The first Kodak Instamatic camera – the 50 – arrived in the UK in February 1963 and was swiftly followed by the 100, which had a built-in flashgun. Small, compact and affordable, they helped make photography a modern pastime for millions.
The 104, released in July 1965, was considered a gamechanger owing to its flashcube – a rotating cube with a mini flashbulb in each of its four mirrored compartments.
Another selling point of the Instamatic cameras was the Kodapak film cartridges.
Now instead of loading a roll of film, which risked exposing it to the light and fogging the film, you only had to drop a film cartridge into the back of the camera.
The Instamatic 104 revolutionised amateur photography – four photos could now be taken in rapid succession, and indoor photography was suddenly possible for the masses.
While the 104 was an instant hit, it was withdrawn by September 1968 with the arrival of electronic flash photography.
In 1972, Kodak introduced the Pocket Instamatic series for its new 110 format. The 110 cartridge had the same easy-load design as the common 126 format but was much smaller, allowing the cameras to be very compact (hence the “Pocket” designation).
The top-of-the-line model was the Pocket Instamatic 60, which featured a stainless steel body, rangefinder, and automatic exposure.
More than 25 million Pocket Instamatics were produced in under three years, and the 110 format remained popular into the 1990s.
Kodak stopped making 126 Instamatic cameras in 1988, and stopped making 126 film in 1999.
Kodak sold 60 million Instamatic cameras during the 1960s and 1970s.