It’s the end of an era. Polaroid is to stop production of instant film in 2009.

The planned closure of factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands meaning the loss of 450 jobs next year.

Polaroid will focus on portable mobile phone printers and Polaroid-branded digital cameras, TVs and DVD players.

"We're trying to reinvent Polaroid so it lives on for the next 30 to 40 years," Tom Beaudoin, Polaroid's president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, told the Washington Post.

The few remaining retro-camera buffs out there that still use Polaroid film might want to stock up over the next few months, before the remaining stocks begin to dwindle.

Of the new technologies Polaroid has planned plans, perhaps the most interesting to amateur photographers (and party-going snappers) is an 8-ounce photo printer that prints business card-sized pictures and needs no ink, instead using thermal printing technology from Zink Imaging Inc.

Rachael D’Cruze, Features Editor on our sister publication Digital Camera magazine, told Techradar today: "It's hardly suprising that Polaroid are getting out of the 'instant' film photography business - there just isn't a market for it anymore. With today's digital cameras consumers really can see their images instantly on the LCD and decide which ones are keepers - there's no longer any need for wasted prints of people with their eyes closed - digital photographers can take multiple frames and then select the best of the lot.”

D’Cruze added: “Printing your own pictures at home is easier than ever now too and great results are easy to get, although it's often more cost effective to print digital images online and many consumers also print their images out in shops. It's also important to remember that more and more people are sharing their photos online now and many no longer get hard copies printed meaning they pay for their camera and that's it. "