Polaroid RollFilm Cameras
From the First Polaroid instant photo camera to early 60s they only released rollfilm cameras. There were three rollfilm camera series, 40 series, 30 series, and 20 series. The first Polaroid camera, Polaroid Model 95 is a type 40 camera. Polaroid made rollfilm still 1992 before discontinued. Sometimes those old film packs might still work but it’s really hard to find these film anymore. There are people who convert these cameras to take other types of film but these converted cameras are very expensive. I have seen these on e-bay for $400 to upward.
First Polaroid Camera – Land Camera Model 95
The first ever Polaroid camera which was made in 1947 was Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 ( 1948–1953 ). It used Polaroid Picture Roll Land film 40 series. they made Roll film till 1992. It becomes a huge success and They made more than 1.5 million Model 95 folding viewfinder cameras (95, 95A, 95B versions).
The original retail price of Model 95 was $89 – $95. It’s the first commercial instant camera ever built and there was a huge demand for this camera. In 1954, Model 95A Speedliner (1954–1957) came to market and in 1957 Model 95B Speedliner was introduced (1957–1961).
You can recognize the Model 95 from its spring sighting pin of the viewfinder. Other two models have a wireframe for this. All these three models use 40 Series Roll film. You can still find one of these models in working condition and even for very cheap but you won’t find any film. Some people have modified the camera so it could take other types of film. Also, there are few websites which offer this conversion services but it could be very costly and the price would be around $500.
Model 95 had a 135mm lens, 3 element glass with f/11. shutter speed was between 1/8 – 1/60. You could mount an M-sync Flash via ASA-bayonet post connector. Model 95A / Model 95B had a 130mm f/8.8 lens and shutter speed was 1/12 – 1/100. Also, all these cameras have two tripod sockets and cable-release socket.
Edwin H. Land
When we talk about the evolution of Polaroid camera there is one person who we can’t forget. That’s Edwin Herbert Land who’s known as the inventor of Polaroid or Instant camera. Edwin Land was born in Connecticut in 1909 as the son of a scrap metal yard owner. He studied chemistry at Harvard University after attending Norwich Free Academy at Norwich, Connecticut.
At age 17, 1929 he left Harvard and started researching about light polarization. He invented inexpensive Polarizing light filter, a polarizing film he named has Polaroid Film. In 1937 he started Land-Wheelwright Laboratories with his physics instructor at Harvard and also received Family funds. Then Land received more funding from some Wall Street investors and renamed the company as Polaroid Corporation. During the second world war, he did work for military developing items like dark-adaptation goggles, target finders, Even those first passively guided smart bombs.
In 1947 Land announced about first Polaroid Camera which they called Land Camera. They originally made only first 60 units and all sold out on the first day of demonstrations. Their success with this first camera ran for decades and Polaroid Co. was the only company which made Instant cameras until the 80s.
In 1980 Edwin Land reigned as chairmen of Polaroid Co. after Polavision instant movie system became a financial disaster. After that, he spent his time for Rowland Institute for Science which he founded. Edwin Land died on March 1, 1991, in Massachusetts.