View Full Version : Polaroid vs Fuji Instant Film

14-Aug-2006, 12:31
A friend of mine seems to think that Fuji Instant land film is about 90000% better than Polaroid Instant.

I have never used Fuji

Gordon Moat
14-Aug-2006, 13:50
Hello tzibs,

I have used both, and in some ways they are very equal. When you compare Fuji FP100C to Polaroid 690, they are very close in colour response to each other. Compare the Fuji to Polaroid 669, then the Fuji is much brighter, more staturated, and higher contrast. Remember that usually these are used for proofing, or doing a lighting and exposure check, and less often as finished images.

If you intend to do Polaroid manipulations, the Fuji Instant films are very tough to get to do anything. It is easier to manipulate Polaroid films. It seems the plastic base or some method they use to bond the chemicals and dyes to the carrier make it difficult to manipulate Fuji Instant films.

One other advantage on Fuji Instant is FP100C is available in larger pack sizes. Those fit the old Polaroid 550 back, or the larger Fuji instant film back. Unfortunately, that costs more than the smaller sizes that fit the type 405 pack film back.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio

Donald Qualls
14-Aug-2006, 14:43
One other advantage on Fuji Instant is FP100C is available in larger pack sizes. Those fit the old Polaroid 550 back, or the larger Fuji instant film back. Unfortunately, that costs more than the smaller sizes that fit the type 405 pack film.

Well, yes, the 4x5 pack film costs more than the 3x4, but it has almost twice the image area -- and it's a *lot* cheaper than 4x5 "packet" film (the single exposure packets, that is). I traded a 550 back away a while back, planning to get a 405 instead (which I still don't have); now I'm wishing I hadn't. Might have to look for one on eBay...

Ed K.
14-Aug-2006, 15:00
Some thoughts on Fuji vs Polaroid Instant Film:

1. Color. If you're tired of explaining to clients how to "read" a color polaroid, then Fuji will be a marvelous relief. While very saturated, the color is 1,000,000 times better on the Fuji color pack film.

2. Film holder. Yes, you need a Fuji holder, not a Polaroid holder. Sounds bad, right? Well, if you're tired of cleaning exploded gunk from finicky rollers, and using a cheapo hunk of junk for a holder ( unless you have the early all-metal Polaroid ), you will LOVE the smooth, precision, solid and RELIABLE feel of the Fuji. They really did it right. You won't waste nearly as many sheets due to a bad pull, bad developer packet, or streaks, etc, and you won't spend your life "field stripping" your Polaroid back either if you get some Fuji.

3. Sharpness. Fuji instant looks quite a bit sharper to the naked eye, which is very nice if you need to check focus. Type 55 Polaroid is much better still however for critical sharpness tests, provided that you look at the neg instead of its print. Fuji has no Type 55 alternative that I know of, and it's a real shame that they don't because their holder system is so much better.

4. Ease of loading. The Fuji pack system is much easier and faster to load when you're in a hurry.

5. Transfers. Sorry - it's tough to get the emulsion off of the Fuji, and also harder to damage prints made with it. Emulsions transfers should work better with Polaroid. While some people may be doing transfers with Fuji, I found that the emulsion really sticks to the "paper" on it. Also, I think the Polaroid has more documentation for transfers.

If you want pretty darned good sharpness, and color from instant pack film, Fuji rocks!

JW Dewdney
14-Aug-2006, 15:41
Anybody know what the reciprocity law failure is like on the fuji. Polaroid is absolutely AWFUL that way. Anything over a few seconds - and there's really no point in using it to check exposure. All bets are off, in my book.

Dirk Rösler
14-Aug-2006, 20:41
You may also love to use 3000 speed black & white, great for handheld stuff, like 1/125 @ f32


And yes, they appear very sharp.

27-Aug-2006, 13:33

I've got a Polaroid 545i back for my 4x5. Did I read this correctly, You can't use fuji instant film in the polaroid back?

THat seems kindve weird. But then again, 4x5 is weird.


Ed K.
27-Aug-2006, 14:43
Yes, to use "Fujiroid", you do need the Fuji holder. The 545 is for single sheets. Fuji comes in a film pack, which is easier to load and works much better. Don't feel bad, the Fuji holder is a big part of what's good about it. I actually saved money with the Fuji holder because no sheets have been damaged so far. With the 545, accidents do happen, and wasting at least a bit of film is a given.

Gordon Moat
27-Aug-2006, 15:01

I've got a Polaroid 545i back for my 4x5. Did I read this correctly, You can't use fuji instant film in the polaroid back?

THat seems kindve weird. But then again, 4x5 is weird.


Actually, just that Polaroid back. If you have a Polaroid 550 Pack film holder, the larger Fuji Instant will work in that. The smaller and less expensive Fuji Instant will fit into a Polaroid 405 Pack film holder.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio

28-Aug-2006, 13:37
I much prefer fuji fp100b to any b&w polaroid film I have used. Let's see, I think I have some examples, these are flatbed scans from images shot on fp100b, all done on an rb67:




Just for reference, the web shots represent scans from ~6x6cm areas, these were medium format shots, not large format. So actually the detail is quite remarkable, I think.

What caught my eye with fp100b is that one gets very decent dynamic range and the tones have a special quality that one can get very easily, you don't have to fuss a lot over exposure, it is quite forgiving. I find it really fun to use.

Bear in mind that the above images are 'artistically' exposed and the lighting isn't optimal, these were just light checks. In the two orchid shots I was deliberately overexposing and aiming for soft, light edges. The magnolia was more traditionally exposed. I don't think you can conclude much about film sharpness and dynamic range etc. by looking at these shots, but it's just to give you an idea of what the fuji stuff can do. After seeing these kinds of results I decided to shoot fp100b more seriously, in 4x5 format, and I am in the process of setting up for that, I just haven't had time and it takes a while to get it from Japan.

I am going to spend more time checking out the other variants, such as fp100c. I have previously hated colour polaroid, but after my experiences with the fuji stuff I might reconsider. But by the way, I kind of doubt that you can do transfers with the fuji stuff. I tried a few things but it hasn't worked yet.

By the way , I have also used the fast one, 3000b, and it isn't half bad. Not nearly as nice as 100b, but pretty decent. I did some pinhole stuff with it, and the reciprocity was fine. I notice on some Japanese sites that there are many other variants in between 100 and 3000, these might warrant some exploration.

Now, as for my level of experience with 'normal' b&w polaroid, I don't profess to have a lot of experience, because I absolutely detested most of it and only used it for quick exposure checks and then tossed it. But I did try just about all of the standard polaroids and the only one I have liked at all is the pos/neg, and only the negative itself, not the positive. I have used that with some success but don't exactly enjoy the process.

Bottom line: I don't think the normal polaroid stuff approaches the quality of the fuji stuff. The fuji stuff, to me, is actually a viable alternative to print film + printing. It's that nice. Actually, I would be really interested in shooting it in 8x10 if such a thing exists- apparently it does not yet. It was hard enough for me to find the 4x5 version.

Hope that is helpful in some way.


Donald Qualls
30-Aug-2006, 19:15
Keith, for whatever it's worth, genuine Polaroid 664/54/554 is extremely similar to FP100B -- it's billed as having the widest print tonal range of any B&W Polaroid film (I suspect FP100B is or originally was identical, made under license, as was the case with FP100C vs. 669 and FP3000B vs. 667). The prints look about as good, in many cases, as darkroom prints made from Type 55 negatives.

2-Sep-2006, 09:40
So, for me personally, as I mentioned, there was a night and day difference between the Fujis and the other polaroids, almost all of which have been used by me and other people for years. Certainly, I could be wrong, but I don't think they are even approximately identical. For me at least, the Fuji stuff gives nice results with very little fuss. Is it just a more consistently packaged product with better QC or something like that? Perhaps. But I only offer my own experience with it, that's it, I can't speculate about where Fuji got their formula.

Also, I don't see why a company like Fuji would make Kodak stuff under license. I would like to have more info on this if it is available.


2-Sep-2006, 12:34
Pardon, the last sentence above should read "Polaroid stuff under license" not Kodak.


Donald Qualls
2-Sep-2006, 19:18
Fuji surely must have some kind of license from Polaroid, since Polaroid has/had a subsidiary in Japan (NPC) that was making Polaroid cameras there, and could easily have subjected Fuji to the same process they did with Kodak's instant film and cameras -- even more so, since Fuji's initial products were made specifically to fit existing Polaroid cameras and film backs. Further, Fuji is seemingly even able to import several of their products to the USA, which would be a move fought tooth and nail by Polaroid if there weren't some business arrangement between the two companies.

The simple reason Fuji would manufacture under a license from Polaroid? They can make a profit selling the products produced under such a license, but can't produce them legally without the license. That surely includes the Fuji-original Instax and possibly one or two other cameras that use integral film (lacking a license, that would be exactly the same situation as the Kodak lawsuit of 25 years ago), as well as the Polaroid-compatible peel-apart pack films.

3-Sep-2006, 09:54
Thanks Don.

By the way have you tried the Fuji stuff? I gather from your posts that you think there may be a difference. Tio my eye there is a bgi difference, but I wonder if others have had the same experience.


Donald Qualls
3-Sep-2006, 14:07
No, I have not yet used the Fujiroid films -- in fact, since I've been paying real attention to it, I've used only a couple packs of 669, four or so of 667, and some 600 integral (not counting the 1987-expired 52 I got for postage). I don't yet have a 405 back for my Speed Graphic, and don't shoot my actual Polaroid cameras enough to spend a lot of time and effort experimenting with different films (I quite like 667 in my 350, and my pinhole converted 210 autoexposes only for 667). Prior to getting these Polaroids within the last year or so, in fact, my last use of peel-apart film was Type 108, in about 1982...

Next time I order film for my Polaroids, I had planned to get the Fuji, but that would be the FP-3000B in 3x4 packs. The f/8.8 lens on my 350 isn't really fast enough to be comfortable hand-holding with ISO 100 (IMO), especially without a slow shutter warning of any kind, and I don't use flash much with that camera because M3 bulbs are getting hard to come by... ;) Once I get a 405, I'll probably try some FP-100B as well as FP-100C, since it's easier to use my Speed Graphic with a tripod than my 350 (no cable release for the 350).

Alonzo Guerrero
4-Sep-2006, 23:57
Better? I think it's all a matter of choice, subject, gear, and...well...economics, but mainly choice. They are both great film choices, and each has unique characteristics. As to the economics, a 20 count box of Type 55 is approaching $100 in my local market (but I still gladly pay it). For the serious, enthusiastic, yet non-business casual shooter (me for instance) this is serious when 2 packs of Fuji FP100B or 3000 can still be had at around $20. Comparatively, I probably shoot T55 like it costs $200/box, and if anything goes wrong I just want to shoot myself. I find the Fuji pack film more of a fun film that I use when I am not shooting my larger gear. However, T55 is what gets loaded if I am serious. Not that the Fuji film isn't serious or doesn't have a valid application (as offered up by Keith...by the way, nice shots Keith...), it's just my choice. I think my pictures look much sharper when the blur caused from hitting the pavement after a less than desirable session does not cloud my vision (...wow, maybe I should hold on to that 35mm gear just a little longer...). At the end of the day, I think it depends on which film gives you what you're looking for. So if you like it, buy whatever it takes and shoot it.