Polaroid cameras are an iconic piece of pop culture, and they’re making a strong comeback. This unique way of capturing instant images made its mark in history, and now our current generation is helping Polaroids trend again in a big way. Here’s why Polaroid is making a comeback, and why you should give it a shot yourself.
The History of Polaroid
In 1948, Harvard dropout Edwin Land invented the first Polaroid instant camera (via Boston). That same year, it hit the shelves just before Christmas—perfectly timed for eager consumers. Land would go on to serve as the company’s CEO for more than four decades following his invention.
Then, in 1963, Polaroid again revolutionized the instant photo game with the advent of color film (via Slash Gear). However, users still had to manually develop the image by pulling apart the layers of film paper. But in 1972, this process was eliminated with the advent of the SX-70 model of the camera. This new version allowed for the entire development process to take place automatically inside the camera. Plus, the new model was more compact and folded flat, making it much more convenient for photography on-the-go.
The downfall of Polaroid is credited to a few specific issues (via History-Computer). First, the company focused solely on instant-development photo cameras rather than diversifying its product offerings and expanding its target audiences. Secondly, despite the findings of their research and development team, Polaroid resisted digital camera trends. When digitization took the photography world by storm, the instant camera-focused company was left behind. Polaroid was eventually forced to file for bankruptcy in 2001.
Fast forward to 2017 when the Impossible Project reignited interest in instant film and even used Lady Gaga as a pop culture ambassador (via TechCrunch). The team took over the Polaroid name and released the popular One Step 2 camera. Polaroid and instant film were back in the spotlight. Consumers purchased the budget-friendly device and printed their new photos with a combination of nostalgia and excitement. The instant development trend also gained a new audience in tween and teen users, opening the door for a whole new market for the Polaroid brand.
Benefits of Instant Photography
Instant photography offers some unique benefits. It bridges the gap between digital images and waiting for traditional film to be developed. The price point of instant film and the quick development into a physical photo give the technology interesting features.
- Encourages more intentional usage than digital photography, meaning users can’t simply point, shoot, then erase a photo they don’t love. Plus, Polaroid film costs with each shot. These factors encourage users to be thoughtful and intentional about the shots they choose to take.
- Allows for less perfectionism than regular film. With regular film photography, users capture images and wait for development either from a lab or putting in work in a dark room. Users may feel like they can take more risks and therefore capture more unique images.
- It appeals to many users, with instant photography bringing users together. Whether they are a parent looking fondly back on their first Polaroid camera or a young user fascinated by the technology, there’s a wow factor for everyone. This allows family members and friends across generations to share in the love for instant film.
The Best Instant Cameras of 2022
If you’re ready to dip your toes back into the instant photo world, these are the best options on the market today. Many offer additional technologies not seen in past models and integrate newer technology into the instant photo process.
- Polaroid Now+
The Polaroid Now+ is an adorable option with tons of flexibility. It comes with five lens filters to create your own customized images. It also connects to a Bluetooth app, giving users additional features like full manual image control and innovative settings. It can also be mounted to a tripod and is powered by a rechargeable battery for the ultimate convenience.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a great choice that offers some key features. It automatically adjusts to the environment and optimizes the shutter speed for the amount of light. This allows users to capture clearer photos in both bright and low-light conditions. It also has a helpful selfie feature that makes snapping photos of yourself simple and convenient. Instax cameras also have a compact size and are easy to use, making them perfect for beginners and young users.
- KODAK Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera
With the KODAK Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera, you get a budget-friendly price point and simplified design. The compact unit allows users to point, shoot, and instantly print their photos on the go. With an automatic flash and both color and black-and-white modes, users can capture fun photos with the click of a button.
Creating Memories With Instant Photos
Instant photos are a fun way to create new memories and bring back the nostalgia of old ones. Look through your Polaroid photos from the past and invest in a new instant camera to capture current images. Consider digitizing both new and old Polaroid photos with iMemories. This way, you can view images of your instant photos from anywhere on a safe and secure cloud, and still have your physical copies to display in your home.