Is it a Gem or a Dud? A Quick Story on Polaroid Cameras.

Today I came across a Polaroid Spectra camera, having already shot with and owning a Polaroid 600 I wanted to experience the magic of a larger frame size. I grabbed a color pack and pulled my friend outside for a quick portrait of her in the bright sunlight. Immediately, I noticed a few things; the rate at which the camera spit out the photo was very slow and the image itself had this opaque blue that was unusual. But having this be the first time I shot with this camera I figured that the film was different than the 600. I also noticed that some of the image didn’t develop at all, the chemicals didn’t seem to completely cover the image area. While I enjoy this look, I was also worried that the camera was faulty. So I took another one. And when the same errors happened I had someone else take it hoping maybe it was a user error.

Still nothing.

At this point I have taken $9 worth of photos and didn’t want to risk losing any more money. With everyone selling Polaroid cameras online for cheap it’s easy to get caught with a faulty camera. However, there are a few actions that can be taken before purchasing film to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

  1.         Film packs contain the battery for the camera, so, load an already shot with film pack to check if the motor is running. If the shutter releases and the camera motor runs, this means that your camera will produce an image once you press the trigger.
  2.         Check basic functions like the shutter and back end of the camera.
  3.         Clean the battery contacts and rollers.

Once all those steps have been taken it’s safe for you to go ahead and load your camera with a pack and see if any actual image comes out. Your best bet of finding out is to take an image outside in the sun. Thankfully I didn’t lose any money because of the Spartan Photo Center. Today they’re doing a free checkup and cleaning for all Polaroid cameras. this includes all the preliminary steps mentioned above. Once you know your camera  is working and ready, they have a wide variety of film packs to fit SX-70, 600, Spectra, and I-1 cameras with different frames and color options.

The image below is what I got with my first pack.


The brown that you see is the un-developed area. This is often because the rollers are not squeezing the chemicals correctly. It can also occur if the film packs are very cold, like freezing. Which is what the problem was this time, the pack of film that my friend gave me was really old. I found this out one way; testing out the camera with film.

Thankfully, the next pack of film I used was unexpired, and I think it turned out pretty well. #SpectraForever