Kodak EK100: The Rise & Fall of the Instant Camera

Two companies recognized around the globe, Polaroid and Kodak, spent many years going head to head in the photography world.

Polaroid once stunned the industry by unveiling a camera that could develop film in a matter of seconds. The new product quickly took off, capturing a large slice of the United States camera market. Polaroid soon became a household name. Consumers were even describing instant photography as “Polaroids.” Not to be outdone, Kodak followed with a similar version of the instant camera. The competing product resulted in Polaroid filing a lawsuit against Kodak in 1976 for patent infringement, citing 12 different instances.

The trial went on for nearly a decade, concluding in 1985 with Polaroid coming out on top. Kodak was ordered to cease manufacturing the instant camera and film. In addition, Kodak was required to pay penalty fees to competitors. The Kodak factory manufacturing the instant camera was shut down and the company had to offer refunds or exchanges to customers who had purchased the instant cameras.

Despite the legal victory, Polaroid lost in the end. Instant photography became a thing of the past and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

The photos shown below were captured by Michele Ferrario in 2008. They are believed to be some of the last images taken with a Kodak EK100 using materials that expired in 1991.

Photo taken with a Kodak EK100

Photo taken with a Kodak EK100