The news continues to get worse. Polaroid has announced that, “Due to marketplace conditions, Polaroid has discontinued almost all of its instant analog hardware products. Polaroid has also made the difficult decision to cease manufacturing of instant film products in 2008.”
I’ve been using Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative sheet film for many years. There has never been anything quite like it on the market and I’ve particularly grown to enjoy working with it since I began making my own digital scans in the mid-nineties. Scanning a T-55 negative was the ultimate collision of the analogue and digital worlds. The film itself was actually Kodak Panatomic-X, which I also used in roll form for many years. But the Polaroid chemicals contained within the film packet gave it a different look than Panatomic-X developed in something like D-76 or, my favorite, Acufine. That, and the 20-second processing time made the experience of shooting a large-format portrait or landscape image a slow-paced, meditative experience that was ultimately rewarded by image quality that was and is unique.
According to the Polaroid web site, Type 55 will be available until some time in the 4th quarter of this year. The expiration date on the last batch of this film will be December, 2008.