instagram : #Polaroid600
The first Polaroid 600 camera was manufactured in 1980:,: not long after Dr Edwin Land was ousted from the Polaroid Corporation (the story about why Dr Edwin Land was ousted will be published here soon, please check back). Polaroid created the 600 series to capitalise on an increasingly expanding market. By making the Polaroid camera more affordable for the general public, they could exploit the growing public interest in personal photography and user-friendly home developing methods.
The Polaroid integrated system was first implemented through the Sx-70 SLR Polaroid camera. This was after local councils of the United States implored Polaroid to formulate a viable solution for the waste problem caused by their earlier peel-a-part Polaroid films. (This was a system where, after the photograph was taken, the photographic image would need to be peeled from the negative after a set amount of developing time; you would then normally keep the positive photograph and bin the negative.)
This meant that when an on average 2 million people went shooting Polaroid each weekend, the American council departments were collectively left with the unenviable task of managing at least 2 millions sheet of negatives that were being dumped into the bin (more on the story of peel-apart film to be published here soon, please check back).
Athough the 600 series is a cheaper and less technically impressive model in comparison to the SX-70 Alpha Single Lens Reflex (SLR) professional camera, it is consistently referred as today's classic Polaroid camera. The inexpensiveness of the Polaroid 600 camera series contributed to its widespread popularity. It became the must-have Christmas stocking-stuffer and birthday present, favoured for its ease-of-use, the light-weight portability of its frame and the convenience of its instantaneously integrated prints. Consequently the integrated film (where the positive and negative are in one sheet) has become today's most iconic Polaroid picture. There is just something indescribably appearing about the proportion of the white frame to the 3x3 inch picture. It is a memorable and mesmerising ratio; infinitely recognisable and relatable, and steeped in a rarely equalled, universally acknowledged nostalgia. Its lasting influence can be observed in the widely popular Instagram’s choice to appropriate the square format, instead of the classic 4 : 3 ratio, and to base their logo image on a Polaroid camera design.
As a result of the affordability of the camera, Polaroid 600 camera went on to be the most manufactured and sold instant camera Polaroid ever made. As such, there are 50 different Polaroid 600 models ranging from the very first Polaroid 600 light management system LMS to the later Onestep 600 and the newer Polaroid One.
The simultaneous ubiquity and inimitability of Polaroid meant it fused readily, both commercially and aesthetically, with other famous brands and icons, such as the fast food chain Macca’s (McDonalds) who had their own Ronald McDonald Polaroid 600 camera manufactured, the 90s girl power phenomenon/band; the Spice Girls, the legendary doll; Barbie Polaroid 600; even Disney’s extremely popular character Tasmanian Devil had his own Polaroid 600 camera. These models are now rare and sought-after collectibles, signifying a time when the Polaroid 600’s cultural currency was at its peak.
There is also a less-known category of Polaroid 600 camera, called the Business edition or the JobPro 1 and 2 editions. These Polaroid 600 cameras contained reinforced components; such as a highly protected eyepiece and more sturdy body; designed to protect against multiple falls and allow the user to take Polaroid pictures in harsher environments.
The generic features of a Polaroid 600 camera:
- No battery needed ( battery is in the film cartridge)
- Automatic exposure and black and white balance control
- Focal distance - 4 feet minimum
- Flash and non flash capability
- Extra feature: Close-up lens; for 2 -4 feet focusing
- Size (closed) : 9cm x 14cm x 11cm
- Size (open) : 14cm x 14cm x 11cm
- Weight : 800g