Polaroid Spectra (Image System)


We are talking about one of the most advanced instant cameras made by Polaroid in the eighties, with some manual controls that let you explore and experiment… in an instant!

One day I was talking about instant photography with a young dude and he told me that he have a card box full of Polaroid film… and do not know what to do with them….

Take a few hours and the card box was at my house, 30 double packet of Polaroid Spectra-Image for free!
The films are expired, some from long time but.. who care? they’re all for free! Oh man! These film don’t fit on any of my 600 models! the Spectra films are 10,2×10,2cm instead of the 8,8×10,7cm of the 600’s and the image is rectangular!

Doing a rapid search on the web and found that I need a Polaroid Spectra or Image (same camera renamed for the European market) System camera.
It seem impossible to find one on the local photographic market or asking to everyone down on the street!!

Then I decide to try on eBay, is the first time and with a lot of luck I bid my Spectra / Image camera for only 1.90 euro
and 10 euro for shipping from Germany, now I only hope it work!
Few days and the camera is in my hands, a rapid valuation of the camera, it seem in perfect order and it also come with the Macro adaptor!
Load the first film cartridge, I’m sitting in the kitchen, point in front of me…tchklaaapfff and the first film wait over the table to develop.
I’m in love, the expired films give to the images a vintage appeal.

This camera appear on the market in the early 1980’s.
A nice compact folding design with a hand strap on the left side.
Sliding the release latch back and the camera will open automatically and see what we have on the front:
on the right side a sophisticated sonar rangefinder that is responsible of the Auto Focus,
when you press the shutter halfway it send some sound waves to the subject and measure the time it take the sound to reach the subject and the echo to return to calculate the distance….wow! like a bat!
A Quintic f10 – 125mm (equivalent to a 46mm on a 35mm camera)computer designed 3 lens system, the eye of the camera.Someone says that it’s..a plastic lens!!
Then we have the photocell that measure the light for the automatic exposure that have a speed range of 1/245 to 2,8 seconds!
The viewfinder and for finish the flash.

On the rear we have an advanced system control panel that include:
Picture counter.
Flash Charge indicator.
Exposure control to lighten or darken a picture.
Flash overray to turn down the automatic flash.
Sonar Auto Focus overray to turn off the automatic focus that work from 0.60cm to 6m and set it at a fixed range from 4,6m (15feet) to infinite.
Self-timer and this is the best feature for any lomographer because the “abuse” of this control let you take multiple exposure with a Polaroid film!!!
Audio signal switch to turn down the camera’s audio signal,
Feet or Meters selector and for finish the Viewfinder.
With a film in the camera and pressing the shutter halfway a digital display appear in the viewfinder
showing the distance of the subject and the light condition.

The Double Exposure trick: after the camera has taken the picture with the self-timer it will not eject the film until you slide the self-timer switch off,
At this point close and re-open the camera and the self-timer start the countdown again and it take a new image over the previous one,
now turn off the self-timer switch and the film is ejected, wait a minute and…a double-exposed Polaroid film appear under your eyes.
Polaroid produced various Spectra models during the years, the Spectra Pro was the most evolutes and complete instant camera of the bunch, often used by the Police forces around the world!

Spectra films are still available on the web so don’t be lazy, start the hunting for a Polaroid Spectra or Image!

written by superlighter on 2008-12-20 #gear #review #polaroid-instant-double-long-exposure


  1. weechonghooi
    weechonghooi ·

    wow.. double exposed with polaroid~!! great idea~!!

  2. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    what a great gallery
    now i want a spectra, too!

  3. oldskool_rider
    oldskool_rider ·

    well,i now know what i'll spend my piggies on when i have enough!

    great gallery!

  4. camerao
    camerao ·

    great story & gallery (think I like the kitchenpic the most). Yes, spectra is one of my polacams, I like the most. SinceI saw an american girl working with in Egypt some years ago, I'am hunting for to get one, wonderful design! I've got a silver one.

  5. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    amazing polaroids !

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