16 December 2012

Instant Photo is NOT Polaroid!!!

It irks me to hear people saying how they love their Polaroids when I realised that they are referring to their Fujifilm Instax cameras and films.
Comparison of the sizes of the different formats: Top left - Impossible Project film taken in 2010. Top right - Original 600 film taken in 2009. Middle left - Fuji FP-3000 peel apart film. Middle right - Fuji FP-100C peel apart film. Bottom - Instax mini film.

To set the record straight, Polaroid Corporation is a company that started in 1937 by this great man named Edwin H. Land. One of the reasons why he started the idea of instant photography is because his daughter asked him why she could not see the photo he had taken of her immediately. So he had this vision of coming up with a camera that can instantly print your images onto something you can hold in your hand. And so he came up with a foldable single lens reflex (SLR) known as the SX-70. That is the pinnacle of Polaroid in the 1970s when instant photography took off and bloomed.

In 2008, Polaroid Corporation announced the the end of analog instant films. With that, Florian Kaps and Andre Bosman (both former employees in Polaroid Corporation) announced the The Impossible Project in 2009 to reignite instant films for the Polaroid cameras. In 2010, The Impossible Project team came up with 2 monochromatic films that are compatible with the SX-70 and 600 cameras. They have since went on to release color films and are in the midst of perfecting the stability and colors of the films, with the latest being PX70 (for SX-70) and PX680 (for 600 cameras). The results look good and I will be awaiting their review before I plunged into them again.

Original Polaroid 600 films taken in 2009 which retain their color VERY WELL! Taken with a Polaroid 636 Closeup camera.

Besides Polaroid, Fujifilm has also dwell into the market of instant photography, named the Instax series. They were marketed since the late 1990s and are based upon the improvements Kodak made to Polaroid's instant films. From 2008 until the announcement of The Impossible Project, Fujifilm was the only integral instant film company.

First few batches of Impossible Project films taken in 2010 with a SX-70 which have uneven emulsion and strange color hue (top left) and badly faded colors (top right).

There you have it. The difference between Instax, Polaroid and instant photography. I mean, I can understand that Polaroid was famous for instant photography in the past, but they have forsaken their roots and went the digital way. Fujifilm Instax and FP series have received rave in recent years due to their color stability of the film and their production of various models of instant cameras.

Instax mini films by Fujifilm which has excellent colors and stability. Photo taken 2011.

So please ! STOP ! referring Instax films as Polaroids and vice versa! They are different! Don't make yourself appear like a noob by saying that. I have had friends who bought Instax cameras and told me they bought a new Polaroid. I was expecting a SX-70 or Land cameras but they told me they bought a Mini 7s. (-__-!!!) So please don't make a fool of yourself and start using the right terminology.



  1. this annoys me so much too... especially when i search for "polaroids" on instagram, i just see a bunch of instax photos. UGH.

  2. Actually, Edwin Land came out with instant roll film for Land cameras after his daughter's query. If you're going to be a know it all in service to being elitist, try to look like you actually know it all.