Why We Love Polaroid Instant Cameras & An Exclusive Interview

We took four vintage Polaroid instant cameras on the road with us to the high desert in Moab, Utah and put them to the test. Here is what we found. 

I got my first Polaroid camera back in 2000 from a small shop in Northern California. I just loved it. The photos weren’t only instantly tangible and gratifying but they also had a specific dreamy and ethereal look to them that could only be captured by a Polaroid. I took it everywhere with me, I was hooked. Parties, camping trips, beach days, you name it. But as time went on and digital cameras became more prominent, my Polaroid camera started to shift into the background. I went from being obsessed with capturing life on Polaroid film to taking a million of photos digitally and carelessly erasing the ones I didn’t want. There are only ten photos available in a pack of Polaroid film, so every shot counted. Could it be that with digital cameras, I was getting lazy?

I think that’s the beauty of Polaroid instant cameras — they are intentional and thoughtful. Romantic and rustic. To be able to instantly see and feel the photo come alive in tangible form, right before your eyes, is a beautiful and nostalgic feeling. So when we were able to bring four different types of Polaroid instant cameras on our FP Me Moab Unplugged retreat, we were ecstatic. No one was taking photos with their smartphones, but rather capturing the experience in an authentic, real way with Polaroid film.

Check out the details about the four specific cameras we used and keep scrolling to read an exclusive interview with Polaroid!


The 600-Series: Polaroid One Step, Polaroid One Step Flash, and Polaroid Spirit

When most people think of the Polaroid instant camera, they imagine the 600 series. These cameras have either round or square edges and produce the iconic square photo with a white border. They also may come with auto-flash or automatic focus, depending on the model. The Polaroid One Step cameras reminded me most of my first Polaroid camera about 15 years ago. The basic square-cornered design has a classic look and both cameras feature focus-free simplicity and automatic shutter speed. The One Step has a typical slider for darken/lighten exposure while the One Step Flash, the first model in the second round of the 600 series, has a built-in automatic flash. The Polaroid Spirit is a model with the built-in flash. If you want your photos to have the classic polaroid look, then these are for you! These cameras are compatible with 600-type film.



Polaroid Pic 300

This is the newer analog camera. It’s the modern version of the classic Polaroid instant camera and creates smaller 2.1×3.4″ color photos right before your eyes. The color and clarity on the Polaroid Pic 300 was astounding and the small size makes for great wallet keepsakes. It is available in four different colors and is compatible with PIF-300 instant film.



And now a few words from Polaroid

When was the first Polaroid camera made?

Polaroid founder Edwin Land demonstrated the first instant camera on February 21, 1947.

Film and Polaroid photos are really in right now — why do you think this shift has happened?

There’s something special about being able to hold a physical photo in your hand, and we think consumers have started to miss that aspect of photography. Additionally, when photos only exist on a smartphone or a computer there’s a risk that everything could get lost, which has sparked a shift in the desire to also have physical prints.

Also, we are seeing that the younger demographic, a group that everyone kind of wrote off as never having interest in printing images, is now discovering this as a kind of novelty. The younger generation is discovering that they love to get a print of their favorite pictures once they see them.

What is the best camera for a first time user?

One of the cameras that is most popular with first time photographers in the Polaroid Pic 300 instant print camera. With the touch of one button, this analog camera allows users to take photos that instantly print and develop before their eyes.

What do you recommend for fashion photography?

The Polaroid Z2300 instant digital camera is a great option for fashion photography. Polaroid instant cameras have a rich history in the fashion industry, and the Polaroid Z2300 takes that to the next level. The camera allows users to snap, print, and share instant photos or save and share moments with the camera’s built-in memory. Additionally, the camera combines the magic of Polaroid instant photos with the ability to crop, add borders, or apply filters.

What is the best camera for outdoor use?

The Polaroid ISO85 digital still camera is ideal for outdoor use because of its rugged features. This 16MP camera is waterproof up to 3 meters and offers a front and rear screen LCD screen, perfect for taking selfies almost anywhere.


Thank you Polaroid team!

+ Any Polaroid instant camera lovers out there? We want to hear what you love most about Polaroids!

Photos by Maria Camila, fp naomi, and me.

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6 years ago

Love Polaroid cameras and the instant photos- it’s so much nicer to have physical photo keepsakes rather just keeping everything in digital files!

Emma xo // Wallflower Wardrobe

6 years ago

I’ve been wanting to get a nice Polariod camera just because I love how the pictures end up turning out. So far I’ve either found ones that weren’t in that good of shape or they were asking way too much for them. This just made me want to continue the hunt! :)

6 years ago

My sister has a Polaroid and I’ve been known to pilfer it every once in a while. The pictures always turn out so beautifully! Everyone looks pretty in a Polaroid print! <3

6 years ago

I have a Polaroid 300 and I love it! When you have a limited amount of pictures you can take, you appreciate them more, they are more meaningful :)

6 years ago

I’m a huge fan of Polaroid cameras [and all the different things you can do with them to produce images], so this is an article i so enjoyed reading. Thank you, Free People!


6 years ago

Polaroids are one of my favorite cameras! They produce gorgeous photos. I’ve always wanted one of my own!

6 years ago

I loved this!!! my grandma recently gave my sister one of those, so cool! I’ll definitely show this to her! ❤

6 years ago

I love Polaroids, however some of the photos in there are not polaroids. The smaller credit card shaped images are actually Fuji Instax images. Not polaroids. There is a rebrand instax camera that is sold under the polaroid brand; but not polaroids.

6 years ago

I’ve always thought Polaroid cameras and pictures were the most adorable thing ever! It’s so fun to have a keepsake of a memory to hold onto forever. I always cherish mine. I own a Polaroid Pic 300 in purple and it’s one of my most favorite things ever! I would recommend it to anyone!

6 years ago

I really wanted a Polaroid camera after watching Almost Famous and seeing Penny Lane take all those beautiful photos. One day I got lucky and found the same model as she used on an auction. Then I couldn’t get enough. Now I got around 40 Polaroid cameras in my collection and I love all of them.

6 years ago

Is there no way to take pics with these things that actually replicate the natural colors of what you’re photographing so photos don’t like like there were taken in the 60s?

I’m all for nostalgia, but I would not run an entire fashion blog based on Polaroid pics.

6 years ago

I feel like Polaroids capture life in a way that no other camera is quite capable of. Polaroids are instant; they capture a single moment in time that is new and vivid and yet it does so in a nostalgic manner. You feel different when looking at a Polaroid as opposed to looking at an image taken on a digital camera, kind of a whimsical, old-soul feeling, and I love that.


6 years ago

I have 3 600’s and 2 SX 70’s in my collection. The 70’s need work but the others are mint and work like new. I would like to see Polaroid get back to making film for these classic cameras since the Impossible films are expensive and vary print to print.

6 years ago

I loved reading this post! I didn’t know there were so many different types of Polaroid cameras out there. I use the fujifilm neo-classic instax mini, it’s such a great camera I take it everywhere with me!

5 years ago

These cameras are really vintage but I personally really want the Fuji instax mini 8!!!! Also Amy you should get the camera I’m talking about You can find it for really cheap on Amazon or eBay it’s a more modern Polaroid camera that has the pictures come out with the colors of the object you’re taking a pic of

5 years ago

Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this beautiful blog. We (Fujifilmstore) are reputed wholesaler & supplier of Digital Camera, Instax Cameras, 3D Image Products, Instax Accessories, Lens, Optical Devices and other at our online store.

Great article Joanna!

Polaroid is making a comeback. There’s nothing like the ‘click-kchsrrrr’ of capturing a memory and holding it in your hands, seconds later. I’ve found the Polaroid PIC 300 a great new model (see our review of it here: http://www.instantfilmcamera.co/polaroid-pic-300/).

I’d also be interested in your thoughts, Joanna, on the top 5 instant film cameras on the market today? We found the FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 to be the leader in price, picture quality and usability (see our review of it here: http://www.instantfilmcamera.co/fujifilm-instax-mini-8/).

Thanks again for the great article :)

4 years ago

Great article Joanna, love that you went to the desert to shoot. The pics look awesome.