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Toys Technology

Polaroid Lovers Try To Revive Its Instant Film 443

Posted by kdawson
from the dust-off-the-sx-70 dept.
Maximum Prophet nods a NY Times piece on a Dutch group living the retro dream: they are trying to bring back Polaroid film. This group has the machinery to make the film packs, but needs to recreate the chemicals. Polaroid Inc. stopping making the specialized chemicals years ago, after having stockpiled what they would need for their last production runs. "They want to recast an outdated production process in an abandoned Polaroid factory for an age that has fallen for digital pictures because they think people still have room in their hearts for retro photography that eschews airbrushing or Photoshop. 'This project is about building a very interesting business to last for at least another decade,' said Florian Kaps, the Austrian entrepreneur behind the effort [in Enschede, The Netherlands]. 'It is about the importance of analog aspects in a more and more digital world. ... If everyone runs in one direction [i.e. digital photography], it creates a niche market in the other.'"
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Polaroid Lovers Try To Revive Its Instant Film

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  • by Admodieus (918728) <john&misczak,net> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:16PM (#28098241)
    Part of the advantage of instant film was being able to see how the picture was that instant, thus giving you the ability to retake the picture if you weren't satisfied. Digital cameras, with their screens and additional features, do the same job but do it even better. There's no need for instant film anymore.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If I had to choose how I wanted to present photographic evidence, I'd take a polaroid. I've seen many of them in my time, but have never been able to tell a fake one by the pixels.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not to mention that the quality of a Polaroid was awful at best and if you did get a great shot it's not like it was trivial to make copies of it or enlarge it. A scanner would certainly make it possible to make copies now, but that kind of defeats choosing it over a digital camera, and the enlarging of the image still applies due to the image quality.

      • by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:45PM (#28098729) Homepage Journal
        The problem is the cheap camera, not the film or process. You can get polaroid backs for all sorts of cameras which provide pretty high quality prints. Consider that the negative is the printing surface, so there is no enlargment.
      • by bcat24 (914105) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:56PM (#28099817) Homepage Journal

        Not to mention that the quality of a Polaroid was awful at best and if you did get a great shot it's not like it was trivial to make copies of it or enlarge it.

        You say that like it's a bad thing. *Sigh*

    • by stonecutter2 (940299) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:23PM (#28098339) Homepage Journal
      A piece of instant film could be handed directly over to a friend or relative without further hassle. Digital cameras still require you to take the time to get to a computer and do something with the picture via the memory card or the camera itself. Instant sharing isn't as simple or direct as snapping the picture and handing it to someone, like with a Polaroid. Although being able to see if it was a "bad picture" was also handy, I think the coolest thing was the instant gratification factor that digital cameras still don't quite possess.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        So what you're saying is that we need built-in printer (whatever the printer type) as the next feature of digital cameras?

        That would be interesting, even if it's a niche market.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Welcome to the world of 8 years ago! [amazon.com]
      • But the flipside of that is you can take as many duff shots as you want, and you'll never waste any paper. Digital photos are also easier to store than those in paper form.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DougWebb (178910)

        A piece of instant film could be handed directly over to a friend or relative without further hassle. Digital cameras still require you to take the time to get to a computer and do something with the picture via the memory card or the camera itself. Instant sharing isn't as simple or direct as snapping the picture and handing it to someone, like with a Polaroid.

        If you use the camera in your cellphone, you can email the picture to your friend, and they can receive it on their cellphone moments later. That's

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:28PM (#28098443)

      There's no need for horse-drawn carriages either, given that cars are a quicker and more energy efficient means of conveyance, but there are always a few hapless romantics who like to see the world as it once was.

      As long as there's a demand for something, no matter how silly it might seem, someone will supply it.

      • ObSteveMartin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:30PM (#28098477)

        but there are always a few hapless romantics who like to see the world as it once was.

        An arctic region covered with ice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Obfuscant (592200)
          An arctic region covered with ice.

          Half the north-american continent covered with ice. THOSE were the days. No having to refill the ice-cube trays, you wanted a scotch on the rocks you stuck your fist out the door and picked up the "rocks".

          It's rather disingenuous to demand things "as it once was" without remembering that "as it once was" isn't how it always was, even before we got here.

          Now get off my damn lawn...

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:45PM (#28098719) Journal

        There's no need for horse-drawn carriages either, given that cars are a quicker and more energy efficient means of conveyance

        How is hauling >1,000 pounds of steel with an engine that has a thermal efficiency rating of <50% more energy efficient than a lightweight carriage drawn by an animal?

        • by Abreu (173023) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:58PM (#28098965)

          Pay for the stables and the feed for a couple of horses and then talk about "efficiency"

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Sponge Bath (413667)

            Not to mention the shovel required to clean up the horse's carbon output.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            Horses eat whether you ride them or not, cars just rot slowly if you don't maintain them. That's the real reason. Also, cars seldom panic and run down passersby without being told to do so.

    • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#28098581) Homepage

      Polaroids can still be useful for previewing exposures in large-format photography [wikipedia.org], which is still a film world. They simply don't make 4x5" digital sensors, period.

      Using a digital camera to take a test shot can be useful in the same situation, but that means using a separate camera, from a slightly different angle, potentially different field of view, etc.

      • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:52PM (#28098849)

        Polaroids can still be useful for previewing exposures in large-format photography [wikipedia.org], which is still a film world. They simply don't make 4x5" digital sensors, period.

        They were also still in wide use up until the very end in the film industry, where they were used both for location scouting and for continuity. It is simply *not* more convenient to take a bunch of pictures with a digital camera, go back to the office and print them out, *then* put those printouts in a binder than it is to just take a bunch of photos and stick them in a binder immediately so anyone can see them. Even if you have a small digital printer that you bring with you, that's still an extra step, not to mention the time and effort it takes to hook up the printer and then print out the photo.

        Of course, that is what the industry does these days, but they are still not particularly happy about it.

    • by Brigadier (12956)

      true, however digital photography is a.) modifiable (sometimes you don't want this) 2.) Digital photography still requires processing. If I'm on say a job site with a client and wish to document a condition I can take two pictures and both parties can leave with a hard copy. Digital cannot accomplish this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smd75 (1551583)
      You couldnt be more wrong. There are still photographers who use film because they get better quality from film than most digital cameras. The only cameras that can begin to compete with film as far as resolution and quality are digital backs that cost upwards of $25,000. If you already have a large format camera and a studio set up for film, there isn't much point to changing because the costs associated with transitioning. Many studios are now digital, and yes it is simple to use, but not simple to transi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PitaBred (632671)

        "Ive become lazy with digital photography and can shoot multiples blowing away my memory card and getting only a couple shots."

        Seems like that's the problem. A poor craftsman blames his tools. You can do great or mediocre things with any tools. If you can take a great shot with film, you can do the exact same thing with a good digital SLR to the extent of my experience. The only thing that film might add is more resolution, but that's only readily apparent if you blow pictures up past A0 or so size. And ev

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Not really. The LCD is much smaller and lacks the resolution of the full sized picture.
      The advantage of Digital is cost. You might as well take ten pictures and throw out nine. Also digital just doesn't have the same quality of image. But then I am not going to run out and buy this film. If there are enough people to want it then great for them. I just hate to see Mr. Land's name fade from the scene.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      There's no need for instant film anymore.

      Okay, how did Captain Obvious here get modded as "insightful"?

      There's no NEED for most of the things we buy. Things live on because people like and enjoy them, not because there's any need. Since the advent of modern firearms, there's no need for bows and arrows, and yet bow hunting remains a popular sport.

      Although some hunt to support themselves, many hunt for sport. Although some people making a living as photographers, for many, photography is a hobby. Arguing that there's no need for Polaroids is li

    • I don't think anybody really understands the reason Polaroid is still a popular medium. I'll give you a hint, it's got nothing to do with any of the bloody technical aspects of the film. It's not about megapixels or instant gratification. More than anything, Polaroids have a quirkiness and charm to them that isn't reproduced by anything else.

      I'm a hobbyist photographer and even though most of my gear is digital, there's something to be said for some of the old school methods. Every once in a while I'll go out on a nice day and run a roll or two of slide film through my camera. Generally I'll take just one prime lens out for the afternoon and I won't finish until I'm out of film. Send the film out for development, wait several days, and get back about 98% crap. There's no cloning, airbrushing, leveling or curving. The exposure has to be spot on or it'll turn our too dark to see through or virtually transparent. Why do I do this? The one or two keepers you do get are something special. The tonal range, the color saturation: there's nothing digital that can compete.

      Polaroids are even neater. Sure you can get functionally the same thing with any consumer point and shoot digital camera (take picture, check LCD, print later), but in comparison, the images you get can only be described as bland and mechanical. Not to mention watching your picture develop almost magically as you shake it. It's a great date idea too if you can find the equipment. Unfortunately, the film is now prohibitively expensive for shooting casually.

      There are still enthusiasts who scour ebay only for long-expired Polaroids because of the unique color shifts that they give. There's also unexpired film still selling on ebay for well over $1/exposure. That's for a 3" square image that's got virtually no redeeming technical qualities to it. Again, there's NOTHING digital that compares.

      It may sound hokey, but TFA puts it pretty bluntly:

      âoeIt used to be something you use for a lighting test,â Ms. Bukowska said. âoeNow it is the art itself.â

  • Polaroids are cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by orta (786013) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:17PM (#28098257) Homepage Journal
    I love the instant feedback you can get just watching it soak up the sun before seeing just how truely bad your photography is. I've gone through 3 cameras, fun times. It'd be nice to see if these guys get anywhere.
  • Tag? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gubers33 (1302099) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:18PM (#28098269)
    Can someone please explain why porn is one of the tags on this story? Retro pictures for retro porn?
    • Re:Tag? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:31PM (#28098497)

      Amateur pornographers often used Polaroids to avoid having to develop their film at a store.

      Especially useful for test shots with new models/actors. Decent enough results, you don't have to worry about the photomat guy making extra copies and selling them, a lot more cost-effective than contracting out to a more trusted source for developing (since most photos will be trashed / paper clipped to an application for a pro photo/film shoot), and a lot easier to say "here are all the photos" when you land a contract / the model/actor bails out.

      Also useful if it's pics of you and your significant others that you don't intend to sell/distribute, and of course, for anything that is super freaky, borderline illegal, or illegal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Greyfox (87712)
      One of the best uses for the camera was to take naked pictures without having to have your own darkroom. Not amm... that I would know anything about that...

      On a side note, my uncle is a comedian and one day we set up some Barbie porn using my sister's dolls. We forgot to mention to my mother (whose camera we used) what was on that roll. She got a very odd look from the guy at Wolf camera when she went in to pick her pictures up. My uncle's comment was "Good thing your sister didn't have Barbie's dream hor

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Can someone please explain why porn is one of the tags on this story? Retro pictures for retro porn?

      You must be new here.

  • Good Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stonecutter2 (940299) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:19PM (#28098285) Homepage Journal
    Although the trend is toward easy digital transferring of images, they're usually not that great if taken with cell phones, and digital cameras require an intermediate step to get it to a computer. I remember the days of taking Polaroids of friends, and snapping several so everyone got one. I'm not even sure that most younger folks these days would have even seen a Polaroid "insta-matic" but I bet they'd get a real kick out of them if they did. It was kind of special that you got to shoot the picture and develop it and instantly pass it along/share it with others. I hope they can figure out the chemical process necessary to recreate the film, but maybe Kodak could be persuaded to license the formula to the new manufacturer?
    • I remember the days of taking Polaroids of friends, and snapping several so everyone got one.

      That's cool. Wouldn't it be nice if you could do the same now - snap a digital picture and then Bluetooth it to the phone of everyone standing there?

      I suppose an acceptable alternative would be that your pictures are uploaded to a web album in real time and you can immediately text a short URL to everyone...

    • Way to go... (Score:3, Informative)

      by rickb928 (945187)

      'Polaroid' is, of course, a trademark of the Polaroid corporation.

      'Instamatic' is a trademark of the Kodak corporation, and refers to 100 and 126 film cameras - not instant anything except maybe loading. The film required processing in the conventional way.

      These two terms cannot be used to represent a single product. Ask either corporation. Or former users.

      Way to mix up trademarks... Somewhere someone is writhing in agony.

      • Re:Way to go... (Score:4, Informative)

        by vlm (69642) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:11PM (#28099163)

        'Polaroid' is, of course, a trademark of the Polaroid corporation.

        'Instamatic' is a trademark of the Kodak corporation

        I think he was trying to make a joke, because Kodak and Polaroid get along about as well as Linux and SCO. "The great Kodak / Polaroid lawsuit". In summary, Kodak didn't just lose but was utterly spanked, and could no longer sell their instant film, and had to mail refunds to the owners of their now unusable cameras. I think everyone alive in the 80s either personally junked their Kodak or was related to someone whom junked their Kodak. I remember goodwill stores had shelves of them... It was fun to take them apart.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_camera [wikipedia.org]

  • Digital Retro? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:21PM (#28098311) Journal

    Why not do Digital to chemical process? Have a Digital Camera, that takes AND STORES pictures, just like they do today, but have an OPTION to spit out an Instant Picture as well?

    It doesn't have to be one or the other, it can be BOTH.

    If I were Polaroid, I'd make a system for printing Digital Photos to REAL photo paper, and not using crappy Inkjet or Color Laser, for the home market.

    • Re:Digital Retro? (Score:5, Informative)

      by harryandthehenderson (1559721) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:24PM (#28098363)

      If I were Polaroid, I'd make a system for printing Digital Photos to REAL photo paper, and not using crappy Inkjet or Color Laser, for the home market.

      You mean like this product [amazon.com] that's been around for years?

    • Because you'd need a mechanism for exposing the chemicals to light.

      You could fairly easily have a camera that operates in either mode, but not both at the same time (digital pic or instant pic).

      With a lot of work, you could have a camera that is a digital camera, but also does a single instant print. You'd have huge issues with getting the optics right. You need the SAME IMAGE (geometrically) to go to the film and to the sensor. But the sensor and the film have completely different requirements for expos

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      That method already exists. It's called making a digital negative [digital-negatives.com]. Basically you use a high-dpi inkjet (with lightfast ink) to print a negative onto a transparency. Then all you do is place the transparency directly over photo paper, expose to light, and develop. There are specially made transparencies (without patterns) you can get for this express purpose. There is nothing quite like a silver gelatin print. Inkjet can't even get close to the blacks you can get.
  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:23PM (#28098343) Homepage
    There will always be people who want to preserve obsolete technology for all sorts of reasons and if it does it for 'em, more power to 'em, I guess. I don't really see this as any weirder or more impractical than people learning to make chain mail or speak a dead language.
  • No, probably not (Score:4, Informative)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:23PM (#28098351)

    If everyone runs in one direction [i.e. digital photography], it creates a niche market in the other.

    Yeah, I'm sure the horse buggy manufacturers tried to claim something similar after Ford started to ramp up production. But we're not talking about music genres here - we're talking about a new technology that's made the old technology completely obsolete.

    I'm old enough to have used a "Polaroid Swinger" back when I was a kid. Sure, they were a lot of fun - but the tech has passed them by.

    • by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#28098579) Homepage
      I don't know man....the rise of the CD has rekindled a love for vinyl LPs. The Fred Meyer in my town even has a small section dedicated to /new/ vinyl. And I am sure there was a niche market created for horse buggy makers after the rise of the automobile.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by techiemikey (1126169)
      And yet, you still see some people using a horse and buggy. The Amish and various people in cities for park tours for example.
    • by zarkill (1100367) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:40PM (#28098653)

      But you see, the point is that someone still DOES make horse buggies. People still go to Central Park to ride the buggies, and SOMEONE has to create them.

      That's the great thing about a niche market - if you're the only one in a certain business, be it horse buggies or resurrecting Polaroid film, you might very well be able to get enough customers who are interested in your product to stay in business.

      If they think that enough people still find the old-school Polaroid film appealing, then they'd be stupid NOT to take their money, since no one else wants to.

    • by blhack (921171) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:49PM (#28098803)

      we're talking about a new technology that's made the old technology completely obsolete.

      In other words:

      "I personally find this technology to be STOOPID! The huge hordes of people that still want it are equally STOOPID and we should ignore any opportunities to fulfill a demand because the demand is STOOPID and I disgree with it!"

      Is that about right?

      (hint: if I could get a Polaroid and the film for it at target, I would)
      (bonus: I shoot digital all day long [like it's my job{oh wait, it IS my job!}])

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      And sure enough, those who survived [jedediahsbuggywhip.com] seem to be doing quite well. As long as some people still want them, other people will be able to make a profit off it.
  • Duh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:24PM (#28098357)

    "If everyone runs in one direction [i.e. digital photography], it creates a niche market in the other."

    Uh, no, not if EVERYONE runs in one direction.
    Either way, it's pretty much a retarded business decision. Let's bring back those cameras that used 35 mm film AND showed you an (estimated) instant view of it on an LCD.

    How about those cameras that saved to floppies?

    RETRO COOL AMIRITE?

    • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:57PM (#28099851) Homepage

      "If everyone runs in one direction [i.e. digital photography], it creates a niche market in the other."

      Uh, no, not if EVERYONE runs in one direction.

      You're being wilfully pedantic. Large corporations whose business models revolve around the mass market will often stop supporting a field when "everyone" (read; the vast majority of people) leaves it. While they may not be interested in serving the small number of remaining users, smaller businesses more focused on niches may be perfectly capable of making decent money from them.

      Either way, it's pretty much a retarded business decision. [snip]

      Your opinion of why Polaroid sucks might or might not be true, but has no bearing on whether or not it's a "retarded business decision". If it's clear that they can get enough nostalgics (stupid or otherwise) to buy it that they'll make a nice profit, then it's not a "retarded business decision".

      That is business.

  • Polaroid appeal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CherniyVolk (513591) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:28PM (#28098423)

    I always viewed Polaroid cameras as being, to be elegant and frank, ghetto.

    But, they do have a unique visual aesthetic, it's not just the bold white border and the thick bottom border that gives it away. Nor the glassy sheen over the picture itself. There is something about a Polaroid shot, that makes the picture undoubtedly Polaroid nearly every time. It looks like a ghetto shot, but in this day and age with free artists and artistic expression on a free internet, maybe some of the guys at Deviant Art can do some very very nice retro art using Polaroid shots.

    I'm certain of it. Just as certain as "indie" films with their similar low-budget feel gives off a certain appeal to their films. Like Tarantino(sp?) films feel low-budget until Bruce Willis appears before the camera (like he isn't getting paid right?).

    My only suggestion to this business endeavor... give the artists a larger sample. Original Polaroid shots were stamp size squares, almost every one of them have some part of the primary subject being clipped by the boundaries. A wide aspect ratio shot, on Polaroid, I think would be very awesome.

    Hell, I might even be interested, even though I'm not an artist. Also, maybe an electronic means to get that Polaroid shot, into digital form from the camera itself would be sexy. Afterall, no matter the intentions of the visual artist, it's destined to be digitized eventually. (Rembrandt probably never imagined his work would be digitized yet it has been.)

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:31PM (#28098489)
    are doomed to repeat it. Could that fact that the Polaroid cameras cost you $1 every time you pushed the button have had anything to do with it's demise? I suspect when they do finally figure out what chemicals were used and compute their costs, they will finally realize how absurd this idea was in the first place. Ok... so now who's nostalgic for the return of microfilm/microfiche?
  • Just as there is a small art market for modern photography using long-obsolete film processes [wikipedia.org] such as tintype, there will be a small art market for various Polaroid films.

    The patents on most instant films expired long ago.

    Polaroid should publish the trade secrets it is no longer using and leave it up to hobbyists and entrepreneurs to either make the chemicals themselves or contract with a chemical factory to make them. They should also release Kodak from its consent decree on the off-chance that Kodak or a

  • by wsanders (114993) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:38PM (#28098603) Homepage

    One thing about the "SX70" process (with the fully contained chemicals in a bubble at the edge of the film), the dyes used were unusually stable and long lasting for the time. There was some serious artistic interest for that reason.

    Large-format Polaroid photography was all the rage during the late 80s and early 90s. Mostly because it was insanely expensive (hundreds of dollars per exposure.) Again, it had a unique look and feel that was of some artistic interest.

    Since there is still quite a bit of large format activity out there, maybe they can make a go of it. Polaroid only tanked because it was managed by incompetents, not because of failures of their technology.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:39PM (#28098635) Homepage

    Polaroid film had some unusual properties. For one thing, it's grainless. Unlike silver-based films, Polaroid film itself potentially has detail down to the molecular level. Most of Polaroid's own cameras didn't have good enough optics to take full advantage of this, but there were Polaroid films for view cameras which did.

    • by esme (17526) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:29PM (#28099473) Homepage

      Bullshit. The negatives in Polaroid film are silver-halide emulsions just like any standard film. They have the same grain limitations that other films do. A few seconds of googling turned this up:

      http://polaroids.theskeltons.org/film3.htm [theskeltons.org]

    • by pz (113803) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:52PM (#28099781) Journal

      Polaroid film had some unusual properties. For one thing, it's grainless. Unlike silver-based films, Polaroid film itself potentially has detail down to the molecular level.

      Huh? Polaroid film was, like nearly every other film, based on silver halide particles. The major difference between Polaroid's instant film cameras and standard 126 / 35mm / etc cameras was that the imaging surface was the same as the viewing surface so that there was no enlargement process. With 126 / 35mm / etc cameras, the imaging surface is smaller, often much smaller, than the viewing surface, so that as the negatives are enlarged when printed, the grain is made visible. If you view a 35mm negative without enlargement (for the sake of argument, let's say you view a 35mm positive, or slide, which has a conceptually easier image to understand) it will appear grainless. If you take a medium format camera and put slide film in it, you can take wonderful shots that are viewable without magnification that also appear grainless. Conversely, if you optically enlarge a Polaroid instant print you will most definitely see grain.

      It has nothing to do with the graininess of the film, but whether it is enlarged before viewing. Polaroids are a large enough imaging surface that they do not require enlargement. That's why Polaroids lack apparent grain.

      [ Polaroid developed some awe-inspiring technology to make the instant color print possible and a heapful of associated patents. Is it me, or are the patents we hear about these days -- say a regex to validate SSNs -- pitiful in comparison? ]

  • Of COURSE digital cameras supersede the original Polaroid dream of instant pictures. Insert a big "duh" here." This is more about some people liking the quirky qualities of Polaroid film. There's been a resurgence in Polaroid photos on Flickr, and they're coming from people who also own thousands of dollars worth of digital photography gear. It's an artistic novelty, doing low-res pixel art (all the rage in Flash games) or playing music on a scanner.

  • A lot of pro wrestlers and other athletes make extra money selling photos with their fans for $5 dollars a pop. A Polaroid allows the fan to have the results in their hand right away.

    Since it spits the photo out right away, the line keeps moving, more money exchanges hands, and that's what drives the economy, right? If you have to wait for a print out or an e-mail, it slows down the works.

    1) Polaroid
    2) ???? (Chemical Process)
    3) PROFIT!
  • by getuid() (1305889) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @01:49PM (#28098799) Homepage

    Right now (as in: this very moment) I'm using an x-ray Laue diffraction machine to orient a set of crystals at a given angle. The machine is probably 30 years old, but other than that, it works just great.

    This step is crucial in order to permit further experiments I need to do. The problem: I still have approximately about 60 instant-films from Polaroid left ("Type 57" or "Type 53"). But they are discontinued, so when they're gone, there will be none. It's very difficult to get these (actually, it took me more than 6 months of waiting time to get 160 of them), and the only option is to buy another Laue diffraction machine to replace the one we have, which is probably going to cost something with 5 trainling zeros.

    Now if somebody was to take over production of "Polaroid Type 57" instant films (they are used for instant photography aswell), that'd solve the problem without us having to spend several hundres of thounsands of euros.

    The "normal" polaroid pictures (i.e. those a mere mortal used to take during a holiday) are not exatcly the same as Type 57, but I'll go on a limb here and assert the technology required to manufacture them is similar... so I, for one, welcome our new retro-acting, Polaroid-instant-film-manufacturing overlords :-)

  • 35mm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:09PM (#28099131)
    35mm isn't dead yet, so why should Polaroid be? I do not agree that you must be forced into always accepting the latest technologies -- despite Microsoft's wishes to the contrary.
  • by kaizendojo (956951) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:17PM (#28099257)
    The reasoning behind this has nothing to do with efficiency, quality, etc. it's about artistic sensibility. For the same reason people love the fixed focus Lomo Cameras [wikipedia.org]. Many of these photos are slightly blurry, over saturated and many of them hang in galleries and museums or are featured in priceless private collections. Poloroid film has a similar quality to it and can be quite effective in the right hands. It tends to shift to red and yellow casts which endow the subject with an instant retro look and feel.

    Sorry, but some times, technology ISN'T the most important consideration. I own about 4 of the old bellows rangefinder models and would love to see film become available for them. Right now they are just art/conversation pieces; I imagine if I could CREATE art pieces using them, it would be invigorating. Not being able to "fix it in the mix" with Photoshop would force me to work harder in composition and choice of subject at the time of the shot.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @02:25PM (#28099409) Homepage

    Few of you probably know of the giant portrait camera(s) Polaroid built many years ago but I'm sure you have viewed images taken from them. This is probably the last, good, niche for the instant film process. I will stay consistent to my retro-digital geek cred and inform the ignorant that digital capture lacks cinematic quality. In 10 words or less, flesh tones+lighting reproduction are not as appealing and generally impossible to reproduce.

    http://www.bwphotopro.com/Site/Trausch.html [bwphotopro.com]

    I imagine in about a decade a 'brilliant' photographer will 'discover' the cinematic qualities of film after the average consumer is already used to mega-pixel digital cameras and low-res output devices producing cartoon-like images.

    They should abandon their small camera dream and go giant format. I know it sounds crazy, but the artist set will demand it when they see a great print that can't possibly be had in the same amount of time with digital. High-quality opticskk are most likely to be available at the giant-size too.

    That's my lunatic rant for the day.

  • by professorguy (1108737) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:09PM (#28100033)
    Back when Polaroid was king, Kodak introduced their own version of an instant camera. It was vastly superior to Polaroid's.

    Polaroids had a flat glossy surface. Touch the picture and the fingerprint permanently ruined the photo. Kodak's photos had a textured surface which rejected fingerprints.

    Polaroids had a cheesy paper frame. Handling the photo often caused it to disintegrate. Kodak's photos were monolithic plastic slabs--the picture was just an area of color in the middle of the slab.

    So why didn't Kodak's instant film take over the market. Well, what do you think a company, who was losing the race due to an inferior product, did? That's right, into court they went and lawyers prevented the technology from improving.

    Remind you of any other analogous situations?
  • by BigBlueOx (1201587) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:18PM (#28100143)
    Nothing ever smelled like a Polaroid when you ejected the picture and all those wonderful chemicals got squeezed all over the film. Ahhhhh. Memories.

    I love the smell of Polaroids in the morning.
  • by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:34PM (#28100375)
    Hipsters love anything old and outdated because nobody uses them any more, they create a false sense of authenticity, and owning something outdated makes you look poor. I have total confidence that this company will make millions off of hipsters. I know some who still listen to cassettes (because they like how "tangible" they are).
  • Authenticity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tenco (773732) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @06:07PM (#28102289)
    Can't digital photos (even with watermarks) be more easily forged than polaroid ones? Are polaroid photos even forgable?

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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