Polaroid 1000, Polaroid Land Camera

Review: Polaroid Land Camera 1000

The Polaroid 1000 is a classic which has sold millions of copies. Its unique design from another era (late 1970s) has aged very well, to the point of making it a vintage icon today.

Many people are excited about instant photography’s comeback or would like to try it out for the first time. So should we give in to the retro charm of the Polaroid 1000? Not without taking a closer look….

A certain charm

The great strength of the Polaroid Land Camera 1000 is its extremely likable look. Its rounded corners make it less cubic and less serious looking than the 600 series models. The off-white which covers a large part of the front panel, combined with the black used on the rest of the camera, significantly contribute to its well-executed design. The large button of the shutter release, green or red depending on the version, contrasts nicely with this surface.

Without flash, the Polaroid 1000 is also more compact than most 600 models. The latter are bigger and less pleasing to the eye in their closed position, with the flash completely covering their fronts and giving them a “boxy” aspect.

A highly simplified operation

Unfortunately, problems arise when we look at the functionalities—they are almost nonexistent on this device! It is equipped with the classic Lighten/Darken knob used to correct exposure, and which is found on all Polaroid cameras, but apart from that… nothing to write home about.

The Polaroid 1000 does not offer any adjustment options other than the Lighten/Darken knob for exposure compensation.

The Polaroid 1000 does not offer any adjustment options other than the Lighten/Darken knob for exposure compensation.

For example, the Polaroid 1000 does not have an integrated flash. You should avoid taking indoor photos, this lack of flash forces you to outdoor use mostly. Polaroids require excellent light conditions, so plan your photo outings on sunny days. In grey weather, the camera may only give you blurry instant pictures because of prolonged exposure times. If in doubt, turn the knob to darken the exposure by a notch or two to force your camera to take a sharper picture.

You have the option of equipping your camera with a flash by buying this accessory separately, but the investment is quite hefty. It can actually represent up to several times the price you paid for the camera so it makes more sense to get a camera that already comes with this function out of the box, if you are really looking for a camera to take pictures in all conditions.

A special flash adapted to the Polaroid 1000, the Q-Light (also known as the Polatronic), was marketed at the same time as the camera. It uses 4 AA batteries. If the device you purchase comes with this accessory, it’s a real plus.

The camera cannot be mounted on a tripod. The minimum focusing distance recommended by the Polaroid 1000 user manual is 120 cm. Again, beware of blurry pictures if you do not respect this distance. Don’t try to take a tight portrait, you’ll be disappointed.

One last thing to know: this Polaroid camera works with Polaroid Originals’ SX-70 films. Be careful not to use other types of films (600 and Spectra) by mistake.

The Polaroid 1000, with its open film compartment and a cartridge in place.

The Polaroid 1000, with its open film compartment and a cartridge in place.

Should I buy the Polaroid 1000?

To summarize, the Polaroid Land Camera 1000 is a beautiful object, and the undeniable charm of its retro design would look great in anyone’s camera collection. As a decorative piece, it could be displayed on a shelf or piece of furniture or in your living room. However, for a more advanced and serious practice of instant photography, it is not the best option. The camera’s limited functions are quickly noticeable, and should guide your choice towards more complete devices, equipped with a flash for example. Be aware of these shortcomings when you make your purchase, especially given its equivalent or higher price compared to more functional models.