Polaroid'd Digital Foray in the Instagram Age


Sekar International isn't a name you'd associate with Polaroid but the licensee did try to get the iM836 off the ground by copying the Nikon J1. Ok, copying may be a strong word. Google copied the workings of iOS and they didn't get sued. Now Sekar isn't a newbie in the digital camera scene. They have been making Vivitar lenses for the longest time. They also license Hello Kitty, Kodak and even Polaroid as brands to drive their consumer electronics products like cameras and Android tablets.

Technically speaking, Polaroid exist only in name. It does not exist as a photographic entity anymore than Atari's famed console gaming division.

Do We Need Another Mirrorless Platform?

Actually no. There are too many. When Panasonic and Olympus pioneer the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, or iLCs, the other camera manufacturers actually did write them off. But when sales of the mighty Pen started to eat into DSLR sales, the powers that be started to take notice.

From Samsung to Canon, these manufacturers have put their bet on iLCS. Polaroid being just another brand name isn't going to cut it. Why invest in a camera that cost more than a smartphone which doesn't even allow you to make phone calls? It just doesn't make sense.

Polaroid was the Apple of its Time

Steve Jobs idolized Dr. Edwin Land, the founder and CEO of Polaroid. If you look at the 1972 launch of the SX-70, where Dr. Land held his keynote address to announce the new product, it was exactly the same as what Steve Jobs did for the iPod 'click wheel' and 'iPhone'.

Dr. Land would take the product out of his pocket and unveils the product before the excited press and audience. Jobs wanted to emulate this innovative vigour, something he tried to keep up throughout his life in Apple.

The Polaroid SX-70

Polaroid's legacy was that it pioneered the instant photo business, a technology that was not duplicated until the 1980s with Fujifilm entering the business and within a decade, launched its own integral instant sheet film camera, the Instax series.

Instagram's Homage to Polaroid 

The dark ages of film gave birth to the digital age. Not a bad thing but the value and experiences are very different. Even though digital is technically 'instant'. It is has no physical attributes unlike print film.

Today we enter the world of the Instagram moment, as oppose to a Kodak moment. Instagram, surprising, was modelled after the Polaroid SX-70. The square format used by Instagram is a technological copy of the SX-70's print film aspect ratio. You don't have to flip the camera on its side to shoot landscape as the square format effectively makes that redundant. The SX-70 Land camera is used in the same manner, there is no need to tilt it on its side as the pictures are square. Sharing is instant, the world will see your pictures the moment you post them up.

Welcome to the Instagram age.

You can follow my Instagram feed at http://instagram.com/freiherr.