What Ever Became of…Instant Cameras?


The demise of the Polaroid Instant Camera and the stopping of manufacture of film for said cameras and the efforts of such wondrous innovators as The Impossible Project have all been well documented here.  Recently, however, I have become aware of the existence of other instant cameras made by other companies, in other countries of the world.  (Apparently there is more than just the United States, and sometimes Canada, out there.  Weird.)  These cameras use smaller instant type film, but still have a very similar vibe to the Polaroid we all know and love.  So why haven’t they caught on over here?  Do we all just talk a good game about loving something vintage, when in reality we would rather just put a vintage filter on images we take with our phones?  What ever happened to instant cameras?

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  • Felis_Concolor

    Convenience and expense killed demand for them. A modern smartphone takes great snapshots unless you use those execrable grainy 110-film filters, and most new printers offer wireless print capabilities, giving you all the speed of those "instant" cameras, but at substantially less than $2.75 per print. Just look at how Zink-equipped Polaroid cameras aren't flying off store shelves for the proof.

    The nasty battle between Kodak and Fuji in the instant print camera market was amusing, especially when it was discovered Fuji had engineered its cameras to break internally when Kodak cartridges were inserted. For some strange reason, Fuji cartridges would fit Kodak cameras without incident.

    • Mike England

      That's weirdly similar to something I heard about a soviet-era rifle – it would take rounds from our M60 (like they would get their hands on any) but our guns breach would not accept their ammo. I don't even know if it was true, but I do remember hearing this.

      Funny; I just saw an EK6 today in a flea market. I didn't even slow down. I had an EK4 when I was 19 – the film was SO expensive it is crazy.

      • Slow_Joe_Crow

        I think the story actually applies to the Russian 82mm mortar, which will fire NATO 81mm rounds, albeit inaccurately. The Russian 7.62x54R cartridge predates the 7.62×51 NATO by over 60 years and actually uses a different diameter bullet.

  • You know, one of these would have made a good Quantum Quixotic Quandary, but I haven't got one to photograph.

    <img src="; width=500>

    • Felis_Concolor

      One summer in the early 70s, I discovered the hook disgorger in my SAKnife could be used to control the release of the spring striker used in the batteryless photoflash units. That proved entertaining until the supply ran out.

      "What are you do-AAAHHH!!! And now this purple square will be my friend whenever I blink."