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Picture of Resurrect a Polaroid Land Camera
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.
 
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Step 1: Find a Camera

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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."

Step 2: Get film

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While it is true that Polaroid stopped making film for their camera, it is also true that other companies historically have made instant film and continue to do so.

For instance, Fujifilm makes 4.25" x 3.25" instant film ("pack film") for Polaroid Land Cameras and have announced that they currently have no plans to stop manufacturing it.

This means that not only is instant film available, but it is also much more affordable than the remaining Polaroid Film (and don't even get me started on the prices of the Impossible Project).

While most respectable camera stores should carry it, you can also buy it online from B&H Photo and Video or Calumet.

Film stock available for pack film Polaroid cameras include:
FP-100B (black and white)
FP-100C (color)
FP-3000C (black and white)

Note that the product numbers correlate directly to ISO film speed.

Step 3: The camera and its accessories

The camera I found was a Polaroid 250 Land Camera. This is one of the higher-end models and boasts a Zeiss-Ikon rangefinder, all-metal body, and 3-element glass lens. It was manufactured between 1967 and 1969.

Along with the camera I got:
- the #322 Polaroid Camera Case
- an instruction manual
- a Cold-Clip
- the #128 development timergg
- the #268 flashbulb unit
- (x5) M3 flashbulbs
- obsolete print ordering cards

I will go more into detail about all of these accessories later (except the ordering cards).

Step 4: The battery

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The battery used by this land camera is the #531 4.5V alkaline battery. This battery is expensive and kind of a pain to get a hold of.

Instead, I highly recommend converting the camera to work on AAA batteries (see the next 5 steps).

To find out what type of battery your land camera needs, check out the Land List.

Keep in mind that every A-series battery is 1.5V and this voltage adds up when you put batteries in series (such as in a battery holder). So, if you need a 4.5V battery, that will be three AAA batteries and a 3V battery would translate to two AAA batteries.

Step 5: Battery upgrade

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To upgrade the battery pack you will need:

- 4 - AAA battery holder (3V cameras require a 2 - AAA holder)
- Few inches of wire
- Soldering setup
- Wire strippers
- Phillips screwdriver
- Electrical tape

Step 6: The new battery pack

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We are going to need to convert the battery holder to only use three AAA batteries. The reason we do this, as opposed to getting a three-battery holder, is that the 4-battery holder is actually more compact and fits better into the battery compartment.

That said, we are going to bypass one of the battery slots by soldering a wire to the spring on one side to the plate on the other. This will create a 4-battery holder that only takes three batteries (and thus be the necessary 4.5V).

Step 7: Out with the old

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Remove the old battery if it is still in there. Then, remove the battery holder by unscrewing it.

Finally, break away any plastic tabs that were supporting the old battery holder.

Be careful not to cut the battery connector wires.

Step 8: In with the new

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Trim away the ground (black) connector, leaving as much wire intact as possible. Strip a little of this wire's jacket away to expose the conductive core. Solder the black wire from the camera together with the black wire from the battery holder.

Repeat this process with the white wire and the red wire.

When you are done, insulate each solder joint separately with electrical tape.

Step 9: Power

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Install the new AAA batteries and close up the battery compartment. These batteries should last a long time. You will take hundreds of pictures before you need to worry about replacing them.

Step 10: Remove the cover

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Removing the camera cover is simple.

First lift the top up over the viewfinder and rotate it forwards to expose the front of the camera.

Next, to detach it completely, press up on the silver tab keeping the cover connected to the bottom of the camera.

Step 11: Inspect and clean the rollers

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Before you load the film for the first time, you want to inspect the rollers on the inside of the camera that are used to disperse the developer.

First, open the back door of the camera all the way. There should be a switch on the bottom right-hand side to release the door.

You should then see the rollers right next to the door where the film is pulled out of. The rollers can be released for inspection by pulling the red metal tab located on their side.

Make certain that they are not badly scratched or dented. If they are, they will need to be replaced as this will cause the photo to come out corrupted and/or the film to jam and leak into the camera.

If they are merely dirty, this is a bit easier to deal with. They will simply need to be cleaned with a soft damp rag. Do not use any solvents or cleaning products when doing this.

When you are certain the rollers are smooth and clean, then you are ready to move on.

Step 12: Load the film

Loading the film is easy.

Simply drop the pack in such that the notched side is facing up and the black tab is sticking over the side of the camera. The pack should be lying flatly in place.

Before you close the case, make certain that the white tabs are not stuck under the film pack.

Make sure the black tab is coming out of the small slot on the side and then close the case by pressing firmly on the top and bottom.

Pull on the black tab until it is entirely out of the camera. This should advance the white tab labeled "1" through the small slot. This indicates that the film was loaded right and the first picture is ready to go.

Step 13: Film speed settings

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Setting film speed is accomplished by adjusting the round knob below the lens on the front of the camera.

If you are working with 3000 speed film, you will want to set this to 3000.

If you are working with 100 speed film, you will want to set it to 75. This will let in a little too much light for the film speed, but can be compensated for by adjusting the aperture to be darker.

Step 14: Lighting selector

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The lighting selector specifies to the camera what type of film is being used and how large the aperture should be.

It is important to set the Lighting Selector correctly.

Unless you are using 3000 speed film outdoors or with a flash, you will always want the 75,150, and 300 Speed column to "Bright Sun, Dull Day and Also Flash" (this will also set the 3000 speed column to "Indoors without flash").

Step 15: Adjust the exposure settings

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The camera's aperture can be adjusted by turning the ring around the lens. If you want to darken the film, move the dot towards "Darken." It goes to follow that you would move the dot towards "Lighten" if you want to lighten the film.

I recommend setting the aperture to neutral until you know how your pictures are coming out.

Step 16: Extend the bellows

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To extend the bellow, press upwards on the focusing button that is labeled with a "1" and an arrow pointing upwards.

While pressing up on this button, pull the camera front outwards until it locks in place.

Step 17: Timing the film

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Timing the film is critical when working with pack film. The development time for each particular film is specified on a chart on the packaging. This chart will give the proper development time based on ambient temperature of your environment.

If you have a timer, set it according to the development time specified on the film box.

For instance, at 86 degrees, FP-100C has a 75 second development time, at 68 degrees it drops to 120, and at 50 degrees, it recommends 270.

It is generally recommended that you don't shoot below 60 degrees using color film, or if you do, use a Cold-Clip (more on that later).

Also to note is that black and white film (FP-100B and FP-3000B) have considerably shorter development time than color film.

Lastly, if you are shooting below 60 degrees you will want to move the aperture dial slightly towards lighten and if shooting over 80 degrees, you might want to consider moving it a notch towards darken.

Step 18: Focus on the subject

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Look through the viewfinder and push/pull the focusing bar back and forth until your subject is in focus.

As a general rule, if your subject is between 3-1/2 to 5 feet set it to the portrait. If the subject is between 5 and 10 feet, set it to the group setting. If it is greater than 10 feet, set it to landscape.

Step 19: Arm the shutter

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Push down on the shutter lever until it locks in a "down" position. The shutter is now armed and ready to take a picture.

Step 20: Take a picture

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To take a picture, press down on the big red button labeled "2". This will release the shutter.

Step 21: Expose the film

To start exposing the film, first pull firmly on the white numbered tab until it is completely out of the camera.

This should then expose the picture tab from the long camera slot.

Hold the camera horizontally with your left hand and pull the film tab firmly and at a moderate speed with your right hand. Pulling it should take no more than a second or two. Make certain that you pull the film straight out of the camera. If you pull it at an angle, you risk damaging the picture and getting gunk on the rollers (which can damage additional pictures). Additionally, if you pull it too fast, you will get white specks all over your image. Next time, pull it slower.

Once the picture has passed through the rollers and is outside of the camera, development has started. Immediately start the timer if you have one. If you don't, start counting in your head or aloud.

When the development time is up, peel apart the development sheet from the image sheet. Be careful not to get any of the developer chemicals on your hand. If you happen to, wash your hands off with water.

Throw away the development sheet and let the film dry off for a few minutes before you handle it. As general practice, it is good to avoid touching the picture's surface even when dry.

Step 22: The Cold-Clip for color film (optional)

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As the temperature goes down, the developer chemicals slow down and development time increases (especially in color film).

If the temperature drops below 60 degrees and you are using color film, you will want to use the Cold Clip.

The Cold Clip is basically a metal clip that you keep in a inner pocket to keep it warm.

When you are developing a color picture in a cold location (or you have been in a cold location for a while and have recently moved to a warmer spot), you will want to use the cold clip to warm up the photograph as it develops.

Basically, pull the photo out of the camera as you normally would then, within 10 seconds, fold it inside of the cold clip with the tab sticking out the top. Then, simply, place it back in your pocket and wait about 60-90 seconds. Actual development time depends on how hot you are. I'll leave this up to you to decide.

*Note: The Cold-Clip should never be used with black and white film.

Step 23: Compress the bellows

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Press down on the bar labeled "Press to close".

Simultaneously push the front panel of the camera back towards the body of the camera until it is locked into place.

Step 24: Common photo errors and solutions

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White image - This probably means that you are shooting with 3000 speed film at too slow of a film speed. Try setting it to 3000 speed and see if this corrects the problem.

Black image - This means no light got to the film. The typical cause for this is that the shutter did not open. Perhaps the camera batteries have died. Try replacing them and see if that helps. If this does not help, check to make sure the battery pack connection to the camera has not come loose. If still no luck, set the film speed to 75 and the environment type to indoors. Trigger the shutter and listen for it click. If it does not click, then the shutter is broken and needs to be repaired.

White specks - You have pulled the picture out of the camera too fast. Slow down.

Too dark - The aperture needs to be rotated towards lighten.

Too light - The aperture needs to be rotated towards darken.

Undeveloped U-Shape - This is caused by pulling the film too slowly, dirt on the rollers, or the white tab being folded over the film pack. Next time pull the film faster and make sure the white tabs are not pushed into the camera (but don't open the film compartment!). If it persists, clean the rollers when the pack of film is used up.

Muddy print - You did not let the film develop long enough.

Undeveloped edge - The film was pulled out of the camera at an angle and the developer was not spread evenly. Next time pull the film straight out of the camera.

Edges very dark - This is caused when shooting in bright sunlight and using 3000 speed film with the lighting selector set to "Indoors without flash." Simply change this to "Outdoors or flash."

Step 25: Flash photography

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The Land Camera is an m-sync camera and was designed to be used with M3 flash bulbs. It even has a state of the art (for 1967) electronic light meter for sensing the flash and timing the shutter for optimal exposure.

Unlike later Polaroid cameras, it was not at all designed to be used with electronic flashes. However, with a little bit of an ingenuity, you can get it to work with manual electronic flashes.

Step 26: Flash bulbs

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The flash unit for this camera uses M3 flash bulbs and it is recommended that you use the clear tinted M3 bulbs and not the blue tinted M3B bulbs, as the #268 flash unit already has a blue plastic shield and this will under-expose the film. However, you can compensate for this by setting the aperture towards lighten.

Other flash bulbs should also fit into the #268 flash unit, such as M5 and M2 bulbs. Keep in mind that they produce different amounts amount of light than M3 bulbs and you should adjust the aperture to compensate.

All of that said, no one manufactures flash bulbs anymore, but you can buy them online or find them at garage / estate sales. Unlike Polaroid film, you don't need to worry about flash bulbs expiring. However, you do want to check old flash bulbs for dents or scratches because surface damage will make it more likely to break when you use it.

Keep in mind that flash bulbs are one-time use only because the filament burns out after the first exposure. So, every time you want to take a flash picture, you will need a new bulb.

Needing a new obsolete bulb for every picture is what makes electronic flashes so appealing, but they have their own set of problems (which will be addressed a little later).

Step 27: Replace the flash battery

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The #268 flash unit uses a single AA battery.

To replace the battery, remove the two screws from the bottom and take off the lid.

Pull out the old battery, stick in the new one, and close it back up.

Step 28: Using a flash bulb

Make certain your flash unit has the plastic cover still intact. This is important because flash bulbs (especially old flash bulbs) have a tendency to burst and you wouldn't want to send glass flying everywhere. If the cover is broken, consider covering the bulb with a clear sheet of plexiglass. Do not use the flashbulb if there is not a solid cover.

Attach the flash bulb unit to the camera by hooking it to the top of the camera and pressing the button in to extend the the gripping edge. When pressed down atop the camera, release the button and the gripping edge will hold it in place.

Plug in the PC adapter to the front panel of the camera.

Fold down the protective cover and insert an M3 bulb into the socket. Fold the protective cover back up.

Set the lighting selector appropriately for flash photography based on your film speed (this is the yellow selector boxes on the top of the front panel of the camera).

Once everything is set, take a picture as you normally would.

When you are done, press the red button on the flash to release the bulb from the socket. Check to make sure that the bulb hasn't broken, then open the protective cover, and then throw the bulb away (if it is broken, obviously be more careful).

Unplug the PC cord when you are done using the flash. If it is left plugged in, all subsequent pictures will come out over-exposed.

Step 29: Electronic flashes

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Electronic flashes don't particularly work well (or at all) with Polaroid Land Cameras. The reason for this is that the camera has a 0.26 second (26 millisecond) delay between the flash being triggered and the shutter opening. This delay accounts for the time it takes for an m-series flash bulb to illuminate. This is called m-sync.

However, electronic flashes do not have delay. This means that as soon as you press the photo button, the flash goes off, and then, 0.26 seconds later the shutter opens. By the time the shutter has opened, the flash has already began to decay (or left town entirely).

This is particularly a problem if you are using the specialty PC adapter designed to work with the camera's flash unit. The PC adapter for Land Cameras have a special plastic tab which push a cover inside of the camera out of the way to expose a special photo meter. This is used by the camera for metering the intensity of the flash, and adjusting the exposure of your picture. If you use this option and flash goes off right away, the shutter will remain open too long because it is waiting for the flash of light that has already occurred. Obviously, this will over-expose the picture.

The two ways to get around this is to:

1) Not use the special PC adapter that activates the light meter and just use the electronic flash as-is. This might work with some flashes, but is not a perfect solution, as the lighting from the flash may be unevenly distributed throughout the picture.

2) Modify the flash to have a slight delay to account for the delay in the shutter. You can then use the specialized PC adapter. In my opinion, this is the best solution.

Step 30: Electronic flash m-sync hack

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If you are going to want to properly use an electronic flash with a Land Camera, you will not to hack the flash to be compatible with m-sync.

A full guide to doing this can be found in this Instructable.

Step 31: Electronic flash mount

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Land Cameras do not have any sort of native electronic flash mount.

You can build an electronic flash mount as specified in this Instructable.

Step 32: Using the electronic flash

To use the electronic flash, mount it to the camera as you would the flash bulb unit.

Make sure that the cable from the flash is connected to the mounting base by the 3/32" cable, and plug the special Polaroid adapter cable into the camera.

Turn on the electronic flash and take a picture as you normally would.

When you are done, don't forget to unplug the flash from the camera, or this will keep the light meter and/or flash active and ruin further pictures.

Step 33: One step beyond!

I have taken you as far as I can and you should by now be able to competently operate the camera.

It is now up to you to go out into the world and use it!

So... go forth into the world and start taking pictures. Keep track of what you are doing. Learn from both your accomplishments and mistakes. Most importantly, have fun!
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ChrisJ231 month ago

Hi Randy,
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?

Chris. I just figured it out! The Polaroid 360 has/had 2 batteries, 1 for the shutter release & the other for the timer on the back of the polaroid! One white wire goes to the grey wire & 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 & grey wire. You have to identify the shutter release to have it work, you don't need to operate the tuner. Take care!

Chris, have you figured it out? Are the 2 extra wires on your AAA conversion or in the camera? Let me know. Thanks!

Oi2311 months ago

It looks like Fujifilm quit selling the
FP-100B black and white film... :/

you can still find FP3000b around as well as the color FP100c!

Do you think the fujifilm would word with a J66 Polaroid camera? :)

no! J66 used a different type of Polaroid film.

sstergis4 months ago
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!

Impossible film is expensive BUT each new film version gets better & better. It's the only film on the market for Polaroid 600! The BW 2.0 version is fantastic! Give it a try!

ChrisJ231 month ago
jarthur63 months ago
thanks so much! I picked up a 220 for $5 and i want to get it going...
HOWEDON5 months ago

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.

dotcarmine.6 months ago

Very nice job! As far as the flash sync is concerned, Have you ever considered an LM555 Timer and a reed switch?

lesliee.army8 months ago

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?? :(

Thank you. Very complete and comprehensive step by step instructions, perfect for setting up that first Polaroid.

One minor correction. When you adjust the "Lighten/Darken" 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.

littlekap1 year ago

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?

On the 100 there is an exposed blade switch at the bottom of the battery compartment called the "interlock switch". 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:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/51423135/Repair-Manual-100-200-300-Series-Automatic-Pack-Land-Camera-March-1970

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.

u8mychipsdude11 months ago

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.

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.

To check shutter operation:

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.

You should hear a second "click" as it closes. No second click, your shutter is't working and it is time to re-check your electrical connections.

nikkiter10 months ago

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?

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.

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.

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.

I love old Polaroid cameras and have a lot of them in various guises.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I would suggest that if you have a creative leaning of any extent that you explore what expired film has to offer.

Some of my most creative images have come from expired film.

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.

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.

:-)

spacevalkyrie made it!1 year ago

I fixed up a Land 440, including the battery modification. It was pretty easy and fast to get going!

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!

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debbell51 year ago
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!!!!!

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.

zangief862 years ago
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.

Thank you.
boneskully2 years ago
This was helpful thanks. I put mine up on Facebook under The Camera Hut.
I was in the process of converting my Polaroid 240 from the 4.5V battery to three AAA batteries and realized that the white wire is severed and is no longer attached to the inside of the camera battery compartment. Is this repairable?
Avatar_I_Am3 years ago
i have several of those Polaroid Land Cameras, and you can still get most of the original batteries from BATTERIES PLUS, so check before you do a conversion. The originals took a battery w/connectors like the 9V transistor battery, so those are very easy to replace.

BUT: Make sure you verify WHICH Polaroid film the camera took, BEFORE you buy it, even if for just a few dollars.

Early Polaroid Land Cameras took ROLL film, which has not been made since about 1970 +/-. The roll film cameras cannot be made to take any modern film without spending a LOT of money on it....

Later models took 'Pack' film, which Polaroid actually stopped making in the USA several [6?] years ago, but which was still made overseas by several companies- England & Japan, among others.

Fuji made the Polaroid 'Pro Vivid', which is still marketed in USA by Fuji. It is the same film under the new Fuji label, FP-10C [colour]. We call it 'FUJI-ROID'. Readiy available at most high end camera stores, and onlne. I think there is also a B&W, and they still make it in the standard film pack & 4"x5" sizes.

** DO NOT BUY OUT OF DATE POLARIOD FILM FROM ANY SOURCE, AS THE CHEMICAL PACK IN THE FILM CRYSTALIZED SOON AFTER THE EXPIRATION DATE AND IT IS ALMOST ALWAYS USELESS/UNUSEABLE**
I *just* used instant pack film that was dated to expire in 2007, and it worked fine. It was a pack of "Fuji-roid" FP-100C. Maybe I'm misinterpreting your warning. Do you mean all instant films that fit Polaroids, or film made by Polaroid?
I am surprised the Fuji FP-100 lasted 4.5~5 years; someone must have kept it refrigerated at a very stable temperature! Fantastic Luck!!!

No, ONLY 'POLAROID' marked film packs, as Polaroid stopped selling film many- perhaps 7~8?- years ago, and it will have gone bad.

If the film was frozen, the chemical packs would have crystallized, and if not refrigerated- which only extended the expiration for about one to three years- the chemical pack would have gone bad about 5 years ago.

Anything marked "FUJI' should be O.K., maybe another year if refrigerated, but NEVER freeze it, as the chemical pack goes bad sooner.
jakebaldwin3 years ago
I learned only after spending an entire nine-out-of-ten exposures on my FP-100C pack that Fujifilm manufactures packs entirely in plastic. Polaroid packs had metal casings that could withstand the force of the tough springs inside my Land 450. The plastic in the Fuji pack bent under the pressure, and made it impossible to remove the exposure units. The big tip I found online was to open the back just slightly, relieving the pressure on the film. Unfortunately, I consistently opened the back too far, and the film missed the rollers. I managed to get one developed picture out of the ten in the pack. I found out that it was alright to remove the springs entirely, so I did. Unfortunately, I'm out of film to test with. 

Here's a very helpful link for those of you with the affected camera models.
uhclem3 years ago
This is a good alternative to paying $$$ for a Fuji Instax. I hope I can snag a nice used Polaroid camera before the local used camera store gets hip to what's going on here.
uhclem uhclem3 years ago
Auuugh! Too late! The manual exposure packfilm cameras are expensive (on eBay). The auto exposure cameras are still cheap.

I found a Polaroid 210 locally that was cheap and in excellent condition. It needed a new battery, of course. A cr123 lithium fits perfectly. I soldered the leads directly to the battery. The drain on the battery is such it will probably die from exceeding the shelf life than be worn out by the meter.

I find the exposure is very easily dominated by bright spots. If there's a patch of sun or a bright lamp you really have to lighten the picture or it will come out too dark. Otherwise the quality is excellent.

I only wish I could use the ASA 3000 film with the f/8 aperture and still get a correct exposure. Keep in mind that on most packfilm cameras, setting the speed to 3000 means using f/45 - there is no gain in exposure vs 75 or 100/

I recently saw the "king" of packfilm cameras - the Mamiya 600. Interchangeable lenses, viewfinder focusing, can shoot 120 film etc... costs more than $600.
You soldered the leads directly to the battery?! Shame!
neuropol3 years ago
Love Land cameras. Thanks for the great instructable. I'll be using that battery hack.
Update. I've now done the battery mod on a couple cameras. The first was a 360, which sadly appears to have some major issues. The second is a 450 which works great.

One issue with the 360 and 450, and any other model with an electronic timer bult in. These models take two batteries of the same type, one for the timer and the other for the exposure control. Performing this mod will disable the timer. What I haven't tried yet is using a 4 cell holder and separating it into two, two cell holders to be able to still use the timer. Next time.

The parts and batteries needed to do the mod are less than the cost of one original spec battery. A no brainer imo.
nnichraith3 years ago
Do you think that these fujifilm instants would be compatble with Polarois spectra ?
randofo (author)  nnichraith3 years ago
Not really sure. There is this:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Packtasticor-How-to-use-100-Series-Film-in-an-/

...which is not quite right, but demonstrates that you can sort of use it in other Polaroid series film cameras.
kosherbacon3 years ago
Awesome instructable!
I'm a photo student, and love using old cameras to take picture. I'm SO excited to try this out, best of all, the camera is cheap on ebay.
Thank you SO much!
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