I have always wanted to get a Polaroid camera. As a designer, I think at some stage I just have to get one of those, to experience the fun people have been talking about.
The instant camera is a type of camera that generates a developed film image. The most popular types to use self-developing film were formerly made by Polaroid Corporation. The invention of modern instant cameras is generally credited to American scientist Edwin Land, who unveiled the first commercial instant camera, the Land Camera, in 1948, a year after unveiling instant film in New York City. The earliest instant camera, which consisted of a camera and portable darkroom in a single compartment, was invented in 1923 by Samuel Shlafrock.
In earlier Polaroid instant cameras the film is pulled through rollers which breaks open a pod containing a reagent that is spread between the exposed negative and receiving positive sheet. This film sandwich develops for a predetermined time, depending on film type and ambient temperature, after which the positive sheet is peeled away from the negative to reveal the developed photo. In 1972, Polaroid introduced integral film, which incorporated timing and receiving layers to automatically develop and fix the photo without any intervention from the photographer.
Instant film is available in sizes from 24 mm × 36 mm (similar to 135 film) up to 20" × 24" size, with the most popular film sizes for consumer snapshots being approximately 3¼" × 4¼" (the image itself is smaller as it is surrounded by a border). Early instant film was distributed on rolls, but later and current films are supplied in packs of 8 or 10 sheets, and single sheet films for use in large format cameras with a compatible back.
Instant film is notable for having had a wider range of film speeds available than other negative films of the same era: instant film has been produced with ISO 4 to ISO 20,000. Current instant film formats typically have an ISO between 80 and 3000.