1948- 1972

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Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 Circa 1948

Model 95 is the first of Edwin Land's instant picture cameras. Starting in 1948 the Polaroid Corporation in Rochester made at least 1.5 million of the Model 95 folding viewfinder camera for his instant roll film, including the variants 95, 95A and 95B. The Model 95 is recognized by the spring sighting pin as part of the viewfinder, while the later Models A and B have a wire frame.



Polaroid Land Camera Model 80A "Highlander"  Circa 1957

Model 80 was the first Land camera offered in a smaller format than the basic models.  The 80A was an improved model using the exposure value scale rather than traditional f/stop numbering.

Mary Moorman was present at the assassination of JFK; she was across the street from Abraham Zapruder and shown in his film.   She took two shots of the motorcade, but only one survived to be published.   This captured nearly the moment of the fatal shot hitting JFK, from across the street but aligned with the rear driver's side of the limousine.  The Grassy Knoll is the backdrop of her image.  The missing photo is the subject of controversy.  See: JFK Details



Polaroid Land Camera Model 800    Circa 1957

The Polaroid 800 Land Camera, or simply "The 800" was produced by from 1957-1962.  It has a coupled rangefinder, parallax correction and a hot shoe.  The 800 also features a high precision 130mm f8.8 three element glass lens, an electronically tested shutter, and permanently lubricated roller bearings.  The body is polished steel body with a light tan textured coating.


SX-70 Polaroid Land Camera   Circa 1972

While this was not their last camera, it is the last important and substantially successful Polaroid offering.  Eminent photographers such as Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, and Walker Evans praised and used the SX-70.   It remains popular with a cult following, and enables a unique art form where the image is manipulated when the gel is still pliable.  Though film is now expensive it is still produced by a third-party.

This is one of the last production cameras to use a bellows folding system.   The folding aspect and instant results made this ideal for family and professionals needing a simple photographic record.  This camera was given to me by a real estate appraiser who has moved on to digital photography.   Even before digital, rapid processing of traditional film was eating into the appeal of instant photography.

Pictures from the SX-70, ejected automatically and developed quickly without chemical residue. Polaroid founder Edwin Land announced the SX-70 at a company annual meeting in April 1972. On stage, he took out a folded SX-70 from his suit coat pocket and in ten seconds took five pictures, both actions impossible with previous Land Cameras. The company first sold the SX-70 in Miami, Florida in late 1972, and began selling it nationally in fall 1973. Although the high cost of $180 for the camera and $6.90 for each film pack of ten pictures limited demand, Polaroid sold 700,000 by mid-1974.  In 19734, the Skylab 3 and 4 astronauts used an SX-70 to photograph a video display screen to be able to compare the Sun's features from one orbit to the next.



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