Prior to the age of digital photography, people took pictures the old-fashioned way – with film!
Cameras of the 1970s had to be loaded with the proper kind of film and then, once the photographs were taken, the film was shipped off to the local Foto-Mat or other developer (sometimes via the U.S. mail) who would take at least a week to develop it and return it. Of course, because you couldn’t see what you shot, you never knew what you’d get!
In the realm of film cameras of the 1970s, Kodak was still the “people’s camera”. It was the most popular camera for normal, everyday folks who weren’t serious photographers but enjoyed taking photos at family weddings, holidays, and other events.
The company’s most popular camera was the Instamatic, which had been introduced in 1963. However, in 1972, the company introduced the more streamlined Pocket Instamatic, which took 110-format film and could fit easily into a pocket, hence the name.
The Pocket Instamatic and the company’s larger Instamatic all accommodated the company’s new Magicube, an improved version of the traditional flashcube, which sat on top of the camera and rotated with each photo taken. Later in the 70s, cameras with “flip flashes” were made, eliminating the need for a separate flash bulb of any sort.
For serious photographers, the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera was becoming more and more sophisticated. Built-in motorized auto-loading was becoming the norm and made reloading quite fast.
On some sophisticated SLR cameras of the late 1970s, the photographer no longer had to select shutter speed himself. The camera did it for him. Popular SLR camera manufacturers of the decade included many that are still among the favorites, including Olympus, Pentax, Canon, Konica, and Minolta.
The Polaroid instant camera, which was introduced to the public way back in 1948, was still going strong in the 1970s. In the early part of the decade, the company introduced their 200, 300, and 400 series folding pack film cameras as well as several non-folding cameras.
However, their most popular 70s camera was the Square Shooter, a camera that produced square rather than rectangular photos. The SX-70, a single lens reflex camera that introduced the company’s new SX-70 film in 1972, was expensive but also a popular model of the decade. The SX-70 film was produced by the company until late 2006.