Getting Instant with the Polaroid 635 CL


What to do when you are feeling impatient and simply don't want to wait for the lab to process your images? Grab yourself the marvelous Polaroid 635 CL (Close Up).

This is my Polaroid 600 Series Camera. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Camera is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Since I started my journey back into film, I’ve been to many places, I’ve tried many new things. I’ve found things I love that I never had before. I’ve found the Diana, the Holga, and medium format film. I’ve found the wonderful cameras and film Lomography makes – they are superb. I love my Lubitel 166+ probably the most.

My foggy morning series, I was so pleased with the results I had these professionally box framed, with the polaroids ‘lifted’ from the back of the box.

One of my strangest new found loves is this beauty. My ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Polaroid Supercolor 635 CL. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and for some reason, whilst everyone else was rockin’ the Polaroid, I don’t recall ever having touched one. Never. Not until this year. I saw a few Polaroid images pop up on this site and was smitten, so I dug a little deeper and found out about the Impossible Project. They’ve been manufacturing film compatible with this camera now for a few years. And, like the Lomographers Mantra, you can’t plan for the whacky things it does, so ’Don’t think, just shoot’ with it.

My frozen series.

On to the camera. This is a classic example of what is known as the ‘600 Series’ Polaroid. It uses integral film, film that develops itself without intervention. it’s extremely simple both technically and to operate. It allows you only three choices you can make.

1) Distance, like an LCA you estimate the distance and choose 06.m – 1.2m or 1.2m to infinity.
2) You can choose to lighten or darken your images with a slider.
3) You can choose to shoot with flash or without.

The camera itself is a simple box camera, though it has a mirror to reverse the image onto the film. It’s a cheap plastic lens, a simple shutter and a light sensor to keep the shutter open as long as it needs. Aim, shoot, image pops out the front.

Community shots using various Polaroid 635 CL cameras.

Of all the Polaroid 600 series cameras this is my favorite. This is due to several reasons. The cheap plastic lens makes the image a little dreamy. The simplicity of operation allows you to be fast. It’s built like the proverbial lavatory made of bricks. It looks fantastic. The design is iconic. Bust most of all, it allows you to go closer than the fixed distance models. If you are buying a Polaroid always make sure you get the CL version. It simply is more flexible.

There aren’t really any negative’s to this camera (no pun intended). It is a wonderful thing. The only problems are the cost of film – hopefully as more people buy into old-skool instant photography we’ll see that price go down. So help out, and start shooting instant today!

written by adam_g2000 on 2012-09-11 in #reviews


  1. _chuckyna_
    _chuckyna_ ·

    I just got this awesome Polaroid but I have problem with taking photos.. I have new film - it shows me that I have 10 shots, flash is charging, green light turn on but when I press the button, nothing happen. I also saw the video on youtube and it ejects empty photo when you put the film in and it isn't working neither. Do you know where the problem might be?

  2. dacosta
    dacosta ·

    Love it! Had one that was seldom used and boxed. Thanks to the Impossible Project, my 635 has a new (and busy) lease on life. It's a great camera that renewed a long-buried interest in instant photography.

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