Polaroid Instant Camera Information

By Casey Quinn

The Polaroid instant camera first debuted several decades ago. The popularity of the Polaroid camera soared and the device became an integral part of popular culture during the 1970s and 1980s. With the invention of the instant camera, photography was greatly simplified. Several seconds after taking a photograph with a Polaroid instant camera, a fully developed print was produced.


The Polaroid Corporation was founded by Edwin H. Land back in 1937. The company was initially founded to produce products such as camera filters and sunglasses. A decade later, Polaroid introduced the first instant camera known. The Model 95 produced black and white images in about 1 minute. Beginning in 1963, Polaroid offered a new version of the instant camera that produced color images. Polaroid instant cameras continued to be popular until the early 1990s. Sales of the Polaroid instant camera plummeted when the digital camera was introduced which led to the company discontinuing the device in 2008.


There are several different types of Polaroid instant cameras that have been manufactured over the years. The easiest way to differentiate between the types is to identify the type of film the Polaroid instant camera relies on. The first type of instant camera produced relied on instant film rolls. This type of film had two rolls that combined together during the developing process. Other cameras used pack film that needed to be pulled apart after the developing process was completed to reveal the final photograph. Modern Polaroid instant cameras utilized a sophisticated type of integral film.


Instant integral film combines the elements found in traditional film with the different chemicals needed to develop a photograph. Every piece of integral film is made up of several layers. There are three layers that are each sensitive to a specific shade of light that is red, green or blue. Under each of these layers is a special chemical in a complimentary shade of cyan, magenta or yellow that is used in the developing process. When a photograph is taken on a Polaroid instant camera, the different color lights expose areas on the light sensitive layers. Instant film also contains a reagent that is activated when the film passes out of the camera after a photograph has been taken. This reagent triggers a chemical reaction between the different layers. When the reaction has finished, the photograph is fully developed.


Flash units are a common feature found on Polaroid instant cameras. Depending on the camera model, these flash units could be rechargeable or single use. Self timers are also popular features on Polaroid cameras. The majority of instant cameras produced by Polaroid feature a plastic body. The initial models were constructed out of metal. Although some models of the Polaroid instant camera feature a glass lens, most included a plastic lens.


With the discontinuation of the traditional instant camera, Polaroid was forced to modernize itself in order to compete with digital cameras. In early 2009, Polaroid introduced the new PoGo digital camera. The PoGo features a compact color printer that has been integrated directly into the body of the device. The end result is a digital camera that can produce color photographs instantly. The photographs produced by PoGo cameras are 3 inch x 2 inch and come out of the device fully developed.