Skip to main content

Farewell to a photography giant: Studio to stop producing huge Polaroid 20×24 film

end of 20x24 polaroid instant photography chuck close vanity fair
Vanity Fair
Among the multitude of photography formats out there, Polaroid 20×24 is perhaps the most unique. Known for the humongous cameras required to shoot it, such a large instant print is inherently different from any other medium. And now, the only studio in the world that produces the film and operates the cameras has announced it’s ceasing production of the massive film.

Polaroid 20×24 film is special for two key reasons. First, it’s big — very big. Sure, any photograph can be printed on a large piece of paper, but a Polaroid 20×24 is the film and paper in one, which is why the cameras have to be so huge. What about that medium-format mirrorless camera that Hasselblad announced earlier this week? Doesn’t even come close. And when compared to the popular 35mm format (or full frame), 20×24 is a staggering 360 times larger. This yields exquisite amounts of detail with an often very narrow depth of field.

Secondly, it’s instant film, so beautiful, gallery-size prints come to life shortly after a photograph has been taken. This also means each exposure is a one-of-a-kind work of art; there’s no negative (let alone digital file) to use for printing duplicates. As the film is quite expensive, nailing exposure and focus on the first shot is paramount. For instant-film aficionados, 20×24 is the Mount Everest of the medium.

As reported in Popular Photography, the New York-based 20×24 Studio is finally calling it quits after nearly a decade of making the unique film. The studio estimates it can maintain production and stock through the end of 2017. In a blog post on the studio’s website, owner John Reuter said, “Our hope now is that we can work on some great projects with many of our legacy clients, as well as new artists who have yet to experience the ultimate in instant analog image making.”

From Brad Bitt to Barak Obama, Polaroid 20×24 has been used to create portraits of some of the world’s most recognizable people. The process of shooting the format and sample images can be seen in this 2013 video from Vanity Fair featuring photographer Chuck Close:

Up Close And Personal

20×24 Studio maintains cameras in New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Dusseldorf, Germany. Photographers interested in working with the format should start saving their pennies. Cameras cost $1,750 per day to rent and film is $125 per sheet.

Daven Mathies
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Daven is a contributing writer to the photography section. He has been with Digital Trends since 2016 and has been writing…
Best Camera Deals: Save on Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, and GoPro
fujifilm x t4 review set 2 dm 1

Whether you're looking for the best digital cameras or the best travel cameras, there are a ton of options out there, sometimes too many options, especially for those who aren't familiar with the photography world. Luckily, we've done a lot of legwork for you and collected a range of great camera deals across the spectrum, so even if you want something more sports-oriented, like a GoPro, there are a couple of deals for those too. So, let's jump right into it.
Today's Best Camera Deals
One of our favorite deals is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 going for $400, as it's one of the better DSLR cameras on the market, and it has a reasonably budget-friendly price on it, making it a great starter camera. Of course, if you've been in the game for a while and are looking for a powerful upgrade, the Sony Alpha 7R IV is one of the best full-frame cameras on the market, and while it still costs a hefty $3,200, that's still $300 off the usual $3,500 price tag. That said, if you're looking for something more portable and action-oriented, you can't go wrong with the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini, although if you're a professional content creator, the GoPro HERO9 Black 5K is probably the one to go for instead.

Do I Need a DSLR or a Mirrorless Camera?
Like most things, this really depends on what you're trying to do. Mirrorless cameras have fewer internal moving parts, which generally means they can capture images quicker, so if you're taking pictures of action-packed stuff like sports or animals in the wilderness, a mirrorless camera is a great option. On the other hand, DSLR cameras are great for low-light conditions and are great for anything from portraits to landscapes. DSLRs are also cheaper and have much better battery life, as well as having a decade or two worth of lenses to choose from.

Read more
How to blur a background in photos
A person photographed with iPhone 11's portrait mode.

Introducing a background blur to your photos can draw attention to a specific subject, such as an individual in a portrait or an item in a still life, while also adding a professional flair to your image. This beautiful background blur, also known as bokeh, can be achieved even after shooting your photo, thanks to advances in editing software. This guide will walk you through the process on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.

Read more
How to download Instagram photos (5 easy ways)
Instagram app running on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Instagram is amazing, and many of us use it as a record of our lives — uploading the best bits of our trips, adventures, and notable moments. But sometimes you can lose the original files of those moments, leaving the Instagram copy as the only available one . While you may be happy to leave it up there, it's a lot more convenient to have another version of it downloaded onto your phone or computer. While downloading directly from Instagram can be tricky, there are ways around it. Here are a few easy ways to download Instagram photos.

Read more