Geek Trivia

The Majority Of Expired Polaroid Film Cartridges Fail Because Of?

DRM Chip Decomposition
Dead Batteries
Light Leaks
Film Oxidation
If You Have A Butt Load Of Something, How Much Of It Do You Have?

Answer: Dead Batteries

Film certainly has an expiration date, but typically, the date at which you can use the film without issue (assuming it has been stored at or below room temperature and not exposed to radiation) is significantly longer than the date printed on the box or cartridge. Instant-developing Polaroid film is no exception.

What many people didn’t realize during the heyday of the Polaroid film craze, and today’s photographers playing around with vintage Polaroid equipment have to grapple with, however, is that Polaroid film cartridges rarely fail because the film is too old, but because the battery inside died. You see, unlike most cameras wherein the battery is stored in the camera itself, Polaroid cameras don’t have batteries, but instead, every film cartridge came with a tiny battery that had just enough juice in it to power the camera for the ten film squares in the cartridge.

Because the original Polaroid brand film is no longer produced, aficionados of the format will go to great lengths to preserve the old film and use it today. This includes working in totally blacked out rooms (without even a dim red photographer’s lamp on) to remove the old film from its original cartridge and transplant it into a donor cartridge with a working battery.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Mauer/Wikimedia.