Vintage Polaroid Commercial Teaches Us How to Press the Perfect Picture

Nothing like a vintage camera commercial to remind us why Polaroid cameras continue to be popular.

Despite the prevalence of Fujifilm Instax cameras, Polaroid cameras from decades past remain popular to this day. Among them is the Polaroid Sun 600, which is the star of today’s featured vintage camera commercial. Today, this instant camera is among the iconic models that continue to be sought after in vintage stores and secondhand markets, thanks to word of mouth among film photographers. Still, it’s always interesting to see how these cameras were marketed back then, often with the help of celebrities and well-known photographers, like Hugh Laurie for this 1980s commercial.

The advert features the English actor, director, and producer being repeatedly interrupted in his shooting by the voice-over, telling him how to use the Polaroid Sun 600. The “computer” inside the camera takes care of the exposure so there’s no need for a light meter. It also does the focusing so there’s no need to measure the distance as well. Finally, additional lighting is also not required: there’s a built-in flash to take care of that. So, yes, Hugh, all you need to do is press the shutter for a perfect picture developing right before your eyes in 90 seconds.

For the uninitiated, the Polaroid Sun 600 is part of the hugely popular and relatively cheap models of the Polaroid Integral 600 series from the 1980s and 1990s. According to Wikipedia, this model is one of the many versions of the Polaroid One Step Flash, the first in the second wave of the 600 series. All these versions featured an added flip-up integral electronic flash to the Polaroid OneStep 600 which used disposable flash bars. The flash works in low light but cannot be turned on or off. The lens is said to be 116mm f11 single-element plastic, the fixed focus is sharpest at 4-5 feet, and the electronic shutter has speeds of 1/4 to 1/200 sec. The models also have Polaroid’s Light Management System (LMS), the usual slider for darken/lighten exposure correction.

Photo from the eBay listing by woodrowtoo

There are several Polaroid Sun models that followed the original, with only a few cosmetic differences and added or improved features. If you want to get into Polaroid photography and start with something budget-friendly, any of those (and the Polaroid One Step Flash iterations) will do. We’ve done the research work for you and found a tested and working Polaroid Sun 600 that you can grab off eBay for just $23.95!

Screenshot image from the video