Polaroid 635 Supercolor LM Program

Review: Polaroid 635 Supercolor

The Polaroid 635 Supercolor is a classic model that is fairly easy to find. We will describe in detail how it works and everything you need to know about this camera, which we believe is an excellent choice to begin or resume your instant photography experience.

A Polaroid with a timeless vintage design

When the camera’s flash is lowered, its overall appearance is quite austere and leaves the impression of a large black block. The body of the camera is rather cumbersome and takes up a lot of space in a camera bag. When the flash is raised however, the retro charm of the camera operates. The Polaroid 635 Supercolor features the rainbow stripe that was used by Instagram for its logo—although it is more inspired by the Polaroid 1000 model, with its distinctive vintage look.

An easy-to-use Polaroid camera

The 635 Supercolor is a relatively easy to use Polaroid camera. To turn it on, only a few key steps are required:

Loading the film

Slide forward the black button on the right side of the camera to open the flap through which the film cartridges are inserted (when you have it in your hand, the viewfinder is facing you). The compartment opens and all you have to do is load the camera with film. The small strip of paper that protrudes from the refill must face outwards and downwards, allowing you to extract the empty cartridge after the last shot.

Film refill in the camera. The tab is directed downwards.

Film refill in the camera. The tab is directed downwards.

Activating the flash

These devices are not always easy to open if you don’t know the right gesture: you have to pinch the cover on each side, between the thumb and the forefinger, and pull up in one motion to raise it. In this position, aiming becomes possible. The viewfinder is quite spacious, clear and comfortable. The printed image always is slightly larger than the one composed through the viewfinder.

Indicators and settings

Two small red and green LEDs on the top of the camera let you know if the flash is ready to use.
A small display on the back of the camera informs you on the number of shots left on your film. Warning: after loading the film, the displays shows 10 remaining shots by default. This is because Polaroid film cartridges have 10 shots, while Impossible refills only has 8 shots. When the display shows two shots left, your Impossible film cartridge is actually finished.
As on most Polaroid devices, a cursor on the front of the Polaroid 635 Supercolor allows you to darken or brighten the image you are about to take, compared to the default measurement taken by the device. You must push it completely in the dark, or completely in the white to get the desired effect.

The shutter release is doubled up: if you press the most prominent shutter release (the red-colored one), the flash will be triggered if the camera evaluates that extra lighting is needed. The second trigger is more discreet: it is actually located just below the first one. The picture will be taken without flash if you choose to press on this shutter release.

The shutter release for the Polaroid 635 Supercolor. By pressing the red button, the flash is activated if needed. By pressing a notch behind and below, the picture will be taken without flash.

The shutter release for the Polaroid 635 Supercolor. By pressing the red button, the flash is activated if needed. By pressing a notch behind and below, the picture will be taken without flash.

Other features of the Polaroid 635 Supercolor

The Polaroids are ejected from the front of the camera within seconds after the shutter release. When the picture is fully ejected all you have to do is pick it up.
Like all the devices in the 600 series, this one uses 600 films produced by Impossible Project. These films are available in different versions: color, black and white, traditional white edges, black, colored, textured, etc… your options are endless and the range is wide. Don’t confuse the 600 and SX-70 films when purchasing your refills. These films are intended for other types of Polaroid devices. You won’t be able to use them on the Polaroid 635 Supercolor.
Keep in mind that the minimum distance required to shoot a subject is 1.20m. Be sure to maintain this distance when taking pictures, otherwise you will get blurry results.
The name LM comes from the Lightmixer system, an exposure measure that takes into account the light intensity of the scene, and determines whether the flash is needed. This system is reliable and gives good results in most cases.

Purchase and points to check

This type of device is very common. The best way to find one is to go to a flea market or yard sale. If their owners aren’t aware of the current popularity of instant photography, they are likely to sell them to you for cheap. Many second hand cameras are available for sale on the Internet or on Ebay. Their price seems to be in a range of 20 to 30€. 30€ seems a little expensive to me, but you should remind yourself that you can expect to sell it later at the same price if your device works properly.The camera doesn’t contain batteries as they are integrated into the film cartridges. It is therefore difficult to determine if your device is working properly before you insert a cartridge and take your first pictures. However, you can “test” a device with an empty cartridge, if you have one on hand. When inserted, the camera must react and you will hear the sound of a small motor. Another point to check: open the film compartment and carefully inspect the large square mirror underneath the camera. Make sure it is perfectly intact. The slightest crack would be critical for the images produced by the camera.
Overall, the 600 series devices, like most Polaroids devices, are quite sturdy. It is not surprising that a very large majority of them work without issues, even years after their launch.

A good Polaroid to start with

Its availability, low cost, simple settings and reliable exposure system make the Polaroid 635 Supercolor a great choice for beginners who want to purchase their first instant camera. More advanced models with a plastic lense for close up shots or an autofocus system may be more interesting to some buyers, but Polaroid cameras with these very useful functions are sold at higher prices.