Discontinuing Polaroid Instant films?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by bill_taylor|2, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. BBC World Service just announced that Polaroid is cutting out production of
    instant films. they ran a short piece on how instant has been in decline since
    the advent of digital cameras. However, I just visited the Polaroid web site
    and I do not find a Press release about it. So who to believe, Polaroid, or the

    I'll fully admit to not using instant films for previews. For what I shoot, I
    feel I have enough visualization skills to take a chance on a few sheets of
    film. But, I don't have thousands of dollars in advertising on the line when I
    snap the shutter either.
  2. http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00OL0A&unified_p=1

    Yup, last sale date is the end of 2009 -- if they don't run out sooner.

    There's Fuji for B&W pack films.
  3. if true, there is always fuji instant films. I use 100b all the time in my 250 model. it's
    slightly cheaper than polaroid, too.
  4. Theis subject is also being discussed in this older thread of this forum, revived yesterday: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00OGFb. The best source of information seems to be an article in the Boston Globe, which is linked to in the other threads. Might as well give a link here: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2008/02/08/polaroid_shutting_2_mass_facilities_laying_off_150/
  5. Polaroid closed a plant in Boston and may close others.
    It is true that instant films have declined in the consumer market since in the 1980s you could find some peel apart films in any supermarket.

    But in the pro world there is a high demand for " some" emulsions"

    The need to adjust to the new market where a product is no longer a viable consumer product for mass consumption where many emulsions are made and one day people even in the pro end start using the digital camera for the purpose of preview and composition and then shoot film as final product.

    I have used Polaroid as final product for the last 10 years but very little to test shooting sets as preview.

    What has been announced recently and confirming what I posted in this website in September of 2007 Polaroid would continue to make these films( making reference to specific professional films in high demand) elsewhere on a year to year evaluation which has been the case for years.

    If the effort of manufacture would not justify the effort of a large corporation to just make a few films they would license the technology to other film makers.

    That was confirmed as well in the announcement of the plant closure.

    I believe that the most desirable films will continue to be available without any change in the short term from the existing stock which is enough for 2 years.

    I also believe that Fuji who makes a instant film which many Pro's consider sharper and truer r anyway and a 4000 asa black and white film with 1/3 of the grain of T57 and also a 100asa black and white print will obtain the license for manufacture of T55 and the 8x10 sizes and quite frankly Fuji already makes all other required emulsions including tungsten film.

    I had been told for years that while the pro market continued to be healthy for some emulsions and even stronger than in previous years the setup had become more of a distraction as the company had ceased making cameras almost 2 decades ago and had moved its resources to research new technologies.

    To get an idea of the film versus digital and the concern that film photography is close to extinction a few new films in the Large format were recently introduced by large makers and the film manufacturing business is simply getting de centralized from the 2 or three large monopolies and some boutique size manufacturers find that the share of the market warrants the efforts for a small enterprise.

    Well the share of the market for instant films is as large or larger
    than 4 years ago( on specific proffesional emulsions).

    It is very appealing for a company already making emulsions but a distraction and diversion to a large corporation focusing their efforts on other tech.

    I can understand that because I am constantly tempted to do things which may be useful such as making parts but which would divert my time from what I should be concentrating on and so I rather obtain the services and products and reliance from those who specialize in such services .

    I was informed that Kodak has just improved Tmax films as they claim and a few I have asked have said its true.

    Obviously that will be under certain conditions as if your developer is stronger than recommended or you use extreme times the improvement would be less visible and then not every film appeals to everyone. but us in the imaging world have not always been quick to recognize that in the past we were a minority in the usage of wet or instant films whereas now we have become the market per se.

    In the past we benefited from the volume sales to the consumer market and based our expectancies of reliance based on that.

    It is unrealistic and unfair to ourselves to dial a number which is no longer in service and say you are surprised no one answered the call and furthermore disappointed and we should not resist or interfere if someone else wants to make these films instead.

    We are now the market for films as opposed to a part of it as was the case in the past and I have to agree that the instant films side of it would be better of as a side or extension of an existing film maker than as a side business for a Corporation who is focusing on other things

    I spoke to a few shooters about this and they said they agree and the proof could be that Fuji was able to incorporate newer emulsion tech to instant films as a result of their wet film tech research and bring instant film photography to the requirements of pros in the new millennium.

    Licensing issues and distribution prevented certain emulsions and packaging from certain markets .

    Just to give you an example of this Fuji makes a system similar to the Grafmmatic which is called " QUCKCHANGE" and not available in the US which has a 10 sheet cartrige and the film comes packaged in cassettes of 10 shots.

    I have used it on 3 occasions where reloading would have been an issue and on one day I needed to shoot close to 1000 exposures the other 425 and the other 380 and was able to do so without assistants; in the middle of nowhere and without any changing bags .

    All I needed was a rental car with a big trunk and half of it was unexposed cartridges and half was for the used ones.

    2small investors who are interested in obtaining license for continuation on the most desirable emulsions but I have the feeling that one of the large film makers will soon announce that talks for licensing are under way or license has already been granted.

    The whole thing would just be a brand change or packaging change and there is nothing to speculate about what quality to expect in the future since some of the emulsions sold under the current brand were manufactured by Fuji or other companies in recent years already.

    I think it would be more important to get the quick-change system available in the US than worry about whether Polaroid will be making the instant film or if it will be Fuji since they already make some.

    the septum's are plastic and can only be reloaded a few times but if it was sold thru photo distributors and available thru photo stores or the internet then we would not have to reload at all and that would be great.

    Some say T55 is only good because of its off beat borders . I disagree but there has been occasions where we shot the job with other films and then used the borders from old T55 negs as a frame.

    I don't think one needs to worry that the picture and the frame must be packaged together.

    Since in the end one only uses a few final frames it is quite easy to use scans of old T 55 negs as frames for other pictures as a background in Photoshop by pasting the selected image onto an old T55 neg.

    and by the way you can do the same on 8x10.

    I have the feeling that the bottom line is that future instant films may be made in China if Polaroid stops manufacture entirely . that a few print emulsions which dont sell will disapear and that beyond that nothing else will change.

  6. William, I think you're off on a couple of things. First, from what I read, they are closing the remaining plants altogether, so there will be no other plants. Second, Fuji makes an instant color film, but I use the B&W Polaroid 4x5 now. The borders on Type 55 are not off beat unless your film is outdated or your back is in bad shape. Borders are not the reason I use this film, nor the reason I think a lot of people do. It's because there is an instant result and it prints very nicely when properly exposed, and dust is less of a problem, requiring must less post-printing touchup.

    Perhaps someone will license the film for production, but I would imagine it's a ways off in the future. In the meantime, the solution for me will be to shift to readyload films like Acros and Tri-X. I look at my old 4x5 holders and dread the thought of using them again.
  7. I have to side with William here. I also hear that market has stabilized / increased for large format and instant large format. Fuji makes superior B&W and color peel apart and integral films already. I LOVE instant film but when I review my purchase history...about 80% of it is for Fuji materials. What does that say about the future?

    Michael, I believe you can use an old Polaroid 500 holder to mount the Fuji 4x5 B&W film packs on your 4x5 camera.

    So, the missing pieces are a 59/669-type emulsion, a P/N emulsion, single sheet 4x5s, single sheet 8x10s, and 600-size integral film packs. I can see 51, 52, 56, and maybe Spectra falling by the wayside. Developing any of these products is not rocket science given what they already produce.

    The film industry is changing and consolidating. Consolidation means that the survivors need to make more film. The same thing has happened to E-6 developers...they are busy because they have less competition. More volume makes production lines more profitable. Seems pretty simple.

    Polaroid didn't announce the end of instant film production because it was unprofitable. We are paying about $4.50 per exposure for 4x5 film! They quit because they don't want to be in the film business anymore. The delay until now perhaps had to do with legal obligations to continue providing film to a variety of large customers through the end of 2009.

    The most important thing Fuji can do is act fast, increase its US distribution and visibility, and let industrial and commercial customers know that alternatives exist before they trash their gear and move on.
  8. Do a Google search for Polaroid and click on "News Results for Polaroid" and get as many news links as you need to comfirm the discontinuance. Bloomberg is one of many.
    Polaroid is willing to license their film products to an independent manufacturer.
  9. I have been using Fuji in all but 8x10 anyway. But does anyone have any ideas on 8x10
    instant proofing? And I just bought a new Calumet (wonderful) 8x10 processor for 809!
  10. PS: I guess I was just whining last night! A thought ... the fine art photographer, Michael
    Smith, fought back when Kodak discontinued his Azo contact paper
    (www.michaelandpaula.com). He organized a bunch of fine art guys and had another paper
    manufacturer make the Azo for them. I think he raised well into the six figures and pulled
    it off. So if enough people want the polaroids ... or we can go to Fuji and ask for special
    runs of the other products. Anyone know someone at Fuji who can push the button on
    8x10 film?

  11. Michael;
    Fuji has made 2 B/W Fuji films . one is 100 and the other 3000.
    I would not concern myself with what is currently make- no longer make because if they obtain license they could make them all
    the reason some Polaroid type emulsions are not currently made by Fuji is because there are distribution agreements and other business type issues.

    One of the major reasons the Polaroid 4x5 business declined is distribution and the film pricing . On the other hand Fuji has a very strong distribution network worldwide for their film products and does not need to depend solely on the US and main European countries when considering the viability of a product and so the cost can be way less. it would have been way less before but pricing agreements prevented that too.

    Most of my customers are Pro's or dedicated amateurs and shoot wet films and 7 % shoot Polaroid and half of that said they would switch to wet films if instant films were no longer available in the future . honestly I doubt that PN will cease to be available

    Polaroid was bought in 2001 after the original company had declared bankruptcy so none of the old company remained and last time around we continued to be able to obtain " Polaroid" film but while the brand remained unchanged the source was a different as it was a corporation which had acquired the whole company .

    What has changed now is that the current owner of the name wishes to retain the brand for other products and services and license just the film side of the business and so instead of having a repeat scenario of 01 when the whole thing was up for grabs "they" now say they are getting out of the film end of the business so as to distance the Polaroid name which they wish to retain from it being perceived as
    instant photography which we appreciate over here but as you have read that to the consumer market instant film is quasi historic and the corporation needs to separate new tech from what is perceived as declining now rather than at a point where they have to close it because nobody wants it.that would not be good for the name. it is hard to come to grips over here than a corporate name could be more valuable than the films since we hear Polaroid and immediately think of film and that is just the point.

    It is a no win situation for them or us that things would continue as they were because they were unwilling to try PN 8x 10 and a myriad of other great options because making film was not their trade but a branch of a corporation they aquired.

    One of the Original big kahunas that retired in 01 told me that the new owners were interested in the corporation for newer tech and would keep the film end of the business until the market stabilized and they also had the time to sort things out.

    but that doesn't mean that on our smaller scale we should be reading all the wrong signs.

    The Brand name is priority to them at present and so I am informed that the instant film aspect is also important but now needs to be scaled to the reality of the new market which is basically professional and artistic as opposed to consumer and industrial which has declined significantly

    perhaps some people think of "Polaroid" as in the Edwin Land days.

    That ended in 2001 and on that day all accountability for the way business was conducted went out the door along with the old crew.

    After that day what you have is an investment group who bought a corporation called Polaroid and as far as I'm concerned they did a good job with supply of the films.
    You cannot assign any historical liability to them for what happened previously and as far as I'm concerned the ball is still rolling and they are doing what is required to license the tech to someone who can do a good job.

    As it is an investment group they stand to make a substantial profit if someone takes over the manufacture whereas if it all stops they don't make a dime so I know they are the first ones interested in ensuring a smooth transition.

    I never bought T55 for the borders I think that is deja vu a la eniemme , sometimes used the borders for the look but most the times cropped them but many who don't use it believe that the borders is why people use it.

    Michael; don't use the regular Holders. Schneider says in their site that you loose at least 2mm of parallelism film flatness or however you want to call it if you do and that is 20x the acceptable error as 1/10 of a mm is enough for infinity to be off in a RF camera to make everything softer. 20x is several F stops wasted for nothing.

    Use a grafmatic it holds the film flatter than anything else and the septum is spring-loaded onto the film plane and by using shim stock which has the actual thickness of your film you can improve the septums by tapping them into 0 parallelism error .. or use readyload

    I expect to be speaking with Fuji soon . do not expect any announcements yet as it is too early judging from the press release wording but Fuji always wanted to get more of such products into the US market .

    I think its time for a change. film is an expendable and not caviar 50-60 bucks for 20 shots of 4x5 is too much for a student not too mention the 8x10 which can cost 150 bucks a box.?

    the sales of instant films declined.............. 1 box 8x10 150.00 .
    if Fuji made it they could sell it for 80.00 and make a profit and the 4x5 could cost 22-28

    Most of my 4x5 shooting costs me 50 cents per sheet . I don't contact and just make a low res scan to edit and then a hi res of the stuff I like and I would like to see this film go back to costing 20-30 bucks which is something realistic .

    Sorry for my long posts on this issue but I just had a small winfow of time in which to make them and lots of data . now i have to get back to work. if there is anything of interest as new developments in the licencing aspect i will gladly post further.

    Thanks cheers w

  12. No, I get it. I hope you're right about someone picking up the P/N film. When I used the most P/N film was when it was in the $3 range, but when it got to $4+ I had to think about it more. I do use Kodak, and Fuji Acros B&W readyloads/quickload. It's just that the workflow is much different (and longer). I'll be making due with that apparently. Unfortunately I bought a bunch of Type 55 stock the last time we heard the 4x5 films would cease to exist, and the last of it is going bad, despite storing it well.
  13. Any chance this will result in production of a 665-type packfilm by Fuji?
  14. Here is a link to which instant films are currently made by Fuji
    and I called them and pleased to inform there is absolutelly no plans for discontinuation of instant film photography

  15. I found the contact info for the Fuji rep to our area who is one of the first owners of my product from before we introduced it to the public in 01 and because NYC market for them has such a high concentration of pro photographers If someone would know the answers to these questions I expect it would be him.

    I have left a message and sent email with the questions regarding p/n films ; he is traveling and will return by the 20th.

    If I receive a response before then I will post it.
  16. Although we'd all like to know about the future of instant film, the facts probably won't be
    available for many months. I'm sure negotiations are under way to see what company or
    companies want to take on the task of producing instant film. Fuji, of course, is an obvious
    choice. However, other companies may pop up. For example, the company that makes the
    SX-70 Blend film might come into the picture and produce 600 film. I'm not looking for a
    bidding war...but one may come out of this. Only time will tell...unfortunately.
  17. Let's launch a campaign to save Polaroid film! How shortsighted can a company be to discontinue making one of the most amazing photographic materials? Just look at the beautiful images created by photographers using the different types of Polaroid film on Polaroid's own website: http://www.polaroid.com/studio/artists/hartzell/index.html
    I've been using the Polaroid positive/negative film for years. The edge of the image, the tonalities...A photo made with Polaroid film has a certain quality to it that makes it unique.
  18. I work for Ritz Camera they definitly don't make film cameras anymore. Everything Polaroid we have left is clearance. I just bought a 600 Pro for 15 bucks. That's the only Polaroid camera left in the warehouse and we're not getting anymore. They're done. That's it. They only make shitty digital point and shoots now.
  19. going, going....gone.


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