My semi-regular film stocktaking session is long overdue. But one thing is clear: I have enough FP-3000B. This stash is enough to see me through at least a year, maybe two. I have a converted Polaroid 110A rangefinder that can take 100-series pack films, and high speed film comes in very handy when shooting the street at night with an f4.7 lens.
Whilst I applaud the efforts of the Impossible Project and their resurrection/reincarnation of Polaroid films, I feel Fuji is an unsung hero of the instant film genre. They have been producing some great films for a good while. I have recently had the opportunity to compare the shooting experience and results of the 110A with an SX-70 loaded with Silver Shade (Poor Pod edition).
In favour of the Polaroid 110A with FujiFilm instant:
- Good choice of film (100, 3000 B&W, 100 colour).
- Cheapness of film (e.g. 7dayshop.com have FP-100C for as little as £7.59 for 10 shots, as opposed to Impossible’s Color Shade at £17.50 plus extortionate postage).
- Maturity of product – these films are used by pros.
- Good results (good contrast, consistent development, predictable).
- Prints slightly larger than SX-70, and are more ‘print-like’ (i.e. flat, symmetrical border, no extra thickness where processing chemicals are stored).
- Exhaustive development – timers not required, unlike, say Polaroid 664 or 669.
- Self-contained development – no shielding from light required (this is a requirement with Impossible film, but not the original Polaroid film).
- Full manual control of aperture and shutter speed.
- Wide range of old cameras and camera backs to choose from (ok, not really specific to the 110A experience).
In favour of the Polaorid SX-70 with Impossible Project film:
- Very compact, very cool camera – an absolute design classic and an amazing piece of technology (read this)
- Through-the-lens focusing and framing – much better for closeups and most portraits
- Square format, and classic Polaroid asymmetrical border look
- Peel-free development – no mess to discard
- Unpredictable – accidents are surely part of the appeal of instant photography?
- Potential – there are great possibilities for the medium, and attention is being given to improving the product. If they could make a slightly more contrasty, consistent B&W film at half the current price, I’d buy ten packs straight away
Right now, the 110A and FujiFilm option is, in my opinion, the better instant photography solution. It is cheaper (ignoring the cost of the camera in my particular instance), more flexible and more consistent. But the SX-70 has the greater fun factor. Impossible are close to having a really tempting proposition for instant fans. I just need to get through this FP-3000B before they make it too tempting.