Category Archives: 100-Serial Type (Pack Film)

Polaroid Land Camera 250

One of my favorite cameras is also the first instant film camera I purchased in October 2013. The Polaroid Land Camera 250, manufactured from 1967 – 1969, is a high-end model with a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder focus. The focus is projected in a single viewfinder window unlike other models made during the time. The camera itself has an all metal body, a tripod mount, and contains a 3-element glass lens (114mm f/8.8).

Polaroid Land Camera 250
During the three year production, Polaroid made some slight changes to the model 250. Early version have a much larger viewfinder/focus window. Many collectors and photographers prefer this version because of the viewfinder. Another noticeable difference in the early version is the classic Polaroid logo. It features the name Polaroid on the front cover with the original crossing polarizer lens logo on the top. In later versions, the viewfinder/focus window was reduced in size, though it was functionally identical. The polarizer logo was removed and the name Polaroid was moved on the cover and the camera model was added. From this point forward, this was the standard location for the name and model. I currently own the later version of the 250. Last year I purchased a box of mystery cameras from an auction house in San Diego, California. One of the cameras in the box was an early version of the 250. I cleaned it up, lubricated the moving parts, and converted the batteries. It wasn’t difficult to find a buyer.

Since 2014, I’ve collected seven other Polaroid Land Cameras that use the 100-Serial Type Pack Film. Each camera has been cleaned and had the batteries converted to standard AA’s or AAA’s depending on the model. I’ve even purchased a few duplicates and given them away to friends. In November 2013, Rich Legg and I were messing around with our instant cameras at his studio in Draper, Utah. Rich wired an old flash cable so we could connect our Land Camera’s to Pocket Wizards. This allowed us to use our instant cameras with his giant octobox and studio strobes. It was cool to mix a 45-year old camera with modern wireless triggers and studio lighting.

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Instant Film Photographer

If you have someone on your gift list this year who loves instant photography, or is just getting started, here are some great ideas. These range from Impossible Project Film, Fujifilm for old Land Cameras, and some books. I have a review of the Fujifilm Instax SP-1 Smartphone Printer coming up in a few weeks, but I found a good kit deal on Amazon and wanted to share it now.

For Polaroid One Step (600 Series Film) Photographers:

Impossible Color Instant Film (Color Frames Edition) for Polaroid 600-Type Cameras

Impossible Black & White Instant Film (Hardcolor Edition) for Polaroid 600-Type Cameras

Impossible Black & White Instant Film (Round Frame Edition) for Polaroid 600-Type Cameras

Impossible Black & White Instant Film (Silver Frame Edition) for Polaroid 600-Type Cameras

Impossible Black & White Instant Film (Black Frame) for Polaroid 600-Type Cameras

For Polaroid SX-70 (SX-70 Series Film) Photographers:

Impossible Color Instant Film for Polaroid SX-70 Cameras

Impossible Black & White Instant Film for Polaroid SX-70 Cameras

Impossible Color Instant Film (Lulu Guinness Edition) for Polaroid SX-70 Cameras

For old school Polaroid Land Camera (Models 100 through 400) photographers:

Fujifilm FP-100C Professional Color Film

Fujifilm FP-3000B Professional Black & White Film

Land Camera Battery: Exell 4.5V Alkaline Battery

For Fuji Instax Mini Photographers:

 Fujifilm Instax Mini – Twin Film Pack

Best Deal: Fujifilm Instax SHARE SP-1 Instant Film Smartphone Printer (White) with 20 Color Prints, 2 Batteries, Digital Camera Kit

Movies:

 Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Books:

Instant: The Story of Polaroid

Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids

Polaroid Land Photography by Ansel Adams & Robert Baker

The Polaroid Book (Taschen’s 25th Anniversary Special Editions)

The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation

Photographer’s Guide to Polaroid Transfer: Step-By-Step


Gallery of Scanned Fujifilm FP-3000B Negatives


Polaroid Big Swinger Model 3000 Land Camera

After buying a box of old cameras at an auction for $13, I found that I had two original Polaroid Swinger Model 20 cameras. Doing some research and learning about them, it peaked my interest in these boxy-rigid-plastic-sixties-throwback cameras. I found someone local selling a Big Swinger Model 3000 and took the bait. Why? The original Swinger takes Type 20 roll film that hasn’t been produced since 1970. However, the Big Swinger Model 3000 takes 100-type pack film. The same Fujifilm as the other Land Cameras in my collection. The Big Swinger has a plastic lens, plastic body, creates black and white prints, so I was already hooked on this camera before the first shot.

Made by Polaroid from 1968 to 1970, the Big Swinger Model 3000 is the younger and slightly bigger sibling to the original Swinger Model 20. The Big Swinger Model 3000 has a 114mm single –element fixed-focus plastic lens. It takes 2 AA batteries, uses AG-1 flash bulbs, and only accepts 300 ASA (100-Serial Type) black and white film. The original price was $24.95, and you can still find many of them on eBay or in thrift stores for $5 to $30 depending on condition. The Big Swinger has some unique features like many of the similar models produced at the time like the Zip and Square Shooter. Many of the features seem to be Polaroid’s attempt to cut costs and make a more affordable instant camera. For example, instead of using metal rollers to apply the reagent (developing elements) to the film, the Big Swinger uses metal spreading bars to evenly spread the reagent. To take a photo, point the camera at the subject and then squeeze the red knob (that surrounds the white shutter release) and twist to set the exposure lighter or darker. In the bottom of the viewfinder is a small red window. In that window is a red checkerboard pattern. While slowly twisting, eventually the word “YES” appears clearly. This means that the correct exposure has been achieved. While twisting the knob to adjust the exposure, the camera opens or closes the aperture blades behind the lens, letting in more or less light to the film. The aperture on this model works like a pair of scissors opening and closing. It’s that simple, and it works. This must have been another way for Polaroid to cut costs. If a flash bulb is used in the camera, the exposure is set the same, however the twist dial is set for the distance from the camera to the subject. Polaroid has attempted to simplify this. For the most part, the output from the flash bulb is generally consistent, but the light reflecting back into the camera is going to change based on a number of things. The distance being the greatest challenge. For example, a close subject with flash might reflect much more light back, so a bigger aperture (smaller opening) is used. If the subject is further away, much more reflected light is needed to come back to the camera, so a smaller aperture (larger opening) is used.

My wife thinks this camera is really dumb looking, and she has a point, it’s kind of goofy. After a few test shots, it’s easy to get the hang of the exposure control. I even popped a few flash bulbs in it to test. Seeing the wisp of smoke and the smell of the flash brought back a few childhood memories. Along with testing out a vintage camera, I decided to scan both the negatives and the photos. Scanning the negative black and white Fujifilm FP-3000b gives a very dramatic and aged look to the photos. I’m really happy with the results.

Lost Art Tattoo on 25th Street, Ogden, UT
Polaroid Big Swinger Model 3000 – Fujifilm FP-3000b

Old Ovid Meetinghouse in Ovid, ID
Polaroid Big Swinger Model 3000 – Fujifilm FP-3000b


Abandoned Farmhouse in Bancroft, ID
Polaroid Big Swinger Model 3000 – Fujifilm FP-3000b