Vintage instant cameras from Polaroid & Kodak: OneStep, Pronto, Colorburst & more

Vintage instant cameras - Polaroid and Kodak

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If you grew up in the age of traditional cameras and film, you will know how exciting it was every time someone brought out one of these vintage instant cameras, like these ones from Polaroid and Kodak.

If someone brought one to a party or holiday gathering, you could be sure of two things: 1) Everyone would want their picture taken, and 2) they would marvel at how the photo appeared in about a minute — just like magic.

The Polaroid Color Pack camera (1963)

Even if it didn’t take color pictures in 50 seconds, this would be the camera to give.

The Polaroid Color Pack camera (1963)

60 seconds. Under $60. (1965)

New economy model of the Polaroid Color Pack Camera. Same great film. Same fast loading. Same big color prints in 60 seconds (black and white in 10). Yet half the price of the original model.

1965 Polaroid 104 camera

Four mid-60s Polaroids (1966)

Be a killjoy. Tell your wife what you want for Christmas. (And while you’re at it, tell her which model.)

1. The economy Color Pack Camera? Gives you big, beautiful color prints in 60 seconds, black and white in 15. (Is there any other way to take pictures?) It’s lightweight. Loads in seconds. Electric eye. Yet Polaroid has figured out a way to shrink the price. Under $60.

2. Maybe the moderate-priced one? Has many deluxe features the economy model doesn’t. like a sharp triplet lens and superimposed-image range and viewfinder. Can use the Polaroid Portrait Kit and many other accessories. Under $85.

3. How about the almost-luxury model? A great buy. You get most of the important features of the deluxe Color Pack Camera. Even the same brushed chrome body. But the shutter housing is metal and plastic instead of chrome, the strap nylon instead of leather. Includes flashgun. Under $125.

4. Maybe even the deluxe model? This is the finest automatic camera Polaroid has ever made. It can do things none of the others can: make black and white pictures indoors without flash, make automatic time exposures up to 10 seconds. Brushed chrome finish, supple leather strap: a beauty. Includes flashgun. Under $150.

Oh. About your wife. You’ll square it with when you start taking all those pictures of the kids.

Polaroid cameras from 1966

Polaroid Color Pack Camera: Goodbye, Charlie. (1968)

The next boss who hands out a gold watch might just get a punch in the nose. After all, a man who’s retiring wants something to fill his time, not to tick it off.

Why not a Polaroid Color Pack Camera?

The very first Monday he doesn’t have to make the 8:02, he can start enjoying it. He’ll pop in some film and start shooting. (The electric eye does the work.) In 60 seconds, he’ll start peeling off beautiful color prints.

The camera shown here is the finest automatic Polaroid has ever made. Superb Zeiss Ikon single-window range- and viewfinder. Transistorized shutter that lets you make black-and-white pictures indoors without flash, perfect time exposures up to 10 seconds automatically. A sharp triplet lens, 2 exposure ranges for color, 2 for black-and-white. In other words, the works — including a flashgun.

It costs something under $160 — more than three times as much as the lowest-priced model. But nothing’s too good for old Charlie, right?

1968-Polaroid Color Pack Camera

The 60-second excitement (1968)

It’s everywhere. Do you have your Polaroid Color Pack camera? (At Christmas)

The 60-second excitement - Waiting for a photo - 1968

Now Polaroid takes the next step. (1969)

We’ve done it. The camera that calls you when your picture is ready. This is the Countdown 350. One of the most automatic cameras in the world.

The moment you shoot, it starts making decisions for you. The electric eye tells the electronic shutter how much light to let in. Pull the film packet, and the electronic timer beeps the instant your picture is ready.

It’s one of the most versatile Polaroid Land cameras ever made. You can take black-and-white shots indoors. Without flash. Automatic time exposures. Or even portraits and close-ups with special attachments.

And it’s one of the finest we’ve ever made. It has a sharp 3-element lens. And a Zeiss Ikon double image rangefinder-viewfinder.

There are four great cameras in Polaroid’s Countdown line. Starting at under $80. (The Model 330.) And they all beep or buzz to tell you when your picture is ready. Now you’ve heard everything.

The Countdown 350. So automatic it even calls you when your picture is ready. “Beep.”

1969-Now Polaroid takes the next step

MORE: Vintage Instamatic cameras: Flash back to the boxy, iconic cameras that pretty much everyone had in the ’60s & ’70s

Kodak Swinger Sentinel Land Camera (1969)

The new Swinger Sentinel takes beautiful black and white pictures in 15 seconds.

Vintage Swinger Sentinel Land Camera - Polaroid 1969

The Kodak Colorpack II Land Cameras (1969)

Color pictures in a minute. Automatic exposures. 3-element lens for sharp pictures. And a built-in flash for 4-shot flashcubes.

Oct 31, 1969 Polaroid camera

Polaroid’s Square Shooter (1971)

Polaroid’s square picture: The money you save on 8 almost pays for 2 more.

Vintage Polaroid Square Shooter 1971

Polaroid cameras at lower prices (1972)

Big shot, Square Shooter, 420-450 land cameras all for under $20-$200.

Vintage Polaroid cameras from 1972

MORE: Fotomat: The famous, fabulous drive-up photo stores of the ’70s & ’80s

Sale for various types of Polaroids (1973)

Vintage Polaroid instant camera lineup in May 1973

The Polaroid minute (1973)

The Polaroid Minute camera - 1973

The 60-second masterpiece. (1976)

Polaroid’s Super Shooter for the Super Colors.

Old Polaroid Super Shooter 1976

The Handle (1977)

The Handle Kodak instant camera 1977

Bzzz! It’s automatic! (1977)

Only one motorized instant camera gives you brilliant color by Kodak.

Vintage 70s Kodak EK-6 Instant Camera 1977

Watch it happen with Polaroid’s Pronto (1977)

Three popular Pronto! models for sharp, clear SX-70 pictures.

Polaroid’s MinuteMaker (1977)

The least expensive way to enjoy instant photography

Polaroid's MinuteMaker (1977)

Polaroid’s OneStep camera (1977)

New from Polaroid. The world’s simplest camera… Press the button and the picture’s in your hand! You never focus, never set anything. Just aim and shoot.

Vintage Polaroid's OneStep camera (1977)

Polaroid’s SX-70 (1977)

The finest instant camera in the world.

Vintage cameras - Polaroid's SX-70 (1977)

Polaroid’s SX Alpha-1 (1977)

How good is it? Decide for yourself. Let’s start with close-ups.

The only folding single lens reflex camera in the world. We got this remarkable picture from less than one foot away with a SX-70 Alpha 1 Land camera. Other cameras couldn’t do it without a special lens…

Polaroid's SX Alpha-1 1977 (1)

Polaroid’s SX-70 Alpha-1 Land Camera (1977)

It was only fitting that this camera be bound in fine leather. By all criteria, the SX-70 Alpha I is the unique single-lens reflex camera.

Such a camera should also look distinctive. So we bound it in fine leather, as one binds a classic book, and set it off with a velvety chrome finish. It folds to about 1- by 4- by 7-inches so you can carry it gracefully from your shoulder or easily in your pocket.

Inside, its sophisticated optics let you focus through the picture-taking lens to as close as 10.4″. You can take instant portraits, sequential pictures as fast as every 1-1/2 seconds, daylight flash pictures, even automatic time exposures to 14 seconds.

Polaroid's SX Alpha-1 1977 (4)

Kodak introduces Colorburst instant cameras (1978)

The only low-priced, motorized instant cameras that give you this… bright, brilliant, bursting color by Kodak.” – Dick Van Dyke

Kodak Colorburst vintage instant camera 1978 - Dick Van Dyke

ALSO SEE: Vintage 110 cameras: The pocket cameras with small film cartridges that made photography incredibly easy

Polaroid’s SX-70 Sonar OneStep (1979)

Just press this button. Sonar automatically focuses the lens.

Polaroid SX Sonar OneStep instant camera 1979

Colorburst 50 (1979)

With the new Kodak Colorburst 50 Instant camera, you just aim, shoot, and watch the feelings grow.

Vintage Kodak Colorburst 50 - 1979

Kodamatic, with David Copperfield (1982)

See Kodak’s amazing new Kodamatic — perform feats of magic before your eyes. Now you see them, now you do!

Any light’s automatically right for beautiful pictures within the range of our uncanny electronic flash every time.

80s Kodamatic instant cameras 1982

Spectra: Give, and take (1987)

This holiday season, give the Polaroid Spectra System, and take instant pictures like you’ve never seen before.

Polaroid Spectra System camera 1987

MORE CAMERA FUN: The Kodak Disc camera debuted in 1982, but couldn’t live up to its promise. Here’s the story.

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. I received one in 1976 for my High School Graduation. THE Problem…TEN PICS cost $10 In 1976 for a 18 year old? That was lots of money. BUt O THE PICS WERE GREAT!

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