Polaroid Camera Facts: Traverse Into The Basics Of Photography

Sridevi Tolety
Apr 10, 2023 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Mar 08, 2022
Edited by Kelly Quinn
Camera setup for shoot
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

It's always a wonderful blessing to be able to freeze time.

We can now capture every unforgettable event in the digital age, thanks to the ubiquitous availability of cameras. Cameras have certainly become such an indispensable part of everyday life.

With rapidly expanding new technologies, we can quickly snap high-quality photographs with digital cameras or smartphones but also save and share them. However, there was a period when the film had to be processed in a dark room in order to examine the photograph you had taken.

Then came instant cameras, which bridged the gap between image creation and presentation. Because Polaroid pioneered instant cameras, the moniker 'Polaroid cameras' became synonymous with these cameras.

Polaroid's innovations in instant photography attracted the public's curiosity, as you can see your image instantly. Let's explore some more details about Polaroid cameras, which were hugely popular when they were first released.

The Origin Of Polaroid Cameras

A Polaroid camera is an instant camera that produces a visible image soon after capturing the image. Today we've all heard of these instant cameras, right? But you might be wondering how did it come to be and what was its inspiration? Let's find out!

Polaroid Corporation, which was founded in 1937, was stacking polarizer technology onto every product imaginable, including 3D movies and glare-reducing eyeglasses; particularly during World War II when it manufactured different commodities for the military services.

When Edwin Herbert Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, was photographing his three-year-old daughter, Jennifer, she queried why she couldn't view the image he'd just taken.

Nearly five years later, in 1948, that one remark resulted in the creation of the Polaroid Land camera, an instant camera that employs instant film to produce a chemically produced print quickly after the photograph is taken.

On Thanksgiving Day, Polaroid's first camera went on sale to the general public at Jordan Marsh in downtown Boston for $89.75. Polaroid manufactured and patented these instant cameras and film, which other companies quickly reproduced.

Different Types Of Polaroid Camera

It's always been a pleasure to photograph, from vintage models to modern advanced instant cameras. Over time, different Polaroid and non-Polaroid instant cameras were introduced. They are classified according to the kind of film they use, and we've gathered a collection of them all here.

First instant cameras used roll film.

The Polaroid Model 95 was the first roll film camera, followed by successive versions 40, 30, and 20 series. These were manufactured until the '70s, after which they were phased out in 1992.

The next series of instant cameras used pack film, comprising folding and non-folding series of 100, 200, 300, 400, and 80 series, as well as a few custom ad hoc cameras.

This pack film is initially available in a rectangular format for 100 series cameras and afterward in square format for 80 series cameras.

Then came models using an integral film called SX-70 film, which was the first folding SLR instant camera with a sensitivity of around ISO 160, and later improved to a simple and easy-to-use 600 film camera, which had higher sensitivity of around ISO 640.

Later, upgraded versions, Spectra and Captiva, employed a smaller film in a rectangular frame.

From 1999 pocket cameras were launched, Polaroid i-Zone instant cameras, which utilizes a very small film with the most recent iteration, Polaroid Go instant camera, available from 2021.

They now have improved versions with flashlights that are easy-to-use and artistic instant cameras like the Polaroid Now (2020) with two fixed-focus lenses and the Polaroid Now+ (2021), which can automatically pick between two fixed-focus lenses and even has added traits available through smartphone apps.

Despite its short existence and complexity, the Polaroid company also created and developed the Polavision instant video camera system.

Advantages Of Polaroid Camera

With the introduction of digital photography, much of the consumer attractiveness of instant cameras has been shifted to digital cameras. However, instant cameras have their own perk. Let's explore these benefits.

We always want to create absolutely wonderful images to live in the moment later. Polaroid cameras reduce the time between capturing a vision and viewing it with its instant film, allowing us to examine the photograph right after it is shot and retake it if there is an issue.

The practice began with hobbyist snap shooting and quick photography.

Instant cameras, in particular, grew and can be beneficial for further creation of things like passport photos, ultrasound photos, and other identity photos for work and security passes.

Furthermore, they were employed by police officers and fire investigators due to their ability to capture an unalterable instant image. These can be useful for professional photographers, screenplay supervisors in film production, and others to check all the parameters before capturing the expensive shots.

A child taking pictures in park

Polaroid Cameras Vs. Other Cameras

For a long time, cameras have been an integral part of our life. Whether it's a digital camera, DSLR camera, instant camera, or smartphone camera enables us to grab and treasure memories for the rest of our lives.

Out of all of these cameras, Polaroid cameras have a unique position. Many legendary artists and photographers are Polaroid fans, such as Andy Warhol, Ansel Adams, and many more.

Following the launch of the Polaroid camera to the market, a range of instant cameras was made, namely Kodak's EK and Kodamatic series cameras, Lomography, Mint camera, Fujifilm, and others. In instant cameras, Polaroid is the most well-known and best-selling brand on the instant camera market.

This firm originated and patented these simple-to-use instant cameras and continuously improved styles and added features.

So, while choosing any camera, choose a high-quality, well-known brand that has considerable expertise in the field of photography. This makes it easier for you to create that perfect photo and cherish it all time.


Q. When were Polaroid cameras popular?

A. By the late '70s, instant cameras were extremely popular, with Polaroid Corporation controlling two-thirds of the market.

Q. Why was the Polaroid camera invented?

A. Edwin Land pioneered this instant photography, and the basic vision was to create a simple photographic system for everyone to use.

Q. What are the benefits of a Polaroid camera?

A. One of the biggest perks of polaroid cameras is that you may view the true photo immediately after its capture to make the vision more sensible.

Q. How long do Polaroids last in the camera?

A. For optimal effects, we need to finish a film pack within two weeks and not over one month.

Q. When was the Polaroid camera invented?

A. Edwin Herbert Land, the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, designed this Polaroid instant camera released in 1948.

Q. How do Polaroid cameras work?

A. When a photo is taken, the camera lens opens, allowing a pattern of light to enter and reflect the image.

Then the one negative rolled up and was exposed to this light which has three layers of chemical reagents. Each of these compounds absorbs one of three basic light colors: red, blue, or green which imprints the picture, and the rollers then eject this instant photo.

Q. How many pictures can a Polaroid camera take?

A. With this Polaroid photography, you may capture a maximum of 10 instant photos.

Q. How long will Polaroid pictures last? 

A. You don't have to worry because this instant photo fades after 100 years if maintained nicely.

Q. How many films can a Polaroid hold?

A. If we consider Polaroid SX-70, its picture area is 3.1 x 3.02 in (79 × 77 mm) and the all-around 4.23 x 3.48 in (107 x 88 mm). In general, any Polaroid can hold a film pack that could accommodate 10 films.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

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Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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