I really wish I had some Barbies lying around so I could have used to shoot with this camera, but alas they at home at my parents in a box, and I have no reason to actually own any at this point in my life. The Barbie camera itself though needs no justification to own. It is in all reality just a different colored Onestep 600 Polaroid.
Barbie Polaroid Camera
The Barbie Camera was a limited edition camera that was produced around 1999. It came in bright pink, purple and lime green with a floral face plate. Perfect for the younger girls it was being targeted towards. The original package would also come with a pack of floral stickers that you could use to decorate the camera. I purchased mine already decorated, but the stickers were easily removed with some alcohol and goo gone. My regards to the previous owner who must have sweated blood and tears in choosing the sticker placements.
This camera can sometimes be found in stock in my Etsy Shop or you can also find it on Ebay and in thrift shops. Although this camera was only produced for only a year I think you can still find it easily. The main problems I have encountered with this camera is deteriorating viewfinders and straps are frayed. The average cost for a Barbie Polaroid Camera is going to range from about 25 USD if you are lucky on Ebay or up to 170 USD at The Impossible Project.
The Barbie Polaroid camera is mainly made out of a multicolored plastic body with a floral face plate. It comes with an installed long neck strap and a built in flash. It has a 116mm single-element plastic lens fixed focus and takes the best photos from 4ft and beyond. This camera does give you the option for taking “portrait” photos by sliding the built-in “Close-Up” lens over the regular lens. So you can move the lens lever that is on the left side of the camera (when you are looking at it) either left or right. Move it to the left for photos that are 4ft and beyond and move it to the right for photo that are between 2-4ft.
This camera also has a light management system which works on a sliding scale. Most times I start out by keeping the slide in the middle but if it gets very bright out or if you are in low light and don’t think the flash is going to reach all the way you can adjust the slider. When you are looking at the front of the camera you can slide the lever to the left left to make it go darker or to the right to make it lighter. What this essentially does is it covers up the light meter on the the camera with different shades of dark plastic so the shutter stays open for a longer or lesser time depending on it’s position.
The camera also has a built in flash that has the option to not be used. According to the manual the camera is designed so that the flash should actually always be used, indoors and outdoors. There is a smaller button behind the main shutter button that works as a override so that you don’t have to use the flash. This is mainly used for taking photos through glass windows and you don’t want to cause a glare or around mirrors.
Film and Battery
So if you did not know it already Polaroid camera film comes with the battery installed inside. So your camera will not power on until you have installed new film inside of it. The Barbie Polaroid Camera currently takes film from The Impossible Project. That is the only film that I really trust to still be used. If you buy expired actual Polaroid film from Ebay and some shops you may get film that is dried up (also dead battery) and unusable or just so old that all of your Polaroids are washed out and and covered with streaks. You can find film from Amazon.com at the following links for both Impossible Project 600-type Color Film and Impossible Project 600-type Black and White Film. It can also be bought directly from The Impossible Project or at other specialty camera shops.
Inserting Your Film
Once you have your brand new film you are ready to take it out of the box. Place the film into the camera by opening the bottom front of the camera up, which is done by pushing forward the little purple plastic tab on the right side of the camera that is under the shutter button. Once you place the film inside and close the camera you should hear a whirl and the dark slide should pop out. The dark slide is the thin cardboard piece of paper that has been protecting the film from light exposure. If you are using Impossible Project Film you should make sure that you have let you film warm up to room temperature if you have been storing it in a fridge.
Taking photos with this camera is pretty easy considering that there are not many things that can go wrong. It is great as a beginner Polaroid camera as you don’t have to worry too much about focusing and the flash is already built-in. If you look through Amazon or The Impossible Project Website you can get many different types of film, but I would start off with a plain white frame with black and white film as it is the easiest to use and the fastest to develop.
One this first photo I tried to use the “Portrait” Lens and actually got a pretty good shot of my typewriter. Although I got some light leaks at the bottom of pic due to me using this film cassette in another camera prior.
I also tried to take a photo without the flash since I was trying to get the background through the window.
The last ones were taken with black and white film inside my apartment. As I said before I think that the black and white version of the film is the most forgiving and gives the fastest results.
If you really like this camera and it’s design as I said before you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop. If it is not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but I found one from the lovely people at http://www.everythingretek.com and you can see it at the link below.
- Lens: 116mm f/11 Single-element plastic
- Fixed focus
- Automatic variable speed/aperture shutter system (speeds range from 1/3 to 1/200 of a second; apertures from f/14.6 to f/45)
- Built-in electronic flash (1/3000 of a second)
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.
*Impossible Project Film photo taken from The Impossible Project Website.