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Instant photography -- Instant Camera

An Instant camera is a type of camera with self-developing film. The most famous are those made by the Polaroid Corporation. The invention of modern instant cameras is generally credited to American scientist Edwin Land, who unveiled the first commercial instant camera, the Land Camera, in 1947, 10 years after founding the Polaroid Corporation.Types of Polaroid Instant Cameras

Some of the earliest Polaroids used instant roll film. Later cameras utilized "pack film," which required the photographer to peel apart the film at a certain point in the developing process. More modern Polaroids, like the popular SX-70, used "Time-Zero" or "600" film, in which 10 exposures were packed together into a single enclosure. Each exposure develops automatically once the shot is taken. The newest form of Polaroid instant camera is the I-Zone, which produces miniature instant prints that are marketed as a novelty toy.


Polaroid film is traditionally much more expensive than 35mm film, with prices as much as 10 times as high per exposure. Still, Polaroid cameras are routinely used by professionals such as Dentists and Police Officers in their work because of the instant exposure capability. These cameras also enjoy a following amongst amateur photographers, who prize the instant gratification and romantic but somewhat low-quality tone that instant film provides. In this way, the Polaroid photographer has a similar mindset to Holga and Lomo camera users. The instant film also has been used in ways that are similar to folk art, including the transfer of the images and image manipulation. With the advent of digital photography, much of the Polaroid instant camera's appeal has been transferred to the digital cameras. Even the Polaroid Corporation itself produces digital cameras. As such, instant film and cameras have become something of a niche product.

Taking an instant photograph

Polaroid instant cameras, because they use instant film, require different shooting techniques than 35mm cameras. The instant film only develops properly between the temperatures of 55°F to 95°F (13°-35°C). Pack film should be refrigerated while unopened to prolong its useful life. When taking a picture, many amateurs are not used to the Polaroid camera's medium format, meaning that each picture is square instead of rectangular. As such, many beginning Polaroid photographers do not utilize the top half of the frame. Once the picture has been taken, it is best not to fan or bend the developing picture, as this can disturb the developing process. Development can take from 5 minutes to 24 hours.

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