Vintage Polaroid Camera

Vintage Polaroid Camera

600 series cameras such as the Pronto, Sun 600, and One600 used 600 (or the more difficult to find professional 779) film which was four times faster than SX-70 film. Polaroid Spectra cameras used Polaroid Spectra film which went back to a rectangular format. Captiva, Joycam, and Popshots (single use) cameras used a smaller 500 series film in rectangular format. I-zone cameras use a very small film format which was offered in a sticker format. Finally, Mio cameras used Polaroid Mio film which was Fuji Instax mini, branded as Polaroid and which is still available in 2015 as Fuji Instax Mini. This size produces a billfold sized photo. Polaroid still markets a mini format camera built by Fuji branded as Polaroid 300 and the film is available with both the Polaroid name and as Fuji Instax mini which are interchangeable.
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Vintage Polaroid Camera

Although the name Polaroid was synonymous with “instant camera” by the 1990s, growing consumer preference for digital technologies meant a shrinking market for the company’s film cameras. In 2008, Polaroid announced it would no longer make film-based products in order to focus its efforts on digital cameras and printers. By 2010 however, the Impossible Project, an initiative organized by 10 former Polaroid employees, began producing new film for Polaroid’s 600 and SX-70 cameras at a closed Polaroid factory in Enschede, Netherlands. Thanks to them, today’s instant-photo enthusiasts can continue to enjoy Polaroid’s classic analog cameras.
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Vintage Polaroid Camera

Shopping for a selfie fanatic? The Impossible Project debuted their first instant film camera this year, and it uses the same film as Polaroid 600 cameras. The camera itself is quite expensive when compared to most used Polaroid cameras, but its chock full of wild new features that Edwin Land could’ve only dreamed of. There may be a few used ones already out there, but this is the only camera on this list that you can purchase brand new. First and foremost, the Impossible Project I-1 is the perfect instant film selfie camera. You can connect the camera to your phone to use as a remote shutter, and the camera focuses much closer than the average Polaroid. With older Polaroid cameras, you’re going to need a buddy, but the I-1 allows one to take amazing selfies with minimum fuss. Did I mention the ring flash that makes for even more flattering portraits? When it comes to self portraits, none of the other cameras on this list come even close to the I-1. My full review. Find the I-1 on Amazon.
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Vintage Polaroid Camera

A camera so nice I recommend it twice. As far as cheap 600 type Polaroid cameras go, it doesn’t get much better than the Polaroid Impulse AF. Featuring Polaroid’s excellent sonar autofocus technology and a bright, large viewfinder, the Polaroid Impulse AF is an excellent camera. It doesn’t fold up and isn’t particularly sexy, but it gets the job done and producer sharper results than a fixed focus camera like the OneStep Closeup. My full review. Find the Polaroid Impulse AF on eBay.

Vintage Polaroid Camera

In February 2008, Polaroid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time and announced it would discontinue production of its instant film and cameras, shut down three factories, and laid off 450 workers. Sales of chemical film by all makers have dropped by at least 25% per year in the first decade of the 21st century. In 2009, Polaroid was acquired by PLR IP Holdings, LLC which uses the Polaroid brand to market various products often relating to instant cameras. Among the products it markets are a Polaroid branded Fuji Instax instant camera, and various digital cameras and portable printers. As of 2014 film continues to be made by the Impossible Project for several models of Polaroid camera, and for the 8×10 inch format.
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Vintage Polaroid Camera

First, if you’re unfamiliar with the state of vintage Polaroid cameras these days, here’s a quick rundown. In 2008 Polaroid discontinued producing new instant film and the cameras that used them. Millions of Polaroid cameras started collecting dust in attics all across the country. Unhappy with this sad state of affairs, a group calling themselves the Impossible Project purchased an old Polaroid factory and began development on new films that could be used in the older cameras. Flash forward to 2016 and the Impossible Project has been wildly successful in their mission, creating a wide variety of great films and making it a better time to be an instant film fanatic than ever before. They even made their own version of the iconic Polaroid camera (more on that below).

Vintage Polaroid Camera

The Polaroid SLR 680 or 690 is the big daddy of Polaroid cameras and the tool of choice for many of the biggest professional analog photographers working today. A robust design perfected from Edwin Land’s original folding camera, it features a fantastic sonar autofocus system. Best of all, since it’s an SLR you can accurately compose your image and even manually focus. You just get can’t better than this in the instant film world. My full review of the Polaroid 680. Find the Polaroid SLR 680 Camera on eBay.
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Vintage Polaroid Camera

The Polaroid Spectra System is a fantastic camera that has some of the best controls and features you’ll find on an instant camera. It features a readout in the viewfinder that tells you exactly the focus distance as well as the ability to turn flash on and off. In addition it features a rugged, compact design that folds closed to protect the lens. Best of all? This camera is fairly affordable because it falls outside of the mainstream 600 and SX-70 type cameras. For all serious projects, this is the camera I reach for. My full review. Find the Polaroid Spectra System Camera on eBay.
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The Jollylook is a new camera concept that merges the retro form-factor of a fold out camera utilizing polaroid film, and it’s fabricated primarily from recycled cardboard. Despite the bare-bones construction the Jollylook has an adjustable aperture, lens settings for different shooting modes (landscape, portrait, group, or macro), and a crank for extracting the polaroid once the image is taken. All you have to do is load it up with commonly available Fujifilm “instax mini” instant film cartridges. The project is currently funding on Kickstarter and reached their goal in just a few hours. (via PetaPixel) Tweet Pin It See related posts on Colossal about cameras, cardboard, polaroid.
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In more recent years, Fujifilm has introduced a line of instant cameras and film in Japanese and Asian markets. Fujifilm called their instant camera line Fotorama. Starting in the early 1980s the F series of cameras include the F-10, F-50S and F-62AF. The mid ’80s introduced the 800 series with models such as the MX800, 850E, and Mr Handy collapsible. The ACE cameras were introduced in the mid-1990s and film identical to the 800 film but with different cartridge. The integral films are based on the Kodak line of instant camera films. The instant films FI-10/PI-800/ACE series are somewhat compatible with Kodak line of instant cameras, with minor modifications to the cartridge to make it fit. The F series film was discontinued in 1994 but similar modifications on other Fujifilm cartridge box can be made. In the late 1990s Fujifilm introduced a new series of cameras using a new film called Instax it was available in markets outside the US. Instax became available in smaller mini size with the introduction of the Instax mini/Cheki line. The Polaroid’s Mio was available in the US, it uses the same film as the Fujifilm Instax Mini series but were rebranded as Mio film. None of Fujifilm’s products were sold officially in the United States, although the Polaroid-compatible film is available through some larger photographic suppliers. With the announcement in 2008 of Polaroid ceasing film production, the Fuji Instax and peel apart type films are slowly becoming available in more channels.

The silver SX-70 Land Camera is quite possibly the most beautiful camera ever made. If somebody wants an amazing camera to put on the shelf and admire, this is the one. Cheaper than the 680 I recommend for serious professionals, this camera is pure eye candy. As a camera, it can be slightly temperamental and prone to break, but responds well to some TLC. Since it’s an SLR, this camera makes it easy to frame your shot and ensure your focus. Quite simply, it’s a blast to use. The picture above is the sonar variant and I reviewed a plastic version, but the metal non-autofocus models are the true beauties. My full review of a similar model. Find the Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera on eBay.
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Buying Polaroid cameras can be tricky, because it’s often difficult for the seller to be able to tell if the camera works or not. Polaroid cameras themselves do not have batteries; the film cartridge itself powers the whole unit. So without a relatively expensive pack of film, it’s impossible to tell if the camera works or not. Often a seller will think a perfectly good camera doesn’t work because an expired film cartridge doesn’t have a charge anymore.