Thursday, October 20, 2011


In the last post we talked about integral or polaroid film, now let's talk about pack film!

Pack film is also known as peel apart or type 100. This film is a different size than integral film and does not work in integral film cameras, but it does work in these cuties:

The almighty Land Camera!
   - Named after it's inventor, Edwin Land (the instant film hero!)
   - These cameras are really sassy little things. They have bellows so they can fold up nice and small.
   - They have a lighten/darken wheel to control the exposure.
   - Most Land Cameras use a rangefinder focusing function, which is when you see two images in the viewfinder that you have to line up.
   - There are several different models of this camera some a little fancier than others but generally the same look and make.
   - There are some neat accessory kits available for these cameras too!

Pictured above is the Super Colorpack IV.
   - This camera is less sophisticated than the Land Cameras above.
   - It also takes pack film and with practice produce nice pictures!
   - This is more or less the point and shoot of pack film cameras.
   - It's a little bulky and it doesn't fold down but it's good and sturdy.

Pack film cameras do not spit out your picture, you have to pull the tab on the film and pull the film out of the camera. If you forget to pull the film out of the camera the next picture you take will be on the same sheet of film which, can be really fun or kinda frustrating. My friend Dave has taken some pretty cool double exposures this way which you can see here. When you pull the film out of the camera, it spreads chemicals over the picture, developing it. You peel one layer off which will have some chemical goop on it and then, just like magic, you've got a picture in your hands! 

These cameras, much like the Polaroid integral film cameras are also easily found on Craiglist, eBay and thrift stores rather inexpensively. Again the gamble is not knowing right away if they'll work or not unless you have film and batteries to test them with. The Land Cameras take a special kind of battery and the Super Colorpack takes 2 double A batteries before they'll work so keep that in mind when you're thrifting! My friend Cory over at spruces up and completely refurbishes Land Cameras so if you want a safe bet, buy one from him!

Before digital camera technology was available using Polaroid pack film was the only way photographers could see a sample shot of what they were shooting on film! Many professional medium format cameras have interchangeable backs that can hold different kinds of film. One of those kinds was a Polaroid back which would hold pack film so a photographer could take a test shot and see what their shot was going to look like. The most common cameras that can use Polaroid backs are Hasselblads, Mamiya RZ/RB models, Contax 645, and my favorite, the Mamiya Universal - pictured above. Isn't she pretty? These cameras will run you significantly more than the Land Cameras, but are also more diverse and fancier. 

Fuji makes film for these cameras that are readily available and for pretty cheap! The films aren't quite as sexy as the original Polaroid films which are no longer produced but you can get some nice results.  My favorite of the 3 available films is the Fuji 3000B (not pictured). It is a higher ISO film, which means that it is more sensitive to light than the films you see pictured above. Those films are rated at an ISO of 100 while the 3000 is rated at an ISO of 3200 which means you can shoot in pretty dark conditions and still get a nice picture. You can purchase these films at and B&H.

I hope you enjoyed this post! The last post in this series will have examples of what all these films and integral films look like, a few trips and tricks to use with the films, and a fun giveaway! Stay tuned!


  1. Another great post Azuree! I am so jealous of your Mamiya camera! The photos you take with it are all so fantastic!

  2. These posts are amazing, Azuree! The best ever. I shall refer people to them from now on if they ask me any how-to questions! :)

  3. Loving your polaroid posts! I have a spectra and an sx-70 and I'm trying to learn how to get the most out of Impossible films.

  4. Thanks you guys!

    Urban- Let me know if you have any questions. I'm not an expert but I've done some experimenting and would love to lend a hand if I could.