Polaroid introduced its 600 film in 1981 as a higher-speed variation of the original SX 70 film. These are both “integral” films, the kind where the picture shoots out of the camera and develops before your eyes. The Polaroid OneStep 600 was the first camera made to use the new film.

The OneStep 600 comes with a plastic (probably), fixed-focus, single-element lens said to be 116 mm at f/11. The camera couples some sort of light meter to an electronic shutter, which can fire from 1/4 to 1/200 sec. Flash is via a “Flash 600” bar, a strip of ten flash bulbs you plug into the top of the camera. They were designed specially for these cameras, and thus haven’t been made in ages. My camera came with one that has one unused bulb on it.

Polaroid OneStep 600

There’s nothing to using the Polaroid OneStep 600: frame the shot, press the button, done. While the button slides easily, it is in a somewhat awkward place. Fortunately, the camera is easy to hold steady in your hands while you shoot. And shoot I did with some 600 film expired since 2006 that I had lying around.

But first, if you like Polaroid cameras also see my reviews of the One600 (here), the SX-70 (here), the Automatic 250 (here), the Big Swinger 3000 (here), and the Colorpack II (here). Or check out all of my camera reviews here.

This is my favorite shot from the pack. I learned while researching this post, after I’d shot the whole pack, that the lens is sharpest at four to five feet. Given that Polaroid cameras were positioned as the ultimate fun camera for taking pictures of friends and family, I guess that makes sense. This traffic barrel of in the middle of my street was right in the lens’s sweet spot.


Most everything else I shot was much farther out than five feet, which resulted in softer focus. Not that this lens is ever pin sharp.

Polka-dotted chair

These photos don’t look any different to me in terms of color and sharpness than the shots I got from my One600. Photoshop Elements made these scans look way better than the actual photos, in which all colors looked brown. Even though Polaroid integral prints always had muted, off colors, the brownness of these prints (and the black corners where the emulsion has eroded) has got to be because the film is so long expired.

Rail bridge

To see more from this camera, check out my Polaroid OneStep 600 gallery.

Polaroid’s integral-film cameras were popular when I was a kid in the 1970s and 1980s and I always wanted one. Even now I’m charmed when this camera shoots out a print which develops before my eyes. But as I look at each of these photos I keep thinking that I could have done so much more with these subjects using pretty much any non-Polaroid camera in my collection.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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14 responses to “Polaroid OneStep 600”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    They’re fun cameras. Always a hoot to get the picture right after you’ve taken it! Just found a Pronto at a garage sale last weekend and bought it for $4 ( I asked if they’d take $3, they had $5 on it). So we added it to the other Polaroids. It even came with the flash bar and manual. They’re all pretty much the same though.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I have a Pronto I haven’t shot yet. And an original SX-70. Both of them take the SX-70 film and I’m going to have to order the expensive stuff from The Impossible Project if I’m ever to shoot those two cameras.

      1. ryoko861 Avatar

        Compare the pictures when you do. All three and see which one takes the better picture. That’s the draw back-the film. It does get pricey.

        1. Jim Avatar

          I think this will be easy: It’s going to be the SX-70. It has the best lens by far.

  2. Mike Avatar

    The imperfections at the corners actually work well in combination with the subject matter in these OneStep shots I think. On the other hand, I can sympathize with your feeling that the subjects might have been explored in more interesting ways with conventional film cameras. I often have the same impression when viewing peoples’ efforts to do pinhole landscape compositions.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I see photos like mine, with eroding corners, soft focus, and wonky colors, that the photographers clearly intend to be art, and it just doesn’t work for me. I follow Paul Giambarba’s blogs — he’s the designer behind Polaroid’s 1970s brand image — and he likes to highlight Polaroid photography he considers to be somehow noteworthy. He’s posted some interesting work that makes the most of the format’s inherent limitations. I’m sure he has to curate from among a metric ton of dreck that these cameras produce.

  3. Ted Kappes Avatar

    One of my earliest memories is of one of my aunts taking pictures with a Polaroid. I think it was around 1960. I can remember being amazed that it only took a minute to get a picture. Still I never really got into Polaroid and I have never used one of the 600 film cameras. I think part of it was that I thought the film cost too much for the results I could get. I wonder if the prices at the Impossible Project will come down over time. The last time I looked it was around $24 for a pack.

    I see what you mean about the photo with the traffic barrel. Looks like at that distance you could get some nice results. I do like the one with the bridge. I think in this instance the film, camera and subject work well together.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’d never used an integral-film camera until the One600 I reviewed earlier this year. My family didn’t have money for luxuries like that. My grandparents did buy me a packfilm Polaroid for Christmas one year and I used it sometimes, but film and developing for a 12-exposure roll of 127 or a 20-exposure 126 cartridge cost considerably less than one 10-print pack for that Polaroid camera.

  4. Liz Avatar

    I am thinking about buying one of these cameras, but I need to buy the film. Where did you get your film?

    1. Jim Avatar

      Real Polaroid film isn’t made anymore, though you can buy it expired on eBay. That’s what I did. You can buy new film from The Impossible Project.

  5. Brandon Campbell Avatar
    Brandon Campbell

    My sister had this exact same Polaroid. I got a similar one for Christmas about a year after she got hers, but mine had the electronic flash built in!

    1. Jim Avatar

      My One600 has built-in flash which makes it so much more useful for indoors snapshots.

  6. Dylan Avatar

    I love all your cameras! I recently bought a kodak six-16 and it’s awesome! hope you post more cameras. :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Dylan! Yes, more camera posts are on the way.

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