Birth of the 600 Camera: The Original Engineering Prototype from 1980
People often ask us if we have a special collection, or if it's hard letting certain rare models go. There's something about holding a pristine transparent 600 camera in your hands that makes it difficult to say goodbye, but we may only have one or two single cameras that we would never part with. This is one of those cameras.
Behold an original prototype Polaroid 600 camera from May of 1980. Follow along for some notes on oddities and variations:
The tooling for this camera was not yet textured, so the plastic shells are completely smooth. There are engineering notes that appears to note this as Camera 720. Each camera number seems to denote a change in configuration.
While all Polaroid 600 cameras eventually got a sticker to indicate which type of film to use, early prototypes typically had this solid white sticker with a black star.
Not yet named, “Camera” is the placeholder which would eventually be replaced by “640.” You can also see the white dot on the flash override, eventually dropped in production models.
You can faintly see the outline for the sonar autofocus on this apron — which shows the initial prototype shared tooling for the autofocus and non-autofocus models. The exposure slide is also stylistically different from the production models you're familiar with that feature black and white arrows.
The original strap mount was smooth, whereas the final version was ridged. Interestingly, this version of the strap was intended to pop off the camera if a person were to be wearing the camera and it got stuck outside a train or elevator door with its human counterpart on the other side.
Finally, the grip (where your thumb goes) on the back of the trigger area changed from a grid of textured cones (which appeared on some plastic SX70 models) to the final design of vertical ridges.