A group of engineers and enthusiasts who leased an old Polaroid film factory in the Netherlands announced Monday that they had successfully reinvented instant film and will start selling packs this week.
The news gives new life to some old Polaroid cameras. The company, called The Impossible Project, will sell film for SX-70 cameras made in the '70s as well as more recent cameras that take 600-series film.
Each film pack will cost $21 (£14) and produce eight black-and-white images. The company plans to introduce colour film this summer, and expects to make 1 million packs in the first year. The film will be sold online initially, but the company expects to make it available in some stores as well.
Polaroid stopped making instant film in 2008, but Fujifilm of Japan still makes it, and some of its packs fit in professional Polaroid cameras. Fuji doesn't make SX-70 or 600 film.
SX-70 film was prized by artists because it had a soft image-carrying layer that could be squeezed around while developing, distorting the image in entertaining ways. In addition, the cameras are icons of design: Tent-like when opened, they fold into a flat package.
The revival of instant film was dubbed The Impossible Project because of the complexity of the product, and because key materials used in Polaroid's formulation were no longer available, so the startup had to figure out a new way to make the film.
The original Polaroid Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2001, followed by the successor company in 2008. Holding company PLR IP now controls the Polaroid brand name, licensing its use mainly to electronics companies. It is not involved in The Impossible Project and the new packs won't carry the Polaroid brand. However, PLR IP announced in January that new instant-film cameras would be launched this year that can use the packs.
Last year, a digital camera with the Polaroid brand launched with a built-in printer, producing small, sticky-backed photos reminiscent of the old film.