Polaroid Land Cameras

-A Beginners Guide

A 4 minute read, Posted by Jack Wolfe III on Mon, Mar 5, 2018
In Camera, Polaroid, Land Camera, Beginners
Tags camera, polaroid, land camera, beginners

A short History of Land Cameras.

So first, let me welcome you to the club! Old school Polaroid cameras are my favorite! I got my first 103 land camera in the summer of 2014 and since then I have aquired 20+ cameras. I have been taking instant film pictures as often as I can.

Polaroid is a company that was founded in 1931 by Edwin Land, the king of instant film! He had this idea of taking a picture and developing it in his camera in only a few minutes, aka instant. His original cameras were all black and white and the film positive and negative were paper. Since this era of roll film a new film was developed, Pack film, which is used with all Land cameras. Pack film still has the positive and negative however they are in the same sheet, along with the fixing agent, they also come in color- the first color instant film.

The first Pack Film camera, the Land 100, released in 1963 was a revolutionary thing, and sold like crazy. I currently have one of these in my collection and it is a favorite. With the invention of new technology came new cameras. The first Land cameras used a dual view finder. One lense was for focusing, and the other to view the picture image. Later a zone focusing viewfinder was used which was a single screen that helped you estimate the range of your subjects and tune the focus. Then a glass viewfinder was used on the Land 250 the Zeiss Ikon Viewfinder. This viewfinder over layed a small part of the image that alowed you to focus real time with your picture, this is my favorite.

The next big advancement was the Land 360, the first and only electric flash land camera. I also have this in my collection and restored it to full operation (the batteries in the flash need replaced). After this the Land 400 series stayed about the same, and then the sx-70 cameras took over.

Land cameras are an amazing leap of enginnering and camera technology. They produce beautiful instant pictures. They also create a stronger memory of the time you took the picture.

So you got yourself a Land Camera or you are thinking about getting one.

What to start with:

I got my first camera from my fiances mom as an early birthday gift (Thanks Julie!). At the time I really wanted the new Polaroid zink instant camera that printed instant zink film and saves a digital copy. While at an antique shop Julie picked up the Land 103 for $20 or so and didnt even know if I could make it work or if film was still made for it, turns out I could and they do.

This is since not the case as Fuji Film has stopped manufacturing all of their beloved 100C film. Even though instant film is pushing their business, please contact them and tell them they should start producing it again to save the old land cameras from being display items.

Film is still avlible on amazon and I recomend buying and storing it in the fridge before its all gone. Also, the battery you will need is here.

You will also need flash bulbs if you plan to take any photo not in day light. The best place I have found for this is ebay. I bought several large lots years ago as they are hard to find and are one use per bulb. You can get electric flash mods for your camera, these can be pricey, and they are too modern for my taste.

Once you have all of these you are ready to start shooting.

A few extras

I recomend a tripod and a self timer as these will help you be a part of your photos.


For more on how to take shots and some of my other cameras read my other blog posts.

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