SAVE PACKFILM TRAVELOG NO. 13: The Packfilm Family


When preparing for my meeting with the FujiFilm management, I spent some time to research the history of instant film, discovering another beautiful and very special aspect of packfilm that I want to share with you.

As you all know, “peel apart film” was the first instant film developed by Edwin Land. It was first introduced in 1947 and finally brought to the market in 1948. The first systems used this concept in a format called roll film, but soon the first packfilm formats were introduced by Polaroid and defined the glory of this company until 1972. Back then, Land introduced the SX-70 integral film system, today produced by IMPOSSIBLE.

Due to the worldwide success of instant photography, several other large companies stared to develop their instant systems too. And Kodak, formerly a close partner with Polaroid, was the first to enter the market with their own instant film system.

We all know what happened: the big fight between Polaroid and Kodak (ending with a gigantic payment from Kodak to Polaroid of more than 900 millions after 10 years in court) threatened all the other companies. Some of them decided to stop their projects (like Agfa), but FujiFilm decided to sit down on a table with Polaroid. (SO YES!!! Sometimes they do obviously start negotiating with foreign companies!!)

Back then, these gentlemen settled an agreement for sharing expertise in all kind of fields and peacefully produced analog instant film side by side on different parts in the world. FujiFilm introduced their (almost too) perfect Instax integral system, and as the patents for Polaroid`s old packfilm system already had expired, they also started their amazing versions of the legendary Polaroid packfilms.

So these 2 film packs on my picture above are basically brother and sister, and it is definitely time to introduce the new generation of this wonderful peaceful packfilm family, don`t you agree? And exactly as demonstrated by FUJI and Polaroid back then, I very much do believe that we will be able to find a perfect solution to do so.


P.S.: Please have a look at this super rare “Give it a shot” edition of the Polaroid pack film, where Polaroid obviously tried to impress their customers by combining a pack of film with a small bottle of whiskey. Something our new film will for sure not need in order to rock! 



  • Kraig

    I shoot regularly with my Polaroid Land 420, and just recently purchased a Polaroid Land 215, the 420 is my go to camera for peel-apart film. please save pack film!

  • Kent

    Hey Doc,

    Thanks so much for your efforts here. Pack film is so crucial to my creative process——there’s literally nothing that can replace it. I’ve been spending the last five years perfecting (as much as possible) image transfers. They are, basically, the equivalent of a travel sketchbook for me. I go around with my 250, a brayer, and a notebook. The last shot of the day gets transferred when I’m at a place with subdued lighting. It’s like a monoprint. I also do lots of collage work with transfers from a Day Lab, utilizing found slides.

    So, yeah, my heart broke when I read the news. But since reading about your adventures, I’ve got hope.

    thanks from SFO.


  • Jamie

    That’s a rad little package! Thanks for the history, and keep up the amazing work!

  • Sam W

    I support any effort to continue pack film for the professionals wishing to continue to use instant analog…some like myself using it along with processed film and quick down and dirty digital shoots.
    I own a 600se and Mamiya Universal that allow both instant and developed firm to augment the digital I use for the more critical customers. For those wanting a long lasting record of their wedding or family affair, analog is a more secure format in my view. It is also less complicated for those wishing for a quick print record.
    Digital formats come and go. Some video formats are impossible to play back due to equipment no longer made, and the same is likely to occur with computers over the long term. I have Kodachrome and Polaroid film my family took more than 50 years ago. I have glass slides taken over 100 years ago I am able to view and project.
    Digital imaging produced with my Amiga computer eventually became impossible for lack of a running computer.
    It was disappointing to learn Polaroid discontinued their 500 film after I had purchased an Olympus digital with instant print capability…then completely devastating when Polaroid’s CEO took us all for suckers and left us high and dry. Then very disappointing when Fuji discontinued the black and white film, but now completely crushing if there is no one to make the pack film available.
    It is important for Fuji or any other company that is willing to continue producing the film, many of us have a significant investment in pack film equipment. There are many of us who wish to continue using the equipment, even though it may not be the thousands of pack films they regard as necessary to keep the line going.
    But we can only hope Fuji would at minimum allow another company to produce the product. There is definitely a resurgence in a desire for analog these days for the same reason vinyl records have become popular again.
    If Fuji wishes not to help us out, I for one will never buy another Fuji product and will launch a campaign to boycott their products. Over the years I have spent many thousands on their lenses, lens controllers, PTZ equipment, instant film…and would recommend Fuji to anyone purchasing an instant or digital camera if they would only be so kind as to share the pack film technology and equipment, that it may be continued for the small niche market that it is. It would not make a dent to their profits.

  • Vince Johnson

    The direction of negotiations between Fuji and Polaroid is important. Fuji entered negotiations for the right to make a product that interfered with Polaroid’s IP. That’s the opposite direction of what’s needed to resurrect peel-apart film.

    Also, something left out of today’s discussion. Fuji actually had negotiated rights from Kodak to develop an instant integral film based on Kodak’s product. It wound up in Fuji’s Fotorama ACE and FI-800 series’ of films. They remained on the market well beyond the Polaroid-Kodak settlement you mentioned above. I think the last of the films FI-800GT was discontinued around 2008 or so. I’ve used the film, it was quite nice. Sadly, Fuji’s cameras were ugly in a not-so-charming way, but you could modify the packs to use in a Kodak instant camera.

  • George

    That is amazing! The Land Camera is my favorite Polaroid model hands down.

  • Intrepid Camera Co.

    Great to read through the travelog Doc, we have a brilliant community of around 500 4×5 shooters who would love to see packfilm saved, let us know if there is anything we can do to help!

    Best, Max
    Intrepid Camera Co.

  • Steve White

    Correction to last paragraph. (Thanks autocorrect)

    NEITHER are fierce competitiors anymore.

  • Steve White

    Whatever happened to Polaroids original formulas?

    With Fuji exiting the pack film business one would think there must exist the possibility of each technology helping the other.

    I love Instax too but it’s hobbled by mediocre cameras. I love Packfilm and there are some great cameras that make it shine. I love Impossible film but wish it had the development speed light safeness of Polaroids original formulas.

    The realities are that either are fierce competitors anymore. Why not share the best qualities of all three and ensure pack film is here to stay!

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