Polaroid. What a wonderful medium of expression. There are so many well-engineered cameras to choose from, and thanks to www.the-impossible-project.com we now have film for these puppies again. There is a special difference between every different type of photographic media, but the magic of instant film of any type is unmatched. Let’s look at a few of my favorites, and point out a few interesting characteristics that some of them have.
Big Swinger 3000 (1968-1970)
100 style packfilm camera (pull and peel style film). Has about a 110mm (ish) plastic lens, and can only use 3000 speed film. Focusing with this camera is fixed, as is the exposure. There is a single control on this camera which meters the exposure, dials in exposure compensation, and fires the shutter. This is basically a box camera to be used with polaroid film.
Looks like the cat likes this one.
Land Camera #180 (1965-1969)
This is one of the more sought-after models of the folding types of packfilm cameras. It has a 114mm f/4.5 lens and is fully manual, complete with a PC sync terminal for studio flash! Its folding bellows keeps it very small, but the feature set makes this camera one of the more professional options for polaroid use. Also has a self-timer, which is a plus when shooting self-portraits and landscapes.
Polaroid OneStep 600 (1983-199?)
This one is undoubtedly one of the most iconic looking cameras ever, in my opinion. Paul Giambarba designed that eye-catching rainbow stripe that makes this one gorgeous. Like a racing stripe, so to speak. One big characteristic that separates this one from the previous two is the 600 type film that it uses, which includes a built-in battery to process and eject the film and power the electronic shutter. It has a 103mm F/14.6 lens, and operates on a programmed exposure mode.
Spectra “Onyx” (1980’s)
This is one that uses Spectra type film, which is similar to 600 with a slightly different format and it’s also a bit speedier. There were a few Spectra cameras that shared this shape with various different feature sets, and all were made tailoring to the artist or creative communities. Batteries were powerful enough to support multiple flashes per exposure, multiple exposures could be made on one sheet of film, etc. The Onyx was a special edition based around one neat-o feature:
It has a transparent body! Another of my favorite features:
Sonar autofocus? That’s right, this and several other cameras developed by the Polaroid company use an amazing autofocus system which utilizes a very compact and accurate autofocus system. Why is this good? Dead perfect autofocus in COMPLETE DARKNESS. You want good pictures from your dance party birthday, but you only have the strobe-o-tron 3000 lighting the place? Here’s your solution. Takes pictures in program mode with or without flash, and has a socket for the wireless remote accessory.
SLR 680 (1982-19??)
Have you ever seen the movie Memento? One of it’s stars is the folding 600 film camera you see here. It folds nearly flat, similar to the SX-70. The automatically-adjusting electronic flash is a big difference between the two of them. This is another camera that uses sonar autofocus as well. Here’s a few images of it unfolded:
Note the manual focus control and exposure compensation wheel.
I haven’t posted in a few days, so I figured I would take you guys a little deeper into my world of obsession this week. If you have any questions or suggestions for things you’d like me to explore, please email me at thelatentlibrary.gmail.com. And follow me!