Instamatic was Kodak’s trademark name for their easy-load 126 cartridge film cameras, launched in February 1963 with the Instamatic 50. I found this Kodak Instamatic X-35F two months ago at a garage sale for $1.50.
While most Instamatics were simple “snapshot” cameras made of plastic with very few or no adjustments, the range extended through designs with metal chassis, light meters or automatic exposure, rangefinders and even an SLR with interchangeable lenses. There were also add-ons such as teleconverter lenses and viewfinders. Early Instamatics had a special flash adapter for either AG-1 bulbs or later Flashcubes. A few had a pop-up flash gun. Later models used Flashcubes or “X” models Magicubes without an adapter.
Kodak 126 Instamatics were a great success and sold around 60 million by 1976; thus “Instamatic” became a generic term for cartridge-loading – or any plain point-and-shoot – cameras, irrespective of manufacturer. Frequently “Instamatic” was used in error to refer to Kodak’s instant cameras. Due to the strong association of Instamatic with 126 cameras, the name was not used for Instant cameras, which were instead branded Kodamatic, Colorburst, EK or simply Kodak Instant.
Instamatic cameras were manufactured in various plants across the world, in particular by Kodak in the U.S., by Kodak AG in Germany and by Kodak Ltd in the U.K. Instamatic models continued until 1988. The Instamatic X-35F was introduced in the U.S. and Canada 1970 and withdrawn in 1974.
It seems the Kodak Instamatic X-35F is still appreciated to this day. Photographer Davin G recently published this post about finding this camera and snapping a few pictures– over 30 years after the camera’s release.
For more information about decorating with vintage cameras, check out my piece on incorporating vintage cameras into a modern living space. For more information about cameras like the Instamatic X-35F, check out Brian Coe’s Kodak Cameras: The First Hundred Years.