Not long ago Alex Luyckx reviewed Fujifilm’s FP-100C film for Polaroid pack film cameras. I don’t know whether he shared images he made long ago, or whether he bought expired packs and shot them recently. But he surely didn’t buy new pack film as it’s been out of production for almost ten years.

I loved pack film and was thrilled that Fujifilm supported the format. I nearly always shot this film in a Polaroid Colorpack II. I shot a pack or two in a Polaroid Automatic 250, as well, but gave up after a couple of packs. Automatic series cameras compressed the plastic film pack too hard, making it difficult to pull out the first few photographs from any pack. Also, it required a hard-to-find battery. I spliced in a holder for a common battery with the right voltage, but the solution was flimsy and didn’t always work. The rigid-bodied cameras like the Colorpack II had neither problem. Here’s one of the few photos I have from the Automatic 250. Vibrant reds are a hallmark of FP-100C.

Autumn bush

The Colorpack II, in contrast, couldn’t miss. It was a terrific camera for this film.


When I started shooting the Fujifilm pack films (which included black-and-white FP-3000B), I originally cropped the border out of my scans. Then I noticed that other photographers left them in, so I started doing it, too. A downside is that any post-processing can discolor the border, and you can’t apply straightening or perspective correction without the border moving as well.

Shoe repair

Pack films demand good exposure, thanks to shallow latitude. Uneven lighting leads to mixed results. Here I reduced highlights some in Photoshop to bring out detail in the gable over the fire truck. As you can see, doing so also darkened the border. I feel sure that if I were to invest in learning more about Photoshop’s layers I could have avoided that, but I just don’t wanna.

Station 32

FP-100C renders vibrant greens, too, although not as vibrant as reds. Blues, on the other hand, come out on the cool side. Light grays take on a slight blue tint.


It was crucial to pull each photograph out of the camera straight and smoothly, at a moderate pace. This let the developer spread evenly across the print. False moves resulted in corners not being developed.


I was always frustrated when that happened, but for many pack-film fans it’s part of the medium’s charm.


Pack film cameras are large — you aren’t inconspicuous when you carry one. The folding Automatic cameras were more cumbersome than the comparatively svelte rigid-bodied cameras. The Automatics offered superior optics, for the most part. The rigid-bodied cameras generally used acrylic lenses, although the Colorpack II in particular was fitted with a glass lens until late in the run. The lens was a little wide, which let me frame this scene.

The new Broad Ripple

I don’t pine for pack film, but I feel a deep pang when someone reminds me of it, as Alex did. I wish I had stockpiled more of it when rumors started circulating of its demise. Curse you, Fujifilm, for systematically discontinuing film stocks over the last 20 years!


I’ve tried other instant film formats and none of them please me like pack film. The one instant camera I still own is a Polaroid SX-70. I shoot it about once a year. It’s a marvelous camera, and I enjoy using it. But I’ve never made photographs with it that can touch the ones I’ve shown here.

I’m considering buying a new Polaroid Now camera this year. I don’t expect that it will give me photos appreciably better than those my SX-70 makes, but at least I can buy the I-Type film at the drug store. SX-70 film is mail-order only.

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15 responses to “Remembering Fujifilm FP-100C”

  1. James Avatar

    Hey Jim!
    The new Polaroid cameras are tons of fun. I’d recommend spending the extra $30 or $40 to get the + model. The Polaroid app opens the camera up to manual exposure and other fun stuff. I love my Mint SLR 670s like no other: the viewfinder and image quality is unparalleled. BUT I probably have more fun just playing with the OneStep+ (an earlier generation + model New Polaroid camera).

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for the recommendation! Now I’m getting one of the new Polaroids for sure.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    That tulip picture really shows the quality of the film! I liked Fuji pack film better than the
    Polaroid stuff, which never seemed to have a “clean” look. Unfortunately, you’re forgetting one of the major uses of pack film, and that was in test backs for 120 professional cameras. Never shot a roll of transparency on my Hasselblad or Mamiya RB without first shooting a Polaroid pack test frame (ditto for sheet film and the 4×5 Polaroid back). This would ensure that your exposure was at least near the correct range, the camera, shutter and f/stop were working correctly, and that the strobe was syncing correctly. All a crap shoot now, and why a lot of my personal work is in color neg now because the exposure just needs to be in the ball park.

    It was pretty common practice among professionals shooting transparency, to shoot a test frame on Polaroid pack film, and then put the Polaroid and the rolls shot on that situation in a zip lock bag and move on to the next set up and do the same. When you ran your test rolls at the end, you had all your film nicely segmented so you could set up your “pushes and pulls”. The death of pack film for tests is really what stopped me from talking my clients into superior film on their jobs, and just drinking the digital kool aid….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t forget — remember, I’m a hobbyist and I write from that perspective!

  3. Marc Beebe Avatar

    From the world of instant cameras I prefer the old roll film Polaroids (as in Type 47 film). Yes, messy and cumbersome. But in my opinion they made the best quality images. Possibly due the ASA 3000 giving every chance for maximum aperture sharpness and blur-free shutter speed.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m finding some Polaroids from that era among the photographs my mom kept that her parents made. They were big Polaroid people.

  4. Kurt Ingham Avatar

    I still have a fridge full of Fuji. Acts like new. Nothing quite like it. I love Fuji, but b the selection compared to Polaroid.- which in my experience never lacked a ‘clean’ look And the p/n was wonderful, though the results never quite matched and you had to choose great print or great negative.

    1. Kurt Ingham Avatar

      without the selection we got from Polaroid..

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      I shot some of the Polaroid pack film in the 70s and wasn’t wowed. I agree, the Fuji stuff was superior.

    3. Andy Umbo Avatar
      Andy Umbo

      Strangely enough, before a lot of midwestern studios went strobe, and were still shooting tungsten transparency, you could used the actual print of Polaroid P/N 55, to judge reciprocity failure of tungsten transparency film! Get a perfect looking black and white print, and usuals the Kodak tungsten transparency was dead on….

  5. Marc Avatar

    These photos are beautiful. The light is strong for the next couple months. Time to get out your SX70.
    B&H photo has decent film prices esp if you hit the free shipping amount and even better if you sign up for & use their credit card as it removes tax on total.
    If you go for the Polaroid Now+ ensure it is the 2nd Generation. Has the newer USB C & some important firmware upgrades, also some different colors. I picked a new color to be positive got the 2gen camera

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for the tip on the Now+. That’s the one I’ve been eyeing.

  6. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    That fire station is rather interesting, how you framed it……in that it strikingly resembles a home!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve photographed that station a few other times. It’s small, and it does look like a house. It’s so small that it for a couple decades was no longer sufficient. Indianapolis Fire Dept. built a new station a few blocks away, and this old station now stands vacant.

      1. Darts and Letters Avatar
        Darts and Letters

        I like that picture from 2012, it REALLY looks like a regular house in that one.

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