Polaroid Instant 20 Land Camera Shots

As I wrote in this post, my uncle in Ireland sent me his old Polaroid Instant 20 Land Camera which he bought in 1977. Despite its old age, the camera is in great working order so I decided to take it out for a spin around San Jose this weekend.

I loaded up a pack of Polaroid Type 84 film which is a ISO 100 speed black and white square format film. This film expire in 2007 but most of the shots worked out OK. I did have to play with the exposure a bit since the camera doesn't have an ISO 100 setting instead it uses 75 ISO.

Switzer's Receipt For A Polaroid Instant 20 Land Camera

Today I received an old Polaroid camera from my uncle in Ireland. It is a Polaroid Instant 20 Land Camera and comes in its original box with manual and this receipt from Switzers, Dublin.

The receipt is from December 24th, 1977 and is for

  • Instant 20 camera ....  £19.95
  • Double pack of film ....  £6.28
  • 1 box of flashes  ....  £1.34

Over the next few days I will test it out to see if the shutter still works.  If it does I still have a few boxes of type 84 in my fridge which are hopefully still good.


Polaroid Automatic 230 Overview

Over the past few days I have been posting some Polaroid photos taken with a Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera. For those of you not familiar with older Polaroid cameras, I thought I'd explain exactly what this camera is.

The Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera is a folding pack camera in the  "200 series" available from 1967 to 1969. It has a plastic body with a 114mm f/8.8 glass lens. The camera use 100 series peel apart pack film which is 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" in size. The actual image size is 2 7/8" x 3 3/4" centered on the frame.

The shutter is electronic with speeds from 10 seconds - 1/1200. There is a dial on the lens for exposure compensation of -1 stop to +2 stops.

Focusing is achieved by using a rangefinder that is separate from the viewfinder. The viewfinder assembly is on a hinge that allows for it to be folded down when storing the camera inside its case.

To focus, a lever attached to the bellows is moved left or right and there is a pictogram indicating which way to move for closer focus (a man) or infinity (a man standing in front of a mountain).

Film speed is chosen using a dial under the lens. The available speeds are 75, 150, 300 and 3000. So if a film such as 672 (ISO 400)  is used, some exposure compensation is required. The yellow button under the lens assembly is the "scene selector" which adjusts the aperture.

Recommendations for which scene to use are listed on the top of the lens assembly for each of the film speeds and a yellow square shows the currently selected scene.

Numbered buttons indicate the sequence for taking a shot. Step 1 is focus and step 2 is press the shutter.

Step 3 is reset the shutter for the next shot. In reality, this is done before step 1 of course.

Finally step 4 is remove the film from the camera by pulling on the paper tab.

Examples Shots

Links The Land List Option8 Polaroid FAQ

Polaroid Film

The Impossible Project are holding a press event in New York on March 22nd and hopefully they will announce some new integral film to feed our SX-70s. Unfortunately, they won't be releasing any pack film but I still have a small stash of various films left.

If you are viewing this in an email or RSS reader, please click though to see the gallery.

The Backwards Peel

This week I learned a new way to peel Polaroid pack film from a video posted by Moominsean on his blog Moominstuff. Maybe everyone peels this way but I never knew about it. What I like about this method is that there is less chance for the goo to go all over the print and also, you are have a nice paper border which can be removed if you want but can also be left intact for a nice effect.

You also get a nice clean paper negative which can be scanned and used to make more prints.

Here is my first effort shot on 672 film and peeled using this method . (Thanks to Sassy, my ever patient model).

You can see Moominsean's video on his blog, Moominstuff.

Fade to What The ?

Got an email today from Polapremium advertising a new film which among other things states

Everyone at the Polapremium headquarters is excited!...We did not want to release this treasure before we knew exactly what it does, how it reacts and what can be done with it. So we have tested it for a long time now and are finally ready to launch this jewel. Curious?

Sounds good yes? I don't know about you but I am exited. Tell me more while I look for my credit card.

Strikingly special about this unique film is that shortly after taking the photo the picture drifts through different phases of light bluish greens through darker brownish reds, slowly collecting more and more unusual textures and streaks before it turns to blackness.

light bluish greens...yum....darker brownish reds......OK... My credit card number is......wait...it turns to WHAT????

before it turns to blackness.

Hmmm...must have read that wrong. Let's continue.

It is almost as if TIME tears at the picture's existence in FAST FORWARD.

Within 12 hrs the film reaches an incredibly beautiful darkness. Within 24 hrs the picture turns to BLACK.

The precious moment of time becomes a VISUAL SECRET.

Visual secrets, beautiful darkness, turns to black......whaooo!!!! Turns to black?

OK. If I am reading this correctly, the film will go black and you will have no photograph within 24 hours. Are Polapremium taking the piss????? I am pretty sure something that turns to black 24 hours after you expose it to light is not the definition of a "jewel".


Reading on further, PP go on to list some techniques on how to make the photo permanent and this is where it starts to sound pretty interesting. First of all, there are a couple of  methods where you can peel off the positive from the negative which looks like it will stop the development process.

There is also a "solar" technique where you let the photo sit in the sun for a few weeks and an image will reappear.

And I have to admit, from the photos in the email, the results from the peel apart and the solar techniques look excellent.

Fade To Black

But sill, this is obviously sub standard film that was either unfinished when the Polaroid plant closed or fished out of the trash can at the back of the factory. Or maybe, this film is from a not so successful experiment by the Impossible Project.

Either way, I think it is funny to read the email with all the marketing speak (Someone just got their diploma from the Lomographic Institute of Marketing). But if you feel like experimenting (and I will admit I am tempted myself), check out the link below.

Link: http://www.polapremium.com/shop/film/sx70/fi_sx70_1_1009_fade