Long discontinued as of 2008, at one time it could be purchased from the Impossible Project. If you’re determined, you can still find some over on eBay, but be prepared to replace batteries to get the film to work.
The holy grail of instant film. The gold standard that all others are compared to. There’s a reason you’ll be paying obscene sums for what little is left.
The classic Polaroid 600 film worked in all 600 cameras, which were the most common over the past two decades. I have family pictures on this format that still look great after twenty years, often better than regular 35mm prints from the same time. Unless it’s left out in the sun, the colors barely fade and never shift.
The film develops fast and sure, even in bright sunlight. No hoods required here. There may be a slight shift in color from age if the film is over ten years old and hasn’t been stored properly, but otherwise all the film I got from the Impossible Project while they were still selling it looked great. I still have a pack that I refuse to use until I absolutely have to. I can’t bring myself to shoot it.
Polaroid foolishly stopped manufacturing this film in 2008, and demand quickly spiked afterwards as people stockpiled the film. Over four years later, those stockpiles are running out and demand has only climbed higher as the Impossible Project has struggled to make an adequate replacement.
One of the best ways of finding old film is to look in old Polaroid cameras lying around flea markets and junk stores. Inside might be a cartridge worth far more than the camera itself (which will probably have a price of a dollar or two.) Because of the film cartridge’s age, there is a strong chance that the battery may be dead, requiring a film transfer, but the film should be just fine. I found a decades-old roll of SX-70 in an old camera and managed to get one picture out of it.
Within a year or two it will be all but impossible to find this film, so if you have a pack, treasure it. I’m just glad I got to use it a little before it completely disappeared. The chemicals that Polaroid used for its film are no longer produced, so don’t count on Polaroid to resurrect its premiere product. Besides, Polaroid has passed through so many owners over the past few years that it’s a shell of what it once was.
If you don’t like the experimental factor and instability of the Impossible Project’s films, the best substitute for Polaroid 600 is Polaroid Image film. It’s exactly the same chemistry, but is slightly bigger. You’ll need a Polaroid Image/Type 1200/Spectra camera, but the camera will cost you less than the price of a single pack of film.
UPDATE: When I originally wrote this article, the Impossible Project was still selling Polaroid 1200 film. Now it only has a few packs of Polaroid Soft Tone left for Spectra cameras, and will probably be completely sold out by the time you read this. However, the Impossible Project has come a long way in the past few years, and their color films are finally a worth substitute to Polaroid.
Good luck and happy shooting!