Released in 1971, the Polaroid Big Shot was a funky, green plastic camera that was built for one thing: portraits. The plastic behemoth is simply designed, using a fixed focus 200mm, single element plastic meniscus lens. The grip has a stereoscopic rangefinder integrated in it, which makes framing and achieving focus easy. Focal length is fixed at approximately three feet, emphasizing the portrait centrality of this camera. The shutter speed is a static 1/52 second, combined with an adjustable aperture of f56, f36 or f24. A small aperture and rather slow shutter speed meant most “normally” lit photos would be underexposed, especially indoors, so most photos would require the use of a flash.
For the flash the Big Shot uses Magicubes, which are an explosive, four use, disposable flash cube. There is a large Fresnel diffuser for the flash that is built into the front of the camera, which softens shadows and makes the flash much less harsh. A favorite of Warhol, he used the camera to shoot dozens of portraits, often using the resulting Polaroids as basis for his screen-printing art.