as a graphic designer I have used all types of cameras in my life. I was one of the first to jump into digital when others said it would never catch on. I think the one thing that makes the Polaroid SX-70 and 600 films and pictures unique is that if you really look at one, because of the several layers that make up the film it almost looks as if you can reach in and touch it. I think there should be respective utilization of the technology and I am glad to hear the film will be there. I think the bigger issue is going to be that if Polaroid makes a cheap $30.00 camera chances are the results will be terrible. Personally I would look for one of the SLR models that were developed under Edwin Land. He understood quality.
It's great that this is coming back. To all the nay-sayers: it's a matter of personal choice. Just because *you* don't see the point doesn't mean it won't bring joy to someone else.
And it isn't always a matter of nostalgia; this stuff was around before I was ever conceived, yet I think it's great! I will probably never use a Polaroid, but I can see the beauty in them and understand why someone would want to.
Someone else made a great point about planned obsolescence. I have a camera that is 100+ years old, but it still takes great black and white pictures. How many times have we had modern stuff break down or fall apart just in time to buy the newest model?
Digital cameras are subject to the technology current when it is built; but you can stick a roll of film in almost any camera [perhaps with a slight modification to the camera itself] and still take photographs.
Now if only Kodak would bring back color infrared film! I only have one roll left!!
digital cameras are really great because you can shoot and preview the pictures right away ,*.
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