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Polaroid Spectra / 1200 camera:
The Polaroid 1200 was released in 2001. The camera was a result of Polaroid’s later attempts to cater to customer feedback and suggestions in the face of a shrinking analogue industry. Creating this camera was one of last acts of the Polaroid corporation, and it was the last model implemented before the brand’s unfortunate demise. This occurred due to a combination of factors, including a lack of innovation and forward thinking that had characterised its earlier innovations in its its newer products, waning buzz, and lapsing popularity. The Polaroid brand failed to reinforce its identity as the innovative competitor it had once been, in the face of the burgeoning popularity of new and commercially exciting digital photographic mediums.
The camera, nonetheless, had some cultural currency, as it was featured in the film, Anger Management, and was a tool adopted by modelling agencies in the 2000s. It was favoured as a quick and easy way to photograph and document modelling talent in a format which could, due to its size, capture important physical features and details which would be lost in a smaller format. The quality of the images created, importantly, were higher than those available in digital mediums at the time. For this reason, Polaroid technology continues to be used in this incarnation to this day.
Once of the key advancements of the camera is its implementation of a wider format picture in a 4:3 ratio. It was rather ironic that while Polaroid’s initial decision to use 3x3 had resulted in its iconic signature image style in the 600 format, they eventually decided to abandon this in favour of a more generic 4:3 style.
One of the camera’s other distinguishing features is that its entire body can be operated immediately with the press of one button. With this button the flash and lens pop up and the camera is instantly read to use. It is also more compact, and more flat compared to the cube-like bodies of the Polaroid 600 and the Sx-70 box cameras. The camera combines both new and classic design elements, while being unmistakably a Polaroid product's extremely simple both technically and in its operation, making it a highly user-friendly model, and an ideal introduction to the Polaroid brand.
There is also the Spectra Pro camera realisation of this model, with a close-up lens, allowing for more control of composition, and autofocus, which utilises sonar technology in order to focus the image. The model implements cutting-edge analogue technologies from the time, which still make it a remarkable camera to use, and to appreciate. However, historically, in terms of the livelihood of the brand, it was too little, too late for Polaroid.