How Much Film Can a Polaroid Hold?

By Mark Plummer •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  6 min read
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The Polaroid camera has been a common household item since it was marketed to the public in 1948 in Boston. It sold out minutes after being stocked. The reason for this is straightforward; it was a way to take pictures and have the recreation in your hand within minutes, rather than waiting for the film developers to send it back to you.

How Much Film Can A Polaroid Hold
How Much Film Can A Polaroid Hold?

But one of the problems that came up, and still does today, is how many films a Polaroid can hold. 

Today’s Polaroid camera is unlike the classics, which could hold ten sheets simultaneously. The film today has been reinvented to stay with the technology of the times, which means that the sheets are slightly thicker. This means that the Polaroid of today can hold eight pictures for each sheet inserted.

The old classic Polaroids were all designed to hold ten pictures per pack, which is why the number counter on the camera will start with 10.

When the counter says two photos are left, it is out and needs to be replaced. Let’s look into this further to understand why this is so.

Film Amounts in a Polaroid Camera

Those of you that are used to the older classic style Polaroid cameras are used to having the ability to take ten photos.

Modern Polaroid Cameras Hold 8 Sheets Of Film
Modern Polaroid Cameras Hold 8 Sheets Of Film

This is why it has become confusing when installing a new sheet of film into them. It comes up that there are ten photos left to take, but in reality, there are only 8 in each pack now.

Technology may be an excellent thing for the most part, but sometimes it changes things that we are all used to.

Polaroid film is one of those things.

The new and improved film sheets have been designed to give better quality photographs, but in the process, they had to make each sheet slightly bigger than it used to be.

This means that instead of taking ten shots per pack, you will have 8 to shoot.

The counter on the camera will be wrong if you use an older camera because of the set starting point of ten. Even though this may be a little frustrating, the solution is easy. Subtract two from the counter at all times to keep track of the actual count.

How Many Photos Can a Polaroid Mini Take?

How Many Photos Can a Polaroid Mini Take
How Many Photos Can a Polaroid Mini Take?

The mini cameras are more like the classic ones you are all used to, in a way, anyway. The pictures that come out of the camera will give you good quality pictures but in a smaller version. They come out as a photo measuring 5.4cm by 8.6cm, basically the size of a credit card. But how many pictures can a mini take at one time?

The Polaroid mini is a camera designed to give ten photos out of each sheet. This is more like the classic cameras of old but smaller versions. It is one of the most popular Polaroids being sold today, which means it is the film that can be found in most stores.

Since the mini cameras are the top sellers, it is easy to find sheets of film that can be used. Most stores, online and in brick-and-mortar locations, will carry bigger packs that can be purchased, which will end up giving you up to 100 photos out of one combined package.

How Do You Install Polaroid Film?

Installing your Polaroid film into the camera may seem like it should be a simple task, and for some, it is. For others, it may be a little more complicated until you have done it several times.

Let’s detail the steps to make it easy to understand.

  1. Slide or press the film door latch to open the access area
  2. Push the film cassette all the way in 
  3. Make sure the dark side is up and the plastic base is at the bottom
  4. The pull tab should be facing out (the tab that helps you take the cartridge out)
  5. Close the film door

That’s all there is to it unless you own a Polaroid Go. In that case, the steps will be slightly different but just as simple.

  1. Slide the film release button over and open the cover
  2. Match the color of the film cassette to the color indicated on the Polaroid camera
  3. Slide the thickest end of the cassette in first, letting it drop into place without forcing it
  4. Close the Polaroid film door until it clicks shut

That’s as simple as it gets. Once you have done the process a few times, you will find it is like second nature.

How Long Can Polaroid Film Last?

While still in the package, Polaroid film is designed to last up to 12 months after the production date stamped on the box. It will only last this long after you have opened it up and placed it into the camera.

Once it is placed inside the camera, you should use it fairly quickly before the Polaroid film expires.

How Long Can Polaroid Film Last
How Long Can Polaroid Film Last?

The sooner you use the film, the better the photos will be. It is best to use the film within a couple of weeks after opening, up to three months after it has been loaded.

The main thing is never to let the sun, or moisture, get onto the film pack or camera once the film has been taken out of the original packaging.

If that occurs, you will have the chance of ruining the entire film package.

When taking it out and putting it in, the film needs to be in a dark area. Turn the lights down and make sure the site is free of humidity before loading it into the camera.


The film that goes into the Polaroid camera may not be able to take as many pictures as it used to at one time, but the trade-off is worth it. If this is your first Polaroid camera, you should go for one of the newer models with digital capabilities designed into them.

In that way, you can take as many pictures as the memory card you installed into it can hold, and you can pick and choose which pictures to print out on the spot.

Mark Plummer

Mark Plummer is a co-founder and blogger on Instant Cameras. Together with his wife, Susana, and daughter Scarlett he loves capturing special family moments with his Instax Mini 11. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and tips on Instax and Polaroid cameras through the Instant Camera Blog.

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