Polaroid 500 Instant Film: All You Need To Know

The Polaroid 500 Instant Film, perhaps better known as the Polaroid Captiva Film is the type of instant film designed with the Polaroid Captiva Cameras (discontinued), as well as the Polaroid JoyCam. You can find both of these models found dirt cheap in any photo hut, retailer or online store, such as eBay or Amazon, but it’s hardly worth the expense. For example, a still working JoyCam can be found on eBay for no more than $10, which is hardly an expense, but here’s the catch – they’re not making the film for it any more. Unfortunately, much like the Polaroid Captiva, the Polaroid 500 Instant Film has long been discontinued, and it’s virtually impossible to find a fresh pack.

Granted, you can still find a pack of the Captiva instant film somewhere online, but this just begs the question – is it expired or still usable? Besides, chances are that one of these packs could cost you in excess of $20, which is, honestly, 20 bucks too much for something that might not even be usable. On the other hand, if it’s only a collectable for you, feel free to go for it.

Interestingly enough, many folks tend to buy the Polaroid JoyCams without even checking if there’s any film for them, ending up with a 10-dollar dust-magnet. It’s become such big of a problem that the Internet is full of people asking where to find the Polaroid 500 film or whether the Fuji Instax Mini film is compatible with their Polaroid JoyCam. Sorry to disappoint, but the answer’s a resounding NO on both accounts. While we’re on the subject, no, not even Impossible Project make an alternative for the 500 Type Instant Film.

Polaroid Captiva 500 Film

You’ll probably be able to get packs of the Polaroid Captiva film on Amazon, which is in all likelihood the optimal place to buy them. Amazon stores the products in a cool and dry place, which is exactly how you want instant films stored, and they do offer an excellent return policy, should anything turn sour. On that same note, eBay’s return policy is not quite up to scratch, so you might want to avoid it. Besides, you can never be sure how careful the seller was when storing the items.

The bottom line is, buying either a Captiva cam or the film for one is a risky proposition, at best, because you never know if you’re buying a cat in the sack. On the flipside, if you’re a fan of these instant cameras, and you absolutely have to have one and use it, it’s a risk worth taking.

Alternative For Polaroid 500 Film

So, is there an alternative for the Polaroid 500 Film? The TL; DR version is – no. It’s an impossible project even for the Impossible Project company, seeing as they announced on their official website that they simply don’t have the machinery needed to produce the Polaroid 500, Type 100, Type 80 or 4×5 films. On the flipside, you’ll be able to find the Polaroid SX-70, Polaroid 600 and Polaroid Image/Spectra, though it won’t do any good for your Captiva camera.

Alternatives For An Instant Camera

If you’re not adamant about using the Polaroid Captiva or Polaroid JoyCam, there are plenty of great options for instant cams, chiefly from Fujifilm. For example, you can get the Instax Mini 90, the Mini 8, or even the newest kid on the block, the Instax Mini 70, and fairly budget-friendly, at that. These cameras range from $65 to $150, depending on which model you go after, and you can count with no more than $0.75 per shot. Speaking of shots, you can find films for these models practically anywhere online, and in most (decently stocked) photo huts. Just make sure the format corresponds to the model you use.

On a similar note, if you prefer Polaroid products, there’s a new line of instant digital cams from this manufacturer, which use the new cleverly-named Zink (Zero Ink) photo paper. Two of the more popular instant cams are the Polaroid Snap (up to $100) and the Polaroid Z340 (about $250), the latter of which uses a larger format of photo paper (3×4).

Diana Watson
Diana Watson

Diana is the founder and Editor of the Instant Camera Laboratory. She's had a lifelong love affair with photographing and a fascination with film cameras.

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  1. Such a shame! I’ve got one but no film to use.

  2. Thank you very much!.
    I discovered a Polaroid Joy-cam (PW60902L-0-04/99 SR#162L-0 1E013R Captiva vision 500. Joy Cam 95 Film. Look like “New”. Made min China

  3. does anybody knows the voltage of the battery used in the cartridge of the polaroid 500?

  4. So, if theres no film to be found should I just throw my Joycam in the garbage?

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