Timeline: A Quick History of Instant Photography

Instant photography has come a long way. Here, a brief background on how it all started.

Credits: shanti929


American physicist Dr. Edwin Land created the polarization filter, which would eliminate glare and reflection from camera lenses.


Inspired by his 3-year-old daughter, who asked why she can't see the photo that he took of her, Dr. Land started toying with the idea of the instant camera. Research and development for photographic products progressed, leading to the introduction of instant photography. By 1948, the very first instant camera, called the Polaroid 95, was launched and sold out fast.


Polaroid's sales continued to go up, prompting the company to produce more camera models (such as Model 110, Model 80, and Model 700) and different film types (Types 31, 32, 41, 42, and 43). By 1956, sales reached over a million.


In 1963, the first instant color film, Polacolor, was born. It was also during this time when Polaroid Swinger, an affordable instant model targeted at a younger market, was introduced. Two years later, the first instant portrait was introduced, making it convenient for businesses such as passport photo service.

Polaroid 95 and Polaroid Swinger. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


The year when Polaroid reigned supreme. It was during this time when dry development process was introduced, using light to develop the film. In 1972, the iconic Polaroid SX-70 - a folding SLR instant camera - was launched. It was the first instant model that made use of dry development. The SX-70 was so popular, the company produced 5,000 units a day. Five years later, another iconic Polaroid camera - the Polaroid OneStep Land was created. This fixed-focus instant cam easily became the best-seller.

Polaroid SX-70 and Polaroid OneStep Land. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Photos taken with the SX-70:

Credits: _for_petes_sake_


In 1981, the Polaroid Sun 600 camera and Type 600 color film were released. In the following year, Dr. Land decided to quit the Polaroid Company. Despite his absence they continued to develop instant photography items, including the Polaroid Spectra system.

Meanwhile, another company has decided to join the instant market; Fujifilm created the Fotorama - an instant camera with a rectangular format.

Polaroid Sun 600 and Fujifilm Fotorama. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Fujifilm launched the Instax camera series, which uses an 800 ISO credit card sized daylight color film. In 1999, a pocket-sized instant camera called the Polaroid i-Zone became an instant hit among teenagers.

Photos taken with Fuji Instax cameras:

Credits: 007-0815-styler, koduckgirl & haleozdemir

Photos taken with the Polaroid i-Zone:

Credits: okashii, mrsbatter & vtayeh


Polaroid ceased production of instant cameras. In 2014, Lomography’s first dedicated instant camera was born, called the Lomo'Instant. Equipped with special modes and options for Multiple Exposures, Long Exposures, and Accessories, the Lomo'Instant offered creative options previously not available to instant cameras. The Lomo'Instant Wide instantly became a favorite; its lens cap doubles as a remote control for taking self-portraits, group shots, and long exposures.

A variety of Lomo'Instant and Lomo'Instant Wide cameras.

These photos were taken with the Lomo'Instant and Lomo'Instant Wide cameras.

Credits: dream, michusa, fl0werp0wer, dop, klive0420, faaabii, ilovefrenchfries, kennichi & freakoftheweek

Three more instant cameras followed suit: the fully-automatic Lomo'Instant Automat, the sharp-eyed Lomo'Instant Square Glass which shoots square instant shots and classic format (when used with the Instant Mini Back accessory included in the kit), and the dreamy Diana Instant Square.

A variety of Lomo'Instant Automat, Lomo'Instant Square Glass, and Diana Instant Square

Here are some photos taken with the Lomo'Instant Automat, Lomo'Instant Square Glass, and Diana Instant Square.

Credits: lomography, pearlgirl77, mpflawer, goonies & frenchyfyl

Jumpstart to an instant love affair with the Lomography instant family: the Lomo'Instant, Lomo'Instant Automat, Lomo'Instant Wide, Lomo'Instant Square Glass and Diana Instant Square. Drop by our online shop or worldwide gallery stores to get yours!

2016-09-20 #news #instant-photography

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