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Polaroid stops production of Instant Film


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#1 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 12:41 AM

As I know that several members of this forum use Polaroid instant film for various purposes on set and privately, I thought I'll post this here:

The BBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post reports today in Breaking News that Polaroid will stop production of all instant film formats by closing its three remaining instant film manufacturing plants.

Polaroid will close these plants gradually over the next months and thus drop manufacturing all its range of instant films:

This encompasses large-format sheetfilm and packfilm made in Massachasetts, medium-format packfilm produced in Mexico, and small-format integralfilm made in the Netherlands.

Polaroid is actively seeking for parties that are interested in licensing the instant film technologies in hopes that another firm will continue making the films to supply professional and amateur photographers using Polaroid instant film for the many various usages it remains strong in. (so in essence it's about economies of scale, here :huh: )

Accumulated production of instant film is projected to be available through sales channels until 2009 to 2010, and maybe longer in specialist outlets such as the Viennese Unsaleable.com / Polanoir.com / Polanoid.net combine.

Afterwards, Fuji (i.e. Fujifilm) will remain the single manufacturer of instant film for their proprietary integralfilm cameras, as well as for Polaroid-compatible medium-format packfilms and large-format sheetfilms. Current instant film offerings include:

Compatible with Polaroid 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 medium-format packfilm ("Type 100", also known as "Type 660")...

* FP-100c, ISO 100, pro grade color, comparable to Polaroid 690
* FP-100b, ISO 100, black and white, comparable to Polaroid 664
* FP-3000b, ISO 3000, black and white, comparable to Polaroid 667

Compatible with Polaroid "Type 500" packfilm versions of the old "Type 50" sheetfilm...

* FP-100c45, ISO 100, pro grade, comparable to Polaroid 579 and Polaroid 79


Cheers,

-Michael



EDIT: Inclusion of Polaroid 55 photography, which I declare as being ©.

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 02:30 AM

That's sad. Type 55 is one of my favorite films in 4x5. Beautiful stuff to contact print, especially in platinum/palladium.
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#3 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 03:51 AM

Indeed! I just added an attachment of a Polaroid 55 to help visualise the beauty to those here who don't know what we are on about.
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#4 Nick Mulder

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:51 AM

That's sad. Type 55 is one of my favorite films in 4x5. Beautiful stuff to contact print, especially in platinum/palladium.


Another Pt/Pd printer here ?

cool!

I shoot 8x10 - many films, usually soup in PMK Pyro, been doing some ziatype recently but my new NA2 chems are really shining too (PotOx dev) ...

Whats your process ?
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:46 PM

Another Pt/Pd printer here ?

cool!

I shoot 8x10 - many films, usually soup in PMK Pyro, been doing some ziatype recently but my new NA2 chems are really shining too (PotOx dev) ...

Whats your process ?


Haven't done any for a while, since I left school and now lack a free darkroom. Last stuff was usually 5x7 fomapan 200 in HC110. Sometimes I would use FP4 in very dilute D76.

I haven't done as much Pt/Pd as I would like to. It gets so expensive and I am less than a year out of college...in Los Angeles. :ph34r:
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#6 Nick Mulder

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 08:11 PM

Haven't done any for a while, since I left school and now lack a free darkroom. Last stuff was usually 5x7 fomapan 200 in HC110. Sometimes I would use FP4 in very dilute D76.

I haven't done as much Pt/Pd as I would like to. It gets so expensive and I am less than a year out of college...in Los Angeles. :ph34r:


5x7 is perfect - get yourself an 8x10 paper safe (cheap as chips) and convert it into a tray developer (hose in and out) - then you only need a room that is dark (as opposed to a darkroom) to load it - everything else can be done in light ... I regularly print in Platinum with just the blinds pulled at midday.

HC110 is pretty cheap, as is PMK pyro perhaps try the Czech Arista films - Ziatype uses strictly Palladium, about half the price if not less of Pt salts. Ziatype works very well on the Weston Diploma Parchment paper, which is a lot chaper than say COT320 or Platine ...

As you are probably aware once you've got a spot meter it's a great hobby for any cinematographer to learn the chemical effects of film on contrast - push/pull - and general zone-system-esque approches to lighting, stock choice etc...
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:26 PM

As you are probably aware once you've got a spot meter it's a great hobby for any cinematographer to learn the chemical effects of film on contrast - push/pull - and general zone-system-esque approches to lighting, stock choice etc...


Definitely. I've learned a great deal from shooting large format. From the finer points of composition to using movement subtly and tastefully, to a great deal about focus and optics that I regularly apply to AC work. Great fun, too!
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#8 Michael Waite

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:06 AM

It's a sad day hearing about the demise of Polaroid. There'll be some pissed off street portrait photographers in Mexico City as I saw a few guys making their living producing polaroid portraits in front of city landmarks. Glad I had a few done while I was there.
Apparently Polaroid material doesn't keep well so no point stocking up with 10 years of supplies. It's the developers that go bad rather than the film material. I think I will just shoot as much as I can & then forget it when it's gone. That's what I'm doing with Kodachrome. I'll be sad when it's discontinued but hopefully will feel I made the most of it while I could.
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#9 Tim Carroll

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 12:25 PM

Guess I'll have to mount my old 195 and display it in my office since I won't be able to shoot with it anymore. Great old camera.

-Tim
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 12:26 PM

I thought the Instant Film was already sold to and distributed by another firm about a year ago, still sold under the Polaroid name?
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#11 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:06 PM

I had heared rumours like that too, but all Polaroid film stocks I bought up until now I get directly through Polaroid.co.uk's Online Shop or through Jessop's professionals' store at New Oxford Street. All in original Polaroid packacking and legal addresses. So no changes there whatsoever.

Personally, having experienced that "Oh poop, the monopoly company is axing the format" bruhaha with Kodachrome 40 in Super 8, I am relatively relaxed about the future of Polaroid instant film.

There was complete mayhem then about Super 8 and that Kodak would axe it, and Fuji then axing Single 8 as well half a year later. And now, 3 years on, we have much more film stocks at our disposal than ever, with striving third party suppliers no-one had predicted a while back, and Single 8 was even re-entered to the market by Fuji (and frankly, I really don't know how many people on this planet shoot Single 8 ?!?!).

I am sure that large-format packfilm and sheetfilm will be gone, and I think that even some integralfilms like either the 600 or Image/Spectra might be in jeopardy as they are too much targeting the "gone-digital" consumer market, but the user base for medium-format packfilm is solid in art, nude, architecture and alternative scene photography, plus the "testing polaroid" ritual in large-format fashion photography. I think a company with reduced production, streamlined economies of scale, direct sales channels and no overhead as huge as Polaroid had it, might pull it off to take over that part of the technology.

So particularly a 195 might not yet end up in a show display, Tim. My converted 110B Pathfinder isn't yet too worried about retirement ;-) .
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