In Inspiration/ Photography

Polaroid cameras through the ages

Here at Super Snaps, we’re big fans of Polaroid…as we’re sure you’ve already guessed! We’ve been loving Polaroid prints since we started and are the only official reseller of Polaroid prints in the UK and Europe! But did you know that the first Polaroid camera was sold in 1948?! Keep reading to find out more…

Who created Polaroid?

The creator of Polaroid was called Edwin Land, and we’d like to say a big thank you to him! However, Land’s innovations didn’t begin with cameras. Before selling the first Polaroid Land camera in November 1948, The Polaroid Corporation also produced glasses, ski goggles and 3D glasses.

edwin land creator of polaroid

Edwin Land

What (or who!) was the inspiration behind the first Polaroid camera?

The first Polaroid Land camera took years to create – the idea came in 1943 from a question posed by Land’s daughter whilst they were on a family holiday. Land had taken a photo of his daughter, and she asked why she couldn’t see the photo he had taken of her straight away. This first formed the idea of the instant camera for Land.

When was the first Polaroid camera sold?

Land sold the first Polaroid Land camera (the Model 95) in a department store in Boston, Massachusetts on the 26th of November, 1948. The price of the camera was $89.95, and this model was to become the prototype for all Polaroid Land cameras produced over the next 15 years.

Throughout the 1950s the sales of Polaroid cameras continued to rise, and more and more models were produced (e.g. the Model 110, Model 80 and Model 700). Polaroid also started to produce different film types. In 1956 the one-millionth Polaroid Land camera, a Model 95A, came off the assembly line. By this point, Polaroid products were distributed in over 45 countries around the world.

polaroid camera model 95

Model 95

When was the first instant colour film revealed?

The first instant colour film was unveiled by Polaroid in 1963, and was called Polacolor. The Polaroid Model 100 Land Camera also came out in the same year, and was the first fully automatic pack film and exposure control camera. Just two years later, in 1965, the Polaroid Swinger camera was released. With a suggested price of only $19.95, this low-priced yet classy camera was an instant hit with the younger generation.

What came next for Polaroid?

The 1970s brought some big moments for Polaroid. It launched its SX-70 Land camera, which was a folding SLR instant camera. Polaroid also launched the SX-70 Land film which automatically develops in daylight. 5,000 units of the SLX-70 were produced a day just to keep up with the demand for this awesome bit of kit!


polaroid camera sx-70

SX-70 Land camera

The OneStep was also launched just five years later than the SX-70, in 1977. Shortly after it was debuted the OneStep became the best-selling camera in America. Polaroid had done it again.

Polaroid land onestep camera


In 1981 the Sun Autofocus 660 and the Sun 640 cameras were launched. They took 600 High Speed colour Land film, which at the time was the world’s fastest instant colour print film.

Five years later, in 1986, the Spectra System was introduced. It had six different switches on the back, and allowed users to select options regarding autofocus, flash, and even whether to allow the camera to make noises. This was Polaroid’s most advanced photographic system to date.

In 1992 the Polaroid Captiva camera and film system came out. This was a compact format designed for instant portraits.

Fast foward another two years and the Polaroid OneStep Express was reissued, with some changes. It now featured a rounded body and various colour options. The best-selling OneStep had had an upgrade.

Just two years later, in 1999 Polaroid brought out the Polaroid iZone. This was an instant pocket-sized camera and also came in a range of colours. Fitting perfectly in your pocket the iZone came in a range of colours and printed super small prints which soon became very popular. We all love mini Polaroid prints, right?

What about digital cameras?

In 2011 Polaroid launched the Z340 instant digital camera. This fully-functioning digital camera had an integrated printer to turn your photos instantly into 3×4 inch prints! This was shortly followed by the Z2300, which printed small 2×3 inch sticky-backed photos! Yep, Polaroid prints you could stick. We’d love them too.

In 2014 Polaroid brought something new to the table again – The Polaroid Cube. At just 35mm, the cube was weatherproof, shockproof, mountable and capable of taking up to 90 minutes of HD video.

Back to instant printing, in 2015 Polaroid launched the Polaroid Snap, followed by the Polaroid Snap Touch in 2016 and the Polaroid Pop in 2017.

polaroid cameras - polaroid cube

Polaroid Cube

Polaroid today

All of this brings us to 2018, when Polaroid Originals launched the Polaroid OneStep2 (an instant analogue camera) along with Polaroid Original films. So yes, if you love the sound of the SX-70 (don’t forget it used to be a fave) you can still buy the film!

Throughout the years, Polaroid has adapted and changed to always follow the needs and wants of their customers. It’s just one of the main reasons we love them! That and the amazing design, ability to take awesome pictures, the list goes on…

Which is your favourite Polaroid camera – have you ever used one? Let us know or post your own photos and tag us @wearesupersnaps! Fancy finding out more about our Polaroid Prints? Head on over to our other blog post all about them!

You Might Also Like