Friday, November 30, 2018

Expired Polaroid Film

You have an old Polaroid camera (a Polaroid….not an Instax)! Now you need film. You don’t want to spend $$$ for fresh Polaroid Originals film at your local camera store or online. You’re thinking to yourself, I should buy some expired Polaroid film on eBay or found at a flea market. It’s inexpensive…go for it.


As a general rule, DON’T buy expired Polaroid film. I’m not talking about newly expired Impossible Project or Polaroid Originals film. I’m talking about the “original” Polaroid film that hasn’t been produced since 2008.

But why not? Expired 35mm film is generally A-OK to use.

Because film for Polaroid cameras is integrated. There are developing chemicals in the film and in a battery in the pack (including SX-70, 620, & Spectra) most cases. Unless the pack was cold stored the chemicals have more than likely dried up.  And even if you did store it correctly the battery is probably dead as well. Note – peel apart film (i.e. FP-100c / FP-3000b) doesn’t have a battery…you just need to worry about the chemicals.

Look, if you have money to burn or someone gives you a pack then by all means give it a go. However, from years of experience I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve had good experience with expired Polaroid film. If you are lucky you may get a “lomo” type of effect, and that’s always cool.

My recommendation, buy a new pack of Polaroid Originals and have a blast.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Nikon F2 & Kodak Portra 160NC

I wanted a Nikon F2 for some time. It's a classic SLR built like a tank. Well, I took the plunge and bought an F2 body from Used Photo Pro at Roberts Camera for $139 after talking it over and testing it with the used camera rep. It was classified as Very Good so the price was reasonable in my book. If the F2 didn't work out UPP has an automatic 90 day warranty so I could always take it back.

While I was shopping that day at Roberts I noticed they had expired Kodak Portra 160NC (NC for "natural color") for $3 per roll. I bought 6 rolls. Had too. I REALLY wanted to try the camera out ASAP, so I mounted it with a Nikkor-S F/2.8 35mm lens from my inventory. I normally use SLRs with a 50mm lens. However, I was going to do some landscape to test the camera so decided to go with a wider lens.

One potential pilot error's normally not a good idea to test a used camera with expired film. If the film comes out blank or of poor quality then you don't know if it's because the film was expired and not well stored or the camera was trash. I crossed my fingers this time.

I took the camera out a few times in some of the Indiana farmland and also downtown Indianapolis. It worked! The film quality is very consistent with expired color film (some unusual color shifts), but overall I'm very happy with the camera. The simple light meter worked and seemed true. All the moving parts worked. Happy camper. I'll want to run a few rolls of fresh B&W ASAP. I'm certain this will become my favorite Nikon SLR that I own.

Some photos from the first roll.