How Do I Know Which Polaroid Film To Use?

Polaroid film is one of the most popular and loved photography mediums. There are 5 different types of polaroid film, and it is essential to ensure you use the correct type in your camera for it to work properly.

In general, vintage Polaroid 600 cameras 600 can only use 600 film, Polaroid cameras made in 2008 and after can use both i-Type and 600 film, Polaroid Go cameras can only use Go film, Polaroid SX-70 cameras can only use SX-70 film (without a filter), and 8×10 Polaroid film only works in 8×10 large format cameras. You can also open the film door on your camera and check the sticker inside for the correct film type.

There is a lot to know about the different types of Polaroid film. It can be overwhelming to navigate how to operate your Polaroid camera correctly and ensure that you are using the correct film type. To learn more, read the guide below on the 5 Polaroid film types and how to use them correctly.

How Do I Know Which Polaroid Film To Use?

Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film.
Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film. Polaroid Now+, Polaroid 600, Polaroid SX-70, and Polaroid Go

Polaroid instant film creates unique images that has a completely different process than other types of film. But, to use your Polaroid camera, you first must know the correct film type to use with your camera. Polaroid currently produces 5 types of film for their cameras with some of them compatible with other Polaroid cameras, which are:

  •  Polaroid Go
  •  Polaroid i-Type
  •  Polaroid 600
  •  Polaroid SX-70
  •  Polaroid 8×10 (large format)

Each film type fits a specific model of Polaroid camera with some only compatible with specific cameras and others cross-compatible with others. Polaroid film is best known for its instant print images with high contrast and a vintage appeal.

To find out which type of Polaroid film your camera requires, all you need to do is open the film door and check the sticker on the inside. This sticker will tell you the exact type of film the camera requires to for taking images. If there is no sticker on the inside of your film door, or if it has been scratched off, you can also check your camera manual, and you will find this information under the section titled “The Film.”

Chart of Polaroid Films and Compatible Cameras

Polaroid Film Type
Compatible Polaroid Camera
Go Film
i-Type Film
600 Film
Polaroid 600 series cameras such as:
Polaroid 600 Malibu Barbie 600 camera;
OneStep Close UP Instant Camera;
Polaroid OneStep Express;
Polaroid 600 Impulse Instant Camera;
Polaroid Sun 660 Autofocus Instant Camera;
Polaroid SLR 680 Instant Camera;
Polaroid 600 Job Pro Instant Camera
Impossible I-1 Instant camera
This type of film is also compatible with the Impossible I-1 Instant camera and Polaroid i-Type film cameras. You can also use 600 film in SX-70 cameras but you need a special neutral density filter.
SX-70 Film
8 x 10 (large format) Film
8×10 Vintage Camera using a Polaroid 8×10 film holder and Polaroid 8×10 film processor
Chart of Polaroid Films and Compatible Cameras

Types of Polaroid Film

To save you time and effort, we created a straightforward guide for everything you need to know about the different types of Polaroid film and which camera they are compatible with.

Polaroid Go Film

Polaroid Go film
Polaroid Go film

Polaroid Go film is the newest type of Polaroid film. It is specifically created for the instant Polaroid Go camera and is the smallest instant film with an image space of only 1.85 x 1.8-inch (47 x 46mm), which is smaller and more square than Instax Mini film. The most significant difference between Polaroid Go film and other instant film types is the small size and it is specifically designed for the compact and portable Polaroid Go camera.

This film type is not compatible with any other Polaroid camera models and is available as a color film with white borders and a color film with as black borders. Most boxes of Go film comes in a double pack of 16 instant photos (8 sheets in each pack).

Polaroid Go Camera uses Polaroid Go Film exclusively
Polaroid Go Camera uses Polaroid Go Film exclusively

Polaroid i-Type Film

Polaroid i-Type film
Polaroid i-Type film
Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera in Blue
Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera in Blue

Polaroid i-Type film was created to be used for the new Polaroid Now I-Type and can be used in the Impossible I-1, Polaroid Now, Now+, OneStep, OneStep+, OneStep 2, Polaroid Lab, and OneStep+. The film has an image area of 3.1 x 3 inches (78.74 x 76.2mm) and comes in color and black & white with several border color options. The most notable difference between this film and other Polaroid film this size is that there is no battery inside the film cartridge to power the camera since new Polaroid cameras have a built-in rechargeable battery. This means that although Polaroid i-Type film is the same size as Polaroid 600 film, i-Type film is incompatible with any vintage Polaroid 600 camera because it doesn’t have a battery to power the camera. However, Polaroid 600 film will work in the new Polaroid cameras, so you can still use any new or old film. All boxes of i-Type film comes in film packs of 8 sheets of film.

Chart comparing Polaroid i-Type and Polaroid 600 film to Instax Square sizes
Chart comparing Polaroid i-Type and Polaroid 600 film to Instax Square sizes

Polaroid 600 Film

Polaroid 600 film
Polaroid 600 film

Polaroid 600 film is similar to the original Polaroid film made up to the 1990’s and made specifically for vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. The film has an image area of 3.1 x 3 inches (78.74 x 76.2mm), like the Polaroid i-Type film and comes in color and black & white with several border color options and is recognizable by its distinctive blue packaging. Most compatible Polaroid cameras have the number 600 or “600-series” in the name such as Polaroid Cool Cam 600, Sun 660, SLR 680, Impulse, Impulse AF, and more.

Although Polaroid 600 film was originally made for the Polaroid 600 vintage series, it is also compatible with the new model i-Type cameras as well. All boxes of Polaroid 600 film with film packs of 8 sheets of film.

Polaroid 600 Impulse AF uses Polaroid 600 film
Polaroid 600 Impulse AF uses Polaroid 600 film

Polaroid SX-70 Film

Polaroid SX-70 Film
Polaroid SX-70 Film

Polaroid SX-70 film is explicitly designed for Polaroid SX-70 cameras and only compatible with them. Although Polaroid SX-70 film is the same size as Polaroid 600 film at 4.2 x 3.4 inches (106.68 x 86.36mm), they have different ISOs (or ASAs) which makes SX-70 film roughly ¼ the light sensitivity of 600 film at ISO (or ASA) 160, which means SX-70 film needs more light to make a good image but results in photos with rich texture and fine grain. All folding types of Polaroid cameras use Polaroid SX-70 film except for the 680/690 SLR models.

SX-70 film is available in color and black & white with multiple border color options. However, special edition 600 films can be used in your SX-70 camera when used with a specially designed Neutral Density Filter since 600 films have a different film speed than SX-70 film (160 ASA for SX-70 vs 640 ASA for 600).

Polaroid SX-70. Has not build in self timer but has an adapter.
Polaroid SX-70. Has not build in self timer but has an adapter.

Polaroid 8×10 (large format)

Polaroid 8x10 Instant Black & White FIlm
Polaroid 8×10 Instant Black & White FIlm
Polaroid 8x10 Instant Color FIlm
Polaroid 8×10 Instant Color FIlm

Polaroid 8×10 Polaroid film is the largest Polaroid film currently made as well as the most expensive at around $21 per sheet. The film is 12.8 x 8.5 inches (325 x 215 mm) with an image area of 9.5 x 7.5 inches (241 x 190 mm) and is suitable for creating high-resolution photographs with 8×10 large format camera, polaroid film holder, and Polaroid 8×10 film processor.

The film comes in color or black & white film and has an ISO (or ASA) of 640 and a development time of 15-20 minutes. The box comes with 10 sheets of film per pack.

See this guide about Polaroid camera types and which Polaroid cameras have a self timer.

Does Polaroid Film Work In All Polaroid cameras?

Polaroid makes 5 types of Polaroid instant film that fits specific cameras with only two Polaroid films being cross-compatible. For example, both Polaroid 600 film and Polaroid i-Type film will work in their respective cameras but new Polaroid 600 film will only work in vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. Polaroid 600 and Polaroid i-Type film will both work in the new Polaroid cameras like the OneStep2, OneStep+, Polaroid Now and Now+ cameras, but these films won’t work in the Polaroid Go camera due to the camera’s small size or Polaroid SX-70 film camera because the film will get too much light (without a neutral density filter). Also, SX-70 film and Polaroid Go film will only work in their respective cameras.

Does New Polaroid film Work in Old Polaroid Cameras?

This vintage Polaroid Polatronic 1 1000 uses Polaroid 600 film
This vintage Polaroid Polatronic 1 1000 uses Polaroid 600 film

Only the new Polaroid 600 film and new Polaroid SX-70 film will work in older Polaroid cameras. This is because the new Polaroid i-Type film does not contain a battery within the film cartridge to power the camera like Polaroid 600 film and SX-70 film. The new i-Type film is specifically designed for new cameras that have built-in rechargeable batteries and will not work in old or vintage camera models. However, you can use Polaroid 600 film in the newer Polaroid cameras such as the Polaroid Originals OneStep2, Polaroid OneStep+, Polaroid Now i‑Type, and Polaroid Now+.

Do Polaroid cameras need specific film?

Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film.
Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film. Polaroid Now+, Polaroid 600, Polaroid SX-70, and Polaroid Go

Yes, Polaroid cameras need specific film to function. Polaroid Go cameras can only use Polaroid Go film because it is the smallest Polaroid film, Polaroid 600 film has a battery inside the film pack to power Polaroid 600 cameras since they don’t have an internal one, and Polaroid SX-70 film will only work with Polaroid SX-70 film cameras. The only exception are the newer Polaroid cameras like the Polaroid Polaroid Impossible I-1, Polaroid Originals OneStep2, Polaroid OneStep+, Polaroid Now i‑Type, and Polaroid Now+, which can use both Polaroid 600 and Polaroid i-Type film.

Are all Polaroid films the same size?

Polaroid i-Type, Polaroid 600, and Polaroid Go film size comparison
Polaroid i-Type, Polaroid 600, and Polaroid Go film size comparison

No, Polaroid film types vary in size and what camera it can be used in. Polaroid Go film is the smallest film type at 2.623 x 2.122 in (66.6 x 53.9 mm) and is specifically designed for instant Go cameras. The i-Type and 600 film are the same size at 4.2 x 3.5 in (107 x 88 mm) and both can be used with the newer Polaroid cameras. However, vintage Polaroid 600 cameras can only use the Polaroid 600 film because it needs the built-in battery in the film pack to power the camera. The largest polaroid film size is the 8×10 Large Format film and can only be used in 8×10 large format cameras with a 8×10 Polaroid film holder and 8×10 Polaroid film processor.

Do all Polaroids take the same film?

Contrary to what you may think, not all Polaroid cameras take the same film. There are 5 types of Polaroid film: Go, i-Type, 600, SX-70, and 8×10. The most common Polaroid film is Polaroid 600 film in its distinctive blue box and has battery inside the film pack for vintage Polaroid 600 cameras to power the camera.

Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film.
Polaroid cameras that use the different types of Polaroid film. Polaroid Now+, Polaroid 600, Polaroid SX-70, and Polaroid Go

Newer Polaroid cameras (like the Polaroid Originals OneStep2, Polaroid OneStep+, Polaroid Now i‑Type, and Polaroid Now+ instant cameras) can accept both i-Type and 600 film, only the Polaroid Go camera can use the Polaroid Go film and Polaroid 8×10 film can only fit in a 8×10 large format camera with a Polaroid 8×10 film holder. Therefore, it’s important to check what type of film your camera requires and use that specific type to ensure your images print correctly.

Is Polaroid film expensive?

Polaroid 600 film
Polaroid 600 film

Polaroid film is notorious for being an expensive film (even in its heyday during the 1970 – 1990s). Polaroid film prices average out to around $2 a sheet of film, with Polaroid Go film being the least expensive at around $1.50 a sheet on average. Typically, most Polaroid film packs hold 8 sheets per pack and is sold pack of 2, 3, or 5 boxes of film. If bought in bulk, you can get the price of Polaroid film down a little bit to around $1.75 a sheet, on average. So, if you are printing 16 photos a week, this can cost you $128 a month. Prices also fluctuate depending on if you buy color Polaroid film, black & white film, or special edition films, which can be more expensive.

One the other hand, while Fujifilm Instax film (the competitor to Polaroid) is smaller than Polaroid film like the Instax Mini and Instax Square, both films are less expensive on average at around $1.25 vs $2 for Polaroid. In addition, Instax Mini film is larger than Polaroid Go film but smaller than 600 or i-Type, it is the cheapest Instant film available and the film is more consistent.

To learn more about the price of Polaroid film and why is so expensive, check out our comprehensive guide.

Is Polaroid Film Light Sensitive?

Yes, polaroid film is light-sensitive, which is how it makes an image, and should always remain in its box before use. If you open the film pack or camera and expose the film to light before using the film or taking an image, you will ruin the film and you will be unable to use it. So, make sure to store your Polaroid film correctly and keep it in its sealed packaging right until you insert it into your camera.

Polaroid recommends storing Polaroid film in a cool, dry place like a fridge.
Polaroid recommends storing Polaroid film in a cool, dry place like a fridge.

Polaroid film should be stored out of direct sunlight in a cool and dry place. Polaroid recommends storing the film flat inside a fridge at a constant temperature between 41 – 65°F (4 – 18°C) and never freezing your film packs because it will ruin the chemistry inside the film that develops the image. Before shooting the film, let it warm up to room temperature by setting it outside of the fridge for at least 1 hour and be sure to shoot the film within 2 months of loading it into your camera for best results.

After shooting your film let the chemicals on the film dry out for 1 month by placing it in a well ventilated area (not in direct sunlight) before storing your photos in a dry, dark environment protected from direct sunlight like a wooden box, a shoe box, acid free archival storage box, or image portfolio.

Also, see this guide about how to keep your instant film from fading.

Do You Shake A Polaroid Picture?

You may have heard that you need to shake a Polaroid picture (thanks OutKast!) to develop the image once it is fully ejected from the camera. However, shaking your Polaroid print can damage the film by leaving marks or even distorting the entire photograph. This is because the structure of Polaroid film is a series of chemicals and dyes sandwiched between layers. When you shake the film, you can move these chemicals and create unwanted bubbles between the layers, cracks, or cause marks on your image.

how instant cameras work. On the right is an illustration of what instant film is made of. On the left is an illustration about what happens to instant film when leaving the camera. Source: HowStuffWorks.com
On the right is an illustration of what instant film is made of. On the left is an illustration about what happens to instant film when leaving the camera. Source: HowStuffWorks.com

See this guide on how Polaroid film works and how to develop it properly.

Do Polaroid Photos Develop Better in the Dark?

This Polaroid film wasn't immediately shielded from light when ejected from the camera so the colors are faded and not as saturated as they could be.
This Polaroid film wasn’t immediately shielded from light when ejected from the camera so the colors are faded and not as saturated as they could be.

Yes, Polaroid film develops best in the dark since it is sensitive to light even after it has ejected from the camera. This is because when the film is ejected the film is coated with a blue opacification layer to spread over the whole image to block UV light from the image. While the image is developing Polaroid recommends shielding your photo from strong, bright light immediately after it ejects from your camera by putting it face down on a table, inside a jacket pocket, or inside an empty film box.

If you shield your image from strong, bright light while the image is developing after it is ejected from the camera, your image will more likely have better and deeper color saturation, sharper details, and not be faded.

Lee

My name is Lee and I love photography and learning. I received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography in 2010 and have worked as a university professor for the last 10 years in addition to being a working photographer. I started this website to learn more about digital and film-based photography and to provide a resource for all of my students.

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