What is a parallax error and how can I work around it?


Today’s tip is will teach you about the parallax error, what it is and how to work around it. The Polaroid 600 type camera will take the picture through the lens, but you’ll see the scene through the viewfinder next to the lens. This results in a so-called parallax error. This error is bigger the closer you are to your subject, it’s less visible the more far away you are.

Polaroid Photo-Tip 6 - The Parallax Error

Polaroid 600-type camera

Polaroid Photo-Tip 6 - The Parallax Error

Parallax error

If you are for example framing your subject in the middle of the viewfinder, your camera in fact “sees” it closer to the left, upper corner. To work around that we recommend avoiding full frontal framing of your subject. Rather go for a side angle. You could also frame the subject a little bit more to the left, leaving space on the right side of the viewfinder. Another note: Your camera doesn’t show you the full scene it’ll capture in the viewfinder. It’ll add a little bit on all sides. This makes the parallax error seem smaller.

In short: We think it’s very hard to successfully work around the parallax error. Our tip: Don’t worry too much about it – rather embrace the imperfection 🙂

Watch our video for more info on the parallax error:


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2 replies
  1. Ibraheem Talha says:

    Can the parallax error be found on Polaroid Spectra cameras? Or the problem is only in the Polaroid 600??

    • Thomas Preyer says:

      Hi Ibraheem, yes, except for the SLR type Polaroid cameras (SX-70, SLR 680 and SLR 690) there’s always some kind of parallax. Thomas


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