Polaroid, finally united with the Impossible Project, returns to instant-film roots


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/15/polaroid-finally-united-with.html


#2

I kind of want it to shoot digital at the same time.


#3

I think there have been cameras like that in the past but they’ve never really done well. Ideally i would like this feature too but cost-wise it makes sense to keep it stripped down as to not make the camera more expensive than it needs to be.


#4

probably shows my age, but reminds me of the Japan song from the 80s - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpYoBXTnhyU


#5

And have a USB-C plug as the corner of every print


#6

Here’s my problem with the Impossible Project:

Their film is not by any definition of the word “instant”.

Fuji Instax film starts developing within seconds. It develops fast enough to watch it with awe while it does it’s thing; the colors literally pop out in front of your eyes; and the image fades in. It’s recognizable within 30 seconds, and mostly there in two minutes. Yes, it keeps going for a little while, depending on weather, but it really is pretty quick.

Fuji has kept making it all along, and it is better than ever. Too bad it only comes in small sizes.

The Impossible project, on the other hand, has had a long, hard road to hipster success by having exceptionally high prices and an exceptionally mediocre product. It’s no where near instant, it’s not as high quality of the Fuji product, and they have managed to spend years trying to replicate the Polaroid formula though careful experimentation and trial and error. (Instead of, you know, hiring people who worked at the plant who knew what they were doing. Who probably needed jobs, considering that the plant where they worked was shut down.)

It’s a product that celebrates it’s flaws and it’s imperfections; claiming a false authenticity when real authenticity could have been had for cheaper.

Besides, everyone knows that pining over land film is where it’s at these days.


#7

It looks like it takes floppy disks.


#8

I’ve been working on and off at a former Polaroid facility for the last few years. The one thing that gets me is how many people used to work here. Everyone in Eastern Massachusetts either had family or knew someone that worked here.
Don’t get me wrong I’m glad the site is being redeveloped as it’s keeping me busy, but still thinking of all the folks laid off just sucks.


#9

Who cares how much the camera is? The issue is how much is the film. And $15.99 for 8 pictures is just too much. $10 for 10 pictures was too much too, but it was workable.


#10

Ok. But why?

I think I know how to satisfy some folk:


#11

One of those times in the early years where Sony actually used an industry standard storage medium?

Fascinating!


#12

Yeah, I just noticed that little zinger while I was absorbing the price (just shy of 2€ per print). Somehow I feel less excited about the whole idea now.


#13

So this is why I suddenly got a Polaroid post in my IG feed. I thought it was just spam.


#14

I understand what you mean, but isn’t Sony part of the industry setting standards? Literally anything they chose to use would be “industry standard.”


#15

If by land film you mean the pack film used in the Land Cameras, Fuji still makes the color ISO 100 type, but has discontinued the high-ISO black and white.

Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/FUJIFILM-FP-100C-Inches-Professional-Instant/dp/B0000ALLYO

It’s pricey but it works so well outdoors and using the much more complex cameras is a lot of fun.

ETA: Looks like Fuji discontinued all pack film in 2016. I’m going to have to stock up.


#16

You totally deserve credit for that pun, intended or not.


#17

To some degree yeah, but there have been plenty of times Sony has some shenanigans with formats, connectors, chargers, etc. that offered no advantage over existing technology. Having owned point and shoots, handhelds, and other electronics i’ve had to repeatedly put up with their odd tech choices. Its not too different from how Apple likes to screw over their customers every other year by changing their chargers.


#18

Instax SQ10 is for you, then. Basically a digital camera with a built-in “printer” that images onto the Instax Mini film.


#19

No, the Impossible Project film isn’t “instant.” I have taken to referring to it as “self-developing.” :slight_smile:

However, Fujifilm didn’t go out of business so they’ve got a few years on Polaroid. When Polaroid ceased production of their instant film, their entire supply chain was dismantled. Nothing was left. The folks at Impossible came along and “rescued” the factory in the Netherlands and began to resurrect the process of making the film. Everything: the chemical soup, the negative materials, the white mask, had to be recreated and new sources found.

Sure, the Impossible film (now Polaroid Originals), is a far cry from “instant” but it’s massively improved in just the last few years and is getting better all the time.

Do I sound like an apologist? Sure. I like “instant photography” and own a handful of Polaroid and Instax cameras.

How could “real authenticity” (someone trademark that) have been had for cheaper?


#20

I am not their target consumer, not into instant but i have kept an eye on this over the years and i’d also be willing to cut the Impossible Project some slack. As you said they’ve had to reverse engineer what they could but they’re almost starting fresh