The Polaroid Land Camera was named after its inventor, Edwin Land. It introduced the world to the idea of instant photography and, in some regard, paved the way for the modern era of instant digital gratification.

This is a complete guide for getting started with the Polaroid Land Camera. It goes over cheaply acquiring the camera and film, upgrading the battery, basic functionality, timing exposures, photo tips, and using a flash.

It may take a little while to get the hang of it, but you will quickly learn it is a ton of fun. There is a sense of anticipation as the photo develops that you just don't get from digital photography.

Step 1: Find a Camera

This Instructable deals largely with 100 series Land Cameras. This includes all cameras with a model number between 100 and 455. Countless quantities of these cameras were manufactured and sold between 1963 and 1976.

You can still find them at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, antique stores, and online (think Ebay).

Your best bet is to find one at a garage or estate sale. Although antique cameras sometimes tend to fetch a little bit of money, most people think you can't buy Polaroid film anymore and will offload these cameras on the cheap.

The current market for Land Cameras is good because no one wants to buy them and everyone wants to be rid of them. This makes your job of acquiring one all the easier.

I got this whole camera kit for $5, and with the warning, "You know, you can't get film for those anymore."
Does this also work for the J33 land camera?!?
<p>Iown a pronto land camera and was wondering if I really need the flash bulbs to shoot photos. That I only use film</p>
<p>How did you break the tabs supporting the old battery holder? I am having trouble with this</p>
<p>Cutting pliers / snippers. They chop right through soft plastic like that.</p>
<p>I have a Polaroid land camera model 700. Would you know if there is any modern film that can be used for that camera? </p>
<p>No. Fuji just discontinued the last of the peel apart film. There is already talk about resurrecting the film and someone else manufacturing it again, better stockpile it while the going is good. Who knows if that will pan out!</p>
Thanks!! This beauty came all the way down to uruguay. Following your steps I managed to make it work. Eternally grateful, Mariano
<p>You're welcome. Glad it worked out!</p>
Chris, you can email me at scotthuckphoto@gmail.com include some images to let me know what you are struggling with. I just converted a Countdown 90 w 2 batteries &amp; the shutter &amp; timer on the back works great!! I have 2 more cameras I am planning to mod as well! Take care. Scott
<p>Hi Scotthuckphoto,</p><p>I am new to soldering and DIY in general. What type of wire did you use to convert the 4 AAA battery holder to a 3 AAA battery holder?</p>
Here ....
DanetteB1, Ive purposefully buy AAA holders w wires included so I do not have to solder them on my own. I'll connect the correct wires &amp; include a shrink sleeve to secure them. I plan on having a diy how to on my blog soon. www.scotthuckphoto.wordpress.com <br><br>Take care!<br>Scott
<p>Hi Randy,<br>I'm wondering if you can help me. I did a AAA 3v conversion for my Polaroid 360, and its not working. No power. I wired black to black, white to red... but I also noticed I had a smaller coil of two wires left over- what seems like a black/grey wire wrapped around a white one. I need help figuring out if I should leave these ones alone, or if they are somehow needed. Thoughts?</p>
<p>Chris, have you figured it out? Are the 2 extra wires on your AAA conversion or in the camera? Let me know. Thanks!</p>
Hi Scott,<br>I tried but got discouraged, and stopped working on it. I only saw your response recently- thank you for following up with me. Can I send you an image of what i am looking at with the camera? I don't have a volt meter and I don't want to cut and solder the wrong wires. They are extremely thin and brittle too.<br>I definitely need your help please...
<p>Chris. I just figured it out! The Polaroid 360 has/had 2 batteries, 1 for the shutter release &amp; the other for the timer on the back of the polaroid! One white wire goes to the grey wire &amp; the other white wire goes to the black wire. You might need to switch the white wires possibly! // as I just took apart the original battery holder, I kept track what side was what so I could match the correct white wire with the black &amp; grey wire. You have to identify the shutter release to have it work, you don't need to operate the tuner. Take care!</p>
<p>is it possible to cannibalise parts from a 210 and use them in a 250?</p><p>I've just won a 250 on eBay, and have bought a 210 ( waiting for delivery) I know that the 250 has the superior lens, but the 250 has some corrosion on it, hopefully it can be cleaned up, but if there are parts that need replacing ( like rollers) are they interchangeable?</p>
<p>Thanks for this. Just picked up a 450 and this really helped out a lot!</p>
<p>I live in Union, NJ and need batteries and to repair the connections to battery. Where can I find a repair shop in NJ for my Polaroid Land 100?.</p>
<p>EdE6, did you find a way to refurbish you Polaroid 100? I would be open to helping you refurbish your camera. It's relatively easy. email me at scotthuck AT scotthuck DOT com</p>
Do you think the fujifilm would word with a J66 Polaroid camera? :)
<p>no! J66 used a different type of Polaroid film.</p>
<p>Do you have any sources / instructions on how to modify a J66?</p>
<p>It's rather costly to convert the J66. Plus, the J66 is completely automatic. It's a nice looking camera but there are so many nice Polaroid models that you can shoot film with. I get all my info from </p><p>http://www.instantoptions.com/conversions/ though I don't see that he works on J66's (probably for the reason I gave above). Check out my Etsy site &amp; Depop site scotthuckphoto ... I am selling refurbished Polaroid Automatic Land Cameras. Take care!</p>
<p>Something I found when I did the battery mod on a 320 - don't use the lithium batteries. The ones I tried to use actually produce 1.8 volts each, resulting in an over-voltage of about 1.1 volts. I switched back to regular alkaline AAAs and the camera works great. I'm lucky and glad I didn't burn out the circuits.</p>
Thanks so much for all of this! I'm buying a Land camera (I believe the same model you used) and a Spectra for $60 and I was starting to worry that I might not actually get to use them. And yes, the Impossible Project is expensive!
<p>Impossible film is expensive BUT each new film version gets better &amp; better. It's the only film on the market for Polaroid 600! The BW 2.0 version is fantastic! Give it a try!</p>
I got my vintage Polaroid camera at <br>www.polaroidsforsale.com<br>And it's amazing! New film is available again!
<p>I was wondering when you say muddy print do you mean blurry and unfocused?</p>
<p>This seems like a stupid question but where can I find my model number? No idea what kind of land camera I have. I can't find a number anywhere.</p>
<p>It looks like Fujifilm quit selling the <br>FP-100B black and white film... :/</p>
<p>you can still find FP3000b around as well as the color FP100c!</p>
thanks so much! I picked up a 220 for $5 and i want to get it going...
<p>Use the battery holder from a small led flashlight (cheap or free from Harbor freight) holds 3 -AAA batteries (4.5V). Just solder to camera leads and put in battery compartment.</p>
<p>Very nice job! As far as the flash sync is concerned, Have you ever considered an LM555 Timer and a reed switch? </p>
<p>Hi, thank you for this post.. I own a 250 Land Camera in very good shape but from one moment to another when replacing battery the No.3 button (reset) doesn't stay down, it's all loose, any idea how to fix it?? :(</p>
<p>Thank you. Very complete and comprehensive step by step instructions, perfect for setting up that first Polaroid. </p><p> One minor correction. When you adjust the &quot;Lighten/Darken&quot; control it is shutter speed you are affecting, not aperture. Aperture is adjusted with the film speed and Scene Selector (Indoor/Outdoor) lever. Each combination represents a specific size hole in the rotating aperture disk inside the lens housing. </p>
<p>Help-I purchased a land 100 did the battery retro fitting but still no power.The original wires were a tiny bit corroded-cleaned with vinegar. I still get only one click with shutter.Now what?</p>
<p>On the 100 there is an exposed blade switch at the bottom of the battery compartment called the &quot;interlock switch&quot;. It cuts off power when the camera is folded and is often the source of problems. It may not be making a good connection due to wear, bending, or corrosion. Here's a link to the repair manual for the 100, the switch is addressed on page 15:</p><p>https://www.scribd.com/doc/51423135/Repair-Manual-100-200-300-Series-Automatic-Pack-Land-Camera-March-1970</p><p>If you have a volt meter check to see if the voltage is the same on both sides of the meter. You can try cleaning the contact surfaces with a small piece of sandpaper or nail file or emery board. </p>
<p>Having troubles with mine. I attached the battery pack fine and saudered that 4th space. New film. Settings are set. But when I take a picture it comes out black. one picture had something on it, but everything after that failed to come out. Also the film did have enough time to develop and the shutter just click or kind of a spring noise. Not sure what else to do. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I have more film to try some more ideas. </p>
<p>Save your film until you are sure the shutter is at least operating. Was it working before you connected the battery pack? You may have a defective camera. About 20% of the Land Cameras I see have non-repairable shutter problems. </p><p>To check shutter operation:</p><p>Cock the shutter, cover the photocell with your finger, aim the camera toward a light source, then press the shutter release, holding it down. After a second or two, uncover the photocell. </p><p>You should hear a second &quot;click&quot; as it closes. No second click, your shutter is't working and it is time to re-check your electrical connections. </p>
<p>Any idea what I can do if one of my battery connector wires snapped all the way at the end where it is supposed to be connected to the camera? Can it be fixed or better to buy a new camera?</p>
<p>The wire can be replaced. They are often completely corroded due to battery leakage must be replaced. If it is broken inside the battery compartment you may be able to solder the two pieces together. </p><p>Your camera model and where the wire is broken will determine how difficult it will be. Worst case it will require opening the lens board (three screws, soldering in new wires, and routing them to the battery compartment. Need more information, preferably with photo, to determine the correct approach. </p><p>Buying a new camera is always easier, but make sure you get one that has been tested. Many of the Polaroids for sale are no better than the broken one you have. </p>
<p>I love old Polaroid cameras and have a lot of them in various guises.</p><p>Some I have no idea what they are or we're ever used for although they seem to have been very popular in scientific fields.</p><p>I love the fact that there has been a resurgence of interest in them although lament the corresponding price rises of some cameras. That's not to say you can't still find good value cameras around, but the opportunities are diminishing.</p><p>The only point I would really take issue with is the use of expired film. I appreciate a nice fresh and sharp image, but I much prefer the lottery of results you get from using expired film.</p><p>Some shots are a complete waste of time and obviously money, but others are nothing short of amazing with washed out colours, chemical reactions, ethereal effects, halo's and all manner of effects that are testament to the film having expired.</p><p>I would suggest that if you have a creative leaning of any extent that you explore what expired film has to offer.</p><p>Some of my most creative images have come from expired film.</p><p>If the film has been refrigerated then it can last for years past it's expiration date. Frozen film is another matter as mentioned earlier, but I get back to the idea of experimenting.</p><p>Who knows where it might take you, but regardless of who uses what and when, the fact that we're still using these cameras decades after they were built is just fantastic.</p><p>:-)</p>
<p>I fixed up a Land 440, including the battery modification. It was pretty easy and fast to get going! </p><p>Warning if you're going to be doing this with a 440 model: There's a lot of plastic to remove from the inside of the battery area. But you also have to be careful because some of the tabs are connected to the frontal wall of the camera itself, so don't pull it completely apart! </p>
I just bought my daughter a Polaroid 320 camera and we can't seem to get the pictures to turn out. I was told to buy Fujifilm FP-100C even though the camera says it takes 75 or 3000 speed film. Is that the problem? Please help!!!!!
<p>no that should not be the issue, everyone with these old pack film cameras are shooting the same 100 speed film. Please make sure the camera is loaded with batteries and test different types of light to see that the exposure time is varying appropriately. That will at least proof that the camera is getting power to control the shutter speed, a good first step.</p>
I just got one of these, and its full kit, from a garage sale for $3. I am excited to get shooting with it. Your article will put me well on my way. As a purist I will opt out of the battery conversion but it is a great mod. <br> <br>Thank you.

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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