In the name of progress, megapixels has deeply infiltrated into our lives, overshadowing the cameras of yesteryear and branding them ‘vintage’. It’s a shame that these vintage cameras are deemed irrelevant as many have forgotten their true beauty, which lies in the soul that they breathe into each picture they create.
One series of vintage camera, recently salvaged by the passionate analogue folks at Thirtysix, is the Polaroid Automatic Land cameras. This series of Polaroid cameras started with the Automatic Land Camera 100 model and finished at the Automatic Land Camera 450 model.
Due to their ‘old age’, refurbishments and modifications are necessary for the cameras. Thirtysix have cleaned them up and restored their functions. Most of the cameras found have problems such as battery leaks and faulty shutters and there are some that are irreparable. Though these can’t operate again, they are not completely useless as their working parts are used to repair and fix the others.
All battery compartments were modified to fit either the AAA or the CR123A batteries as the original ones used were alkaline batteries (mainly PX19 and PX24) that are not easily available now. Thirtysix are currently exploring on modifying the cameras to comprise more manual features. And for this, we salute their enthusiasm and heart for being experimental!
A common set of features that the Polaroid Automatic Land cameras share are folding bellows and automatic exposure with an external ‘electric eye’ light metre beside the lens. The cameras were originally designed for the Polaroid 100-series Packfilm, which had already been phased out. The films that are currently available are the Fujifilm FP100 and FP3000.
The differences among the various camera models include glass or plastic lens, rangefinder or image-sizer viewfinders, different film speed controls and builds.
Available at Thirtysix (Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-32, Singapore 189652), the Polaroid Automatic Land cameras are retailing from SGD180 - SGD250 depending on their condition.