Polaroid Impulse

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Designed for Polaroid's 600-series integral film, the Impulse models are similar in body design to the OneStep or Pronto! models released for SX-70 film in that they feature a non-folding plastic body, single-element plastic lens and fixed focus.

The basic Impulse model as is usually found in a dark gray colour, but there were a variety of different colours of Impulse released including yellow, red and light gray. The yellow-bodied model also features a warning sticker reminding users that, despite its colour scheme, it is not waterproof. The body is a hard-wearing plastic, and features rubber grips around the rear, a tripod-socket, flash-ready light and film counter. The flash is raised by pressing down onto the top of the unit; this also turns the camera on and retracts the lens cover. The Impulse SE model is identical but was distributed at Sears department stores.

Features common to all Impulse fixed-focus models are:

  • Single element plastic lens with fixed aperture (116mm, f9)
  • 4 ft minimum focus distance.
  • Exposure compensation controls below lens.
  • Flash fires for every shot; cannot be user controlled.

The exposure compensation control acts as a crude shutter speed control by moving a variable density filter in front of the exposure meter sensor to block some of the light from reaching it. Moving the control towards the dark arrow increases the light reaching the sensor, resulting in a high shutter speed and an underexposed (darker) final images. Moving the control towards the light arrrow decreases the light reaching the sensor, resulting in a slower shutter speed and an overexposed (lighter) final image.


Some autofocus models were also made which were designated as Impulse AF and feature higher quality 3-element lenses. The Impulse Portrait model is closely related to the Impulse Close-up adds a simple plastic lens for focusing between 2 and 4 feet, but it lacks sharpness.