Sunday, March 3, 2013

How an Instant Camera Works

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.

Greg Lindberg, a eHow contributor, has a good article explains how an instant camera works.

Photo by Rich007

Using an Instant Camera
Instant cameras, such as Polaroids, use instant film and require exposure to a light source. Instant cameras can also include a flash or light bulb that flips up from a compartment before a picture is taken. Before a picture can be taken with an instant camera, instant film must be insert into the camera. For the majority of instant cameras, you must insert the film into the back of the camera and slide it into the appropriate slot. This process is also very similar to inserting printer paper into a printer. To take the picture you must look through a view finder to see how you want to frame your picture. The picture is taken by pressing a small button on the top or side of the camera that will either activate the flash or instantly take the picture. The film will then release itself from the top of the camera. You then must wait for the picture to develop. This process could take from 20 seconds to twenty-four hours. Despite popular belief, the picture should not be shaken. Doing this can result in the colors bleeding in the picture.

After the film is exposed when a picture is taken, the film passes between two stainless steel rollers. A chemical in the film is then broken and smoothed over evenly. The picture is slowly ejected out from an ejection pod to make the picture slowly comes out of the camera. The picture should never be pulled out until the frame has been completely ejected. The user then must slightly tug the edge out of the ejector pod. Instant cameras produced after the 1970s included electronic exposure control and automatic focusing systems. For example, such models as the SX-70 use a high-frequency sound emitter. This is used by an electronic circuit measuring the time that is required for a sound to be reflected back from the object being photographed. The time measurement from this is then converted into a distance measurement that properly focuses the lens for the best possible exposure.

Instant Film
According to Edinformatics, Polaroid instant negative film can only develop properly between temperatures of 55°F and 95°F. These packs of instant film that were sold were typically refrigerated to maximize the shelf life of the film. Instant film is manufactured different than normal photographs, which are rectangular. Instant film was manufactured as a square, with the exposure chemical locked into the film by use of a white frame that borders the photograph. The instant film was manufactured as integral film, pack film, four-by-five sheet film, and eight-by-10 sheet film. Since 2008, Polaroid film is no longer manufactured, and the use of instant camera has been replaced with use of digital cameras.

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