POLAROID IMAGE (SPECTRA) 1200

DescriptionPolaroid Image (Spectra) 1200 instant camera
ManufacturersThe Polaroid Corporation
Time Period2004 –
ComponentsCamera
DetailsAperture f/10 – f/45
Autofocus
LCD Screen
Dimensions
LocationUCL Cabinet of Obsolete Media
Inventory nº

Spectra cameras, known as “Image” outside of the U.S., were first introduced to the market in 1986 at a time when the Polaroid Corporation struggled to release new products. Following the retirement of Edwin Land as head of the Corporation, and with “Mac” Booth in his place, the decision to manufacture Polaroid Spectra answered to 35 mm film format, hence its 3½x2¾ format.  

Many models of the Spectra camera were released during 1986 and 2004, albeit most of them followed the original one, maintaining a similar style and features, mainly its dark grey or black colour, the collapsible body, autofocus system, flash, light and dark slide, though some of the models presented slight variations. For example, the Spectra Pro Cam, released in 1996, unfolded from the side as opposed to the front, and allowed the date/time to be engraved in the image; or the 1200FF model (2001), distinguishable from all the others due to its vertical opening. The Image 1200 was the last Spectra model released by the Polaroid Corporation and stands out from the other models due to its LCD digital display that enables the photographer to compose the image before shooting it. 

Though the Spectra camera was never as big as its integral counterparts in popularity, today it is still used by many, especially to those who appreciate the wide format and the main feature offered by all Spectra models (with the exception of the 1200FF), that is, the possibility to easily produce “double exposures.” The double exposures are possible by taking a picture and keeping the shutter button pressed, while collapsing the camera with the other hand, successfully interrupting auto-eject function and reinitiating the circuit.

A.L.

Bibliography:

Adam, Rhiannon. Polaroid. The Missing Manual. London: Thames & Hudson, 2017.

Bonanos, Christopher. Instant. The Story of Polaroid. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012.