Visit my new blog

I´ve decided to split my blog in two. I will continue to post DIY projects and musings here, but (serious) pictures, taken on film of course, will be posted in my new blog "Silver Halides"

I now consider Caffenol to be a developer like any else. As such the new blog will focus more on the pictures, rather than the process.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Polaroids - yes instant film

I´ve recently started trying out instant pack film. Though Polaroid no longer make film, others do. Fuji make pack film for 4x5 and the 100 type film (3 1/4" x 4 1/4"). The Impossible project make another variant of films for the 600 type cameras including the SX-70 family and for Polaroid backs (for a number of MF cameras - the 600/600SE pro cameras amongst others).

I blame Michael Raso at the for this, its his fault and his alone ;-) He´s an advocate for all things Polaroid. Making a long story short I got hold of a Land Camera 250 in original case with #268 M3 bulb flash and portrait lens kit. I first converted the camera to use 3xLR03/AAA batteries instead of the arcane #531 4.5V battery. I then removed the #268 flash from its mount and screwed on a hot shoe with PC sync chord. I can now use the kit with any electronic flash I choose. So far I´ve used the Sunpak 1600M, but due to limited output I will be trying out an SB26 instead. What about M vs X sync you say? And you would be right. The X sync flash should have finished it´s cycle when the M sync shutter opens making the flash redundant, but for some reason or another it works.

This is what the camera looks like:
With Sunpak 1600M
With case and accessories

It´s winter and for the most part not much daylight. So Fuji´s FP3000B B+W film has been put through its paces. At 3000 ASA, it can be used both indoors and out handheld, without flash (at least that´s what the ads say) - even if the Land Camera 250 (and all its automatic brethren) has a max aperture of f8.8). Indeed it does work outdoors in rather poor light, indoors however I´ve been using flash.

Indoors, with portrait kit and Sunpak 1600M
4 TLRs shot with Land Camera 250, FP3000B, Sunpak Flash
Outdoors in overcast low light, adjusted camera to +1 (lighten) exposure
Land Camera 250, FP3000B +1EV

This is fun, lots of fun. Its immediate, yet old school. I´ve ordered more film, including a few cases of FB100C 100ASA colour film.

Background for those unfamiliar with Polaroid pack film Land Cameras, and instant pack film:

The Land cameras are named after their inventor, the Polaroid mastermind Edwin Land. Read up about him, he was a brilliant mind, and one of Steve Jobs´greatest inspirations. He invented not only polarising glass, and founded the Polaroid company, at one time a massive company in any right. He also invented instant film photography. Pack film applies a method where a negative and positive are co-developed. After exposing a frame one pulls the pair out of the camera through a set of rollers which squeezes chemicals out of a sachet and in between the negative and print (positive) and development starts. Wait for a number of seconds and peel the print from the negative and you have a ready image. Its as easy as that. The negative can in some cases (some films) be kept and used for scanning. And others even for regular enlargement printing. The FP3000B B+W negative can be scanned as a negative reflective media, and then inverted in post processing. The TLR picture above is such a scan.

With regards to technical quality Polaroids do not exactly make claim to the top spot. But that is besides the point. Its immediacy is its party trick. I indeed intend to use it a parties and give away the prints, keeping the negatives for scanning.

Good Polaroid film resources: , The land list , Jim´s Polaroid Camera Collection , Fuji Film (note that Instax films are not traditional Polaroid type, but another instant technology) and The Impossible Project films


  1. I have a Polaroid that belonged to my father and used roll film. Thanks for the Polaroid resources. I'll see if anyone is thinking about making the roll film again.

  2. Good luck with your adventures in Polaroid. I think the Land cameras are a dying breed, though. I got rid of mine last year, as Fuji have stopped making their pack films and the Impossible Project's 100 series films are all old stock, not being replenished, just repackaged. It's a tragedy to fall in love with something just as it's becoming extinct.
    Impossible Project is the only hope for Polaroid photography, and to keep up with that you'll need a 600-type camera or an SX-70. I tried Impossible's film for a while but it is so expensive and so temperamental that it didn't feel worth it to me, despite the occasionally sublime results. The hit rate is just too low.

  3. Fuji still do FP100C and FP3000B pack films in 2 1/4 x 3 1/4. They have discontinued many others though, FP100B quite recently, and very sadly all 4x5 versions it would seem.