It’s time for another roundup of emails and tweets! Below are some highlights from the past few months, and answers to questions that might help you out in your adventures in instant film photography.
“I have a Polaroid Impulse with a new pack of film, but when I inserted it, it spit out the dark slide along with the first photo. Do you know what might be wrong? Will this happen every time I put in a new film pack? I can’t be wasting three dollars every single time I put in a new pack!”
If I had to guess, the top photo just stuck to the darkslide when it was pushed out, so they came out together. Frustrating, but hopefully it will only happen with that pack. If the rest of the photos come out one at a time on that camera as they’re shot, you’ll probably be fine for future cartridges. It’s always agonizing wasting frames of IP film, but unfortunately it happens with old cameras.
No-Flash Shutter on 600 Type Box Cameras
A reader recently wrote in to highlight the no-flash shutter option on cameras like the Polaroid CloseUp. When I initially wrote the reviews, I didn’t even notice it was there, and wrote about how the only way to turn off the flash is to cover it up. However, there is a small shutter switch next to the big one on the CloseUp that allows one to take a photo without triggering the flash.
In my experience, I have not had much luck with this secondary shutter. I’ve almost always gotten better results from simply covering the flash with tape or paper. This may have to do with the camera overcompensating for the lack of flash, something it doesn’t do when it thinks its flashing. I still stick by my original recommendation, but I need to update my reviews.
Subtle Camera Variants
I wrote in my One600 review that it was frustrating that the camera lacked any exposure compensation switch. A reader wrote in asking why I wrote that, when a manual for the One600 Pro/Job Pro clearly showed an exposure compensation switch. This is an example of Polaroid trying to diversify their camera range by creating a dizzying array of ever so slightly different product. I have the ‘vanilla’ One600, not the One600 Pro, and the only difference is the lack of an exposure compensation switch.
Nearly every model of Polaroid camera has versions with these slight variations, so always keep your eye open and make sure you’re getting exactly what you want when picking up an old Polaroid.
“I noticed on the back of the Polaroid Spectra cameras it is marked “charging.” Does the camera itself have to be charged?”
There are no batteries in any Polaroid cameras (they’re in the film packs themselves), so it does not have to be charged. Rather, the ‘charging’ light actually refers to the flash. It takes a few seconds for it to warm up before it’s ready to fire, which is what the light is referring to.