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Spectra film discontinued
Old 10-02-2019   #1
Godfrey
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Spectra film discontinued

I was saddened to receive the notice from Polaroid Originals this morning that they have discontinued production of Spectra format films. Evidently, the cameras are simply aging out and no longer capable of consistently and reliably operating, nor are there any parts available for a realistically priced refurbishment to correct the problems.

PO has decided that there just isn’t enough left in this diminishing market to profitably continue to develop and produce Spectra format film. There are some stocks left so if you have a good operating Spectra camera, now’s the time to buy the last fresh film available for it.

I gave my Spectra cameras away some time ago, opting to concentrate on SX-70 format. But it’s still sad to see them go. They were very cool cameras.

G
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Old 10-02-2019   #2
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This is too bad. My dad's old Spectra was my introduction to IP films several years back. The rectangular format was always a plus. Time to put it on my mantle I guess.

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Old 10-02-2019   #3
Lewis Francis
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Huh. I recently sold a bunch of integral Polaroids to a firm that reconditions and resells, and they accepted almost all models except for the Spectras, claiming performance/reliability problems. Wonder if these guys are the suppliers to Polaroid Originals? Maybe I should pick up a few packs for old time's sake.
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Old 10-02-2019   #4
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In the PO note, there was also a note from their technical head that they'd been working on the Spectra cameras for a long time, trying to correct the issues that are developing. The problems are inconsistent, semi-random, and none of the fixes they'd come up with provided a consistent, reliable solution to the problem. Here's the note:

Quote:
A note from our factory.
Our manufacturing team led an intensive, 6-month testing and improvement plan on Spectra cameras and our film. We optimized the dimensions and deflection angle of the ejecting film, reduced the pod weight, and lowered the mask friction through different coatings. We also carried out multiple battery tests with different voltages and currents from different suppliers.

This fault is completely random and depends on many variables with each pack of film and the configuration of the camera circuitry.
There is, unfortunately, no simple fix.

Andrew Billen
Head of Global Manufacturing, Polaroid Originals
I saw this with the four of them I had: they would work reliably for a time and then would just do something weird and not work. I'd try various things and nothing worked, then all of a sudden they'd work fine again. The problem has something to do with the film transport motor and its controlling electronics. If you take the cover off a Spectra (or have one of the limited edition translucent bodies ones with all the innards exposed) you'd see just how complicated and old school the hardware is... It's no wonder that they're proving difficult if not impossible to fix properly. They were designed and built right at the inflection point where the technology was just starting to go to the far more reliable solid state but they were designed and built of discrete analog components ... much of which is long out of economical production.

The SX-70, for all it's complexity in 1972, is a far far simpler camera in electromechanical terms. It's sad to see the Spectras will not survive, but that's the effect of Time, I guess.
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Old 10-02-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
.........The problem has something to do with the film transport motor and its controlling electronics........
Spectra's didn't take kindly to frog tongues. I installed one a few years back. to shield the pic as it ejected, and learned to wait forever as the motor struggled to eject the print. The extra drag of the frog tongue was a real problem for the motor. I'm sure that contributed to problems with the camera.

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Old 10-02-2019   #6
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Sad news - apparently only the thinner film from the true original Polaroid company worked. My Image1200 took both the 10-pack and 12-pack Spectra films, though it seems Polaroid quickly discontinued the 12-pack.

I used Impossible 8-pack Spectra in my Image1200 without problem. I was looking forward to using the Polaroid Originals improved film, but wanted to exhaust my supply of Impossible Spectra film first.

Hoping I can still get it and it's not outrageously expensive like Fuji pack film became.
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Old 10-02-2019   #7
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Bah! I've got 3 Spectras I've been meaning to unload.
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Old 10-02-2019   #8
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I want an explanation for why they are discontinuing Spectra film instead of making a new Spectra camera that doesn’t have film transport problems. My Minolta Instant Pro has had zero problems.
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Old 10-02-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
I want an explanation for why they are discontinuing Spectra film instead of making a new Spectra camera that doesn’t have film transport problems. My Minolta Instant Pro has had zero problems.
Who's going to make a new Spectra camera?

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Old 10-02-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
I want an explanation for why they are discontinuing Spectra film instead of making a new Spectra camera that doesn’t have film transport problems. My Minolta Instant Pro has had zero problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Who's going to make a new Spectra camera?
Most likely because Polaroid Originals doesn't have the resources to do that.

BTW: My Minolta Instant Pro had the same inconsistencies of operation that my Spectra Pro and standard Spectras did. Some don't, most do.

G
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Old 10-02-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Spectra's didn't take kindly to frog tongues. I installed one a few years back. to shield the pic as it ejected, and learned to wait forever as the motor struggled to eject the print. The extra drag of the frog tongue was a real problem for the motor. I'm sure that contributed to problems with the camera.
Hmm. All of mine had a frog tongue as standard equipment. ??

G
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Old 10-02-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Hmm. All of mine had a frog tongue as standard equipment. ??
IP offered an elongated one, much larger than the factory original. It worked well, totally covering the print, but really strained the motor.

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Old 10-02-2019   #13
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I listed a Spectra on eBay.ca for 6 weeks before it sold. Listed for $16, sold on offer for $12. Hardly worth the effort but better than tossing it in the electronics recycling bin.
Phew!
Ahem... Cough... I mean, sad to see another film discontinued.

Their decision make sense.
Consumers will blame PO for poor quality product when the cameras are the source of woe.
It is the same as blaming the bus driver who dropped you off at the arcade for all the quarters you lost in a defective pinball machine.



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Old 10-03-2019   #14
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I never owned a Spectra, anyway feel sad to see the film to disappear. I can understand the logic motivations but ...still sad !
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Old 10-03-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
IP offered an elongated one, much larger than the factory original. It worked well, totally covering the print, but really strained the motor.

Jim B.
Ah,didn't realize they offered one for it. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by maigo View Post
I listed a Spectra on eBay.ca for 6 weeks before it sold. Listed for $16, sold on offer for $12. Hardly worth the effort but better than tossing it in the electronics recycling bin.
Phew!
Ahem... Cough... I mean, sad to see another film discontinued.

Their decision make sense.
Consumers will blame PO for poor quality product when the cameras are the source of woe.
It is the same as blaming the bus driver who dropped you off at the arcade for all the quarters you lost in a defective pinball machine.
Yeah, I agree. I decided not to try to sell mine a year or two back and gave them all to friends who wanted to play and knew the risks. It was a nice system.

I might ask one of them if they'd give me back one of the translucent ones.. would make a nice shelf ornament.

G
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Old 10-03-2019   #16
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Not entirely sure why PO haven't tried to create their own Spectra camera, a la the OneStep 2 / OneStep+.

I'm not wholly convinced that this issue relates to Spectra cameras getting older and more unreliable, as their latest statement claims - I think I remember them saying a while ago (maybe when they were still Impossible) that there was one component that they were struggling to source, as there was a Spectra drought a while ago. Reckon that troublesome part has been replaced with a third party alternative, that is cheaper for PO, but more unreliable as a result. Hence, consigned to the "too hard to do" pile.

There's no way all Spectra cameras are failing at the same time.

I also read that people are petitioning to save Spectra. At best, I think that PO is now like a mini Fuji. If it isn't financially viable, it goes. They're not in it for the love, any more. That went when Oskar Smołokowski took over. PO is an ego stroke for him, I feel.

People also should have stopped buying expired film. Especially from such a limited resource. Yep, its hip. Its cool. But if you don't support living companies, then this will happen. No support = no sales = no investment = too hard to do.

Florian Kaps ain't gonna save Polaroid a second time, I can tell you that.

What would be even more terrible is that if after any subsequent outcry and petitions, PO decide to "reprieve" Spectra, due to "public demand", I'd suggest that this was a cynical PR click bait move for column inches and a flurry of sales for their least popular format.
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Old 10-03-2019   #17
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Quote:
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Not entirely sure why PO haven't tried to create their own Spectra camera, a la the OneStep 2 / OneStep+.
I do not know about Spectra technical problems, I find interesting what I'm reading here. Yes the solution would be to make a new Spectra with OneStep technology.

Maybe Polaroid prefers to concentrate only on the square format (SX70-600) in order to rationalize film production. Just an idea.

Florian Kaps made a great work...there are not many people like him around...
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Old 10-03-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert blu View Post
.....Maybe Polaroid prefers to concentrate only on the square format (SX70-600) in order to rationalize film production. Just an idea......
I think you nailed it. They looked at what was happening with Spectra cameras and decided a fix (of whatever type) just wasn't worth it. I'll miss my Spectra (though I haven't used it in years) and continue to use my SX-70. BTW, the new Beta 3.0 B&W 600-series film is quite good.

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