Photography

Shooting Polaroid 600 film

I’ve decided I’m done with integral-film Polaroid cameras. Pricey film and meager results — not enough pleasure for the cost.

Polaroid OneStep 600So I listed all of my integral-film cameras on eBay —  except for my SX-70, which I still find enormously fascinating, even though I will almost certainly not shoot it again.

One last pack of expired 600 film lurked in my fridge, so I put it into my OneStep 600 (pictured) for a final hurrah. I burned through the entire pack in an hour.

Despite storing this pack cold, it deteriorated heavily over another pack I got at the same time but shot in late 2012. Much more of the photosensitive material had pulled away from the corners, and colors had shifted badly. Compare these photos to photos from the other pack here.

My favorite shot from the pack is this one of a Panera Bread store, because the green corners frame the building so well.

Pantera

I was out for a haircut; the fellow who cuts my hair works in this strip mall.

TJ's

I shot the rest of the pack close to home. Here’s my front stoop. We’ve had a little snow.

Stoop

My neighbor’s gable isn’t truly the same color as the sky, but this film sure couldn’t tell it.

Neighbor's gable

Meet my front door. I really dislike the sailboat door knocker. You’d think that after living here 7½ years I’d’ve done something about it.

Front door

Here’s another entry into a small collection of “Why didn’t the shutter fire….Drat” photos of my forehead. Unfortunately, this used up the remaining bulb in the flashbar that came with the camera.

Why didn't the shutter fire?...oh.

So long, integral-film instant photography. From now on, when I have a hankering for pronto prints, I’ll put a pack of FP-100C into my Colorpack II. I’ll save money and get better images.

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22 thoughts on “Shooting Polaroid 600 film

  1. Instant photographie with Impossible Films ist an experimental photographie anyway, I’m trying it with three or four different Land cams in the moment and am not amused in all times. If you want some really natural pics with beautyfull colors like early original Polaroid Film, you have to use Fujifilm Instax 200 Wide with an Instax Instant Camera. That’s nice and analoge, but not really vintage… But the shooting is without problems and the camera is some kind of monster – like a huge digital kid’s cam for giants ;-)

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  2. I couldn’t read your whole text down to the bottom, because of using a smartphone. Now I recocnize you’ve got a Packfilm cam as well! I did’nt try the Fujifilm FP100C yet, but I think it will be not quite different from the Instax Wide. I only used the black and white Fujifim FP3000B in the 1960th Polaroid Automatic (I’ve got ten in the fridge, because it will be sold out soon) and it is really beautyfull! But I will test the color Instant Film as soon as the weather ist getting a little warmer in Germany. Polaroid cams and (in German:) “Sofortbild Film” don’t like snow and frost ;-) Nevertheless: I like your experimental purple and green shots above! (Sorry my English, I’m a little bit out of training!)

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    • I have one pack of FP3000B left, in my fridge. My trick for shooting Sofortbild kameras in der schnee und kalt is to take the picture, and then go inside quickly to let it develop! My German is pretty rusty too so you’re in good company. In der 1980s und 1990s war ich fast fliessend.

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      • I think the very cold camera and film after walking a while outside is a problem as well! I allways used the coldshield warmed up by my body and went inside quick after shooting. But I don’t know. Maybe spring will come soon, and till then I use my new (old) Konicas T3 and S3 with normal film and start development again in the warm darkroom like in formerly days ;-)

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  3. The look and quality of the photos seems more like you took a TARDIS for a test drive back to 1976. I had to keep reminding myself that no, those photos are from 2015 where we have hoverboards, self-tying shoes, and instant-drying clothes. Well, so Back to the Future promised us. :)

    How old was the film pack, exactly? I’m amazed it was still available at all after about 1985.

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    • The film pack expired in 2006. I don’t know how it was stored until I got it in 2012, but I refrigerated it since then.

      Yes, there is a vintage look to these shots. And I’m still waiting for my hoverboard.

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    • I did many years ago, I had a Polaroid 1000 with SX70 Integral film and a Keystone with peel apart film and the pictures were pretty nice! No comparison to today’s Instant film quality. Impossible needs to practice a lot. The films are good at the moment only for experimental photography. But this is fun, too – only a very expensive business.

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    • I got to shoot Type 88 and Type 108 film in my Super Shooter camera when I was a kid. The colors were pretty good. They didn’t hold up well on the prints over time, but when I scanned the prints a couple years ago I was easily able to restore the color in Photoshop.

      These couple packs of 600 film I got when I bought one of my 600 cameras are the only packs of Polaroid integral film I ever shot. Wish I could have had the experience of shooting fresh 600 film (or SX-70 film) but when those films were still manufactured, I didn’t have cash for things like new Polaroid cameras. So it goes.

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  4. These reminds me of some of the pictures I have gotten out of the 600 cameras that I have bought that still had some film in them. I sorta like that effect on occasion. I didn’t ever shoot 600 film back when it was around. I suppose I had some prejudice against it after seeing some of the results that friends and family got from it. I don’t imagine that you will have any trouble selling your cameras. I sold everyone I could find this year on the first try. Somebody must like that Impossible film judging by how well the cameras sell. Also this year I saw fewer in the thrift shops/garage sales than I ever have before.

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    • You know, I actually have had a little trouble selling these cameras. I’m actually surprised. Two nonpaying bidders, and two cameras that had to be relisted twice. But whatever, they will sell in time.

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  5. Thank you for your courage and sincerity regarding today’s integral film. I thought it was me who got the lousy results. I refuse to pay what they are charging for what others here have said is experimental film. In addition to the expense is the fact that there are 8 sheets of film. Why won’t Fuji make film for the older Polaroid cameras? I use a Fuji Instax Mini and love the thing, but the photos are tiny. Eventually I will purchase a 200. The best kept secret is peel apart film. In my humble opinion it is far better in quality, reliability, and aesthetics than today’s integral film. It’s also more than half the cost for 10 sheets of film! The negative can be scanned making for some interesting photos. Good luck with you camera sales!

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    • Oh yes, peel-apart film is the way to go in instant photography. It just lacks the cool factor of shooting out of the camera and developing before your eyes. But there are some pretty capable packfilm cameras out there, and the films themselves are better than any available integral film.

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  6. I have never had good luck with expired film. My upcoming wedding has a Polaroid theme so we have been hitting antique and thrift shops on weekends to buy any we see. I have close to 20 600s now and probably half of them had film left or came with extra packs. We have fun with them but they are terrible, brown and reds and the developer almost never hits the corners. I have an impulse AF that we affectionately call the sandwich due to its shape and grip necessity. This camera alone with a great lens and viewfinder is the reason I will continue to shoot 600 film. The trick to buying impossible film is to buy their factory seconds. Every 3 months or so they will sell blemished film for a fraction of its original cost. There’s actually one going on now, 3/$33 or 6 for $59. Still salty but better than 25$ a pack.

    The best bet for instant photography is to buy a converted pack film camera with a glass lens. Camera is cheap and film is cheap. If you don’t get a 180/195 or don’t want manual exposure get a 340/440. Same lens and a lighter but still bulletproof body to carry around without paying the premium for a zeiss viewfinder. 100/200 series also has problems with the photocell degenerating and under exposing the shot.

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    • I’ve decided the expired Polaroid films aren’t worth the time and effort. I know some people like the unpredictable color shifts and the undeveloped corners, but I’m just not among them.

      I’m with you: the packfilm cameras are where it’s at. I had an Automatic 250 for a while and it was capable of great work. Problem was, when I “upgraded” it to take 3 AA batteries, I screwed it up and it never got over its electrical gremlins. Also, I had trouble getting the first 5 or so shots out of the camera thanks to the plastic Fuji film packs, which compressed tightly inside the 250. I bought a rigid-bodied Colorpack II, which is said to have a glass lens but lacks the film-compression problems of the folding Polaroids, and shoot it now when I want an instant-film fix.

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      • The cpII is a great camera, I would shoot one more if it wasn’t for the wonky distance scale focus. I’m terrible at guesstimating distance so I always go rangefinder when I can. The key to the pack film electrical gremlins is to solder the connections. If there is any wiggle you’ll have problems. I solder in a battery connector and then line the battery compartment with foam. It keeps the battery holder tight and prevents it from rattling around. Yours could have been an anomaly though, it seems everytime I convince myself I have seen every Polaroid problem a new one appears.

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        • I’ve gotten ok at guessing distance after all these years. And when I have to break out the soldering iron, that’s when I start thinking it’s time to part with that camera. I don’t enjoy fixing them. I have a Canonet QL17 GIII here for which I’ve had a light-seal kit for two years now. I might get around to installing the seals in 2017.

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        • Oh! And as far as the film packs compressing, use the back of an original metal Polaroid pack and replace the plastic Fuji pack before you load it. The metal backs do not flex and relive the pressure on the film. If you need one I have an entire box of them. It makes the tabs pull buttery smooth.

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        • Too late: gave the Automatic 250 to one of my readers! But thanks for the tip if I ever get the hankering again for a folding packfilm camera.

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