customer focus

April 2, 1971 LIFE ad showing Polaroid’s solution in its 400 series cameras

Toronto. Successful companies in any industry make changes based on customer focus. That is, how do we change our products to solve pressing customer issues? Polaroid was one such company as shown in this April 2nd, 1971 spread on pages 32 and 33 in LIFE magazine.

Polaroid cameras were famous for their combination of technology and simplicity. The cameras used Polaroid film which fuelled its profits. Customers (hopefully) bought dozens of film packs for every camera bought.

In spite of its technology and simplicity, flash prints by average customers showed blown out highlights in moderate close-ups and deep dark shadows in more distant shots. The solution was two fold. First, work with companies like GE to make brighter flash cubes and second, control the amount of light hitting the subject.

To do this, Polaroid developed a camera series that used a venetian blind style shutter over the active face of the flash cube, and linked it to the focus scale so the closer the subject the more the ‘blind slats’ closed reducing the amount of illumination. And at the low end of the line one model had no flash bulb shutter for those who ¬†felt such detail was unnecessary.

Thank you, George Dunbar, friend and fellow PHSC member for showing me this innovative bit of photographic history.

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