Frame It Like a Polaroid Picture
This blog is going to be all about one of the most famous and iconic film (analogue) cameras ever made – the Polaroid!
If, like me, you think that Polaroid cameras are a fun way to create unique and quirky images, then you’ll love this blog. If, on the other hand, you think they belong in the past, I urge you to keep an open mind and read on anyway.
Polaroid Camera Pros and Cons
+You can buy vintage Polaroid cameras quite cheaply (some are on eBay / Amazon for as little as £5).
+Your photo is printed instantly.
+The photos make great souvenirs or gifts at special occasions, like weddings and birthdays.
+The pictures are printed on non-tear material, which is stronger than standard photographic paper.
+The photos are iconic in style.
–The film for vintage cameras is quite pricey (just shy of £20 for 8 instant images).
–The vintage Polaroid cameras do not have the sophisticated settings controls of a digital camera. Polaroid now has a digital instant camera that has a zoom.
–The photos are sized differently to standard digital photos, so if you’re framing one you’ll need a made-to-measure frame.
–With an analogue camera, you cannot delete a photo and start again, like you could with a digital camera. Once you take the shot, that’s it. So you better be ready!
Polaroid – Past to Present
Edwin H. Land and George Wheelwright formed Polaroid in 1937. Mr Land created a lens that could polarise light. This technology was used in cameras and also polarising (glare-free) sunglasses, used by pilots in WWII, according to the New York Times.
The company became well-known for their instantly developing photos.
The photo above is of the artist Andy Warhol with an SX-70 Polaroid camera. Online reports suggest this camera is now worth as much as $50,000 (about £30,000 at the time of writing).
Back in 1972, when Elton John, flares and fondue were the height of cool, Polaroid released the SX-70 Land Camera – the first automatic, motorised, folding, single-lens reflex camera. Back then, people usually had to wait a week or two for their holiday snaps to be developed. On the other hand, Polaroid offered the ‘Instant Experience’.
Polaroid evolved with the times and in the 80s, before digital photography came along, Polaroid released the Sun 600 Camera. It had a 116mm single-element plastic lens, it had fixed focus (i.e. no zoom) an electronic shutter and a built-in electronic flash. (See below.)
In the 90s when digital photography came in, Polaroid was one of the first to develop digital cameras, but they did not win the market share. By 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy, largely owing to the popularity of digital photography.
In 2011 Polaroid was back and released a digital camera, the Z340 Instant Digital Camera. Described as ‘old meets new’, this digital camera had an integrated printer that could turn digital photos into 3″x4″prints, it has a zoom and you can choose the borders for the pictures. (See below.)