This Vintage Camera Ad Reminds Us of the “Countdown” Polaroid

Does anyone remember this Polaroid Land Camera with a “countdown” feature? Let this vintage camera ad remind you if you’ve forgotten!

Polaroid cameras from decades past remain among the most popular and beloved when it comes to vintage cameras, revered alongside their modern counterparts. That’s why, apart from the cameras themselves, a lot of instant photography fans find themselves fascinated with the vintage camera ads that feature them. Today, put the spotlight on one such ad, which takes us back all the way to 1970.

The ad below, which we spotted from an r/vintageads thread on Reddit, features the Polaroid Land Model 350, produced from 1969 to 1971. One of the so-called Countdown Cameras, this model boasted of being one of the most automatic cameras made by the renowned Polaroid company. Its main feature? An electronic development timer on the rear of the body.

“This camera is not through with you when you are through with it,” the ad said. Once a shot is made and the film is pulled out, the camera’s electronic development timer sets off. You know your photo is ready to peel once you hear the beep. 

According to Camerapedia, the Polaroid Land Model 350 belonged to the series that began with the Automatic 100 and ended with the Automatic 450. It shared a common set of features with the other cameras in the series: folding bellows, automatic exposure, and 100-series packfilm. However, it was also one of the higher-end models of the Polaroid 100-400 series, with the development timer and a smaller eyepiece on the rangefinder being the main differences.

Additionally, the Model 350 and its other high-end counterparts had three main advantages over the “consumer” models in the series: 

  • a rangefinder designed by Zeiss Ikon, which had projected frame lines and parallax compensation
  • a tripod mount on the all-metal body
  • a 3-element 114mm f8.8 glass lens 

So, if you still have a Polaroid Land Camera, you might want to check for a development timer at the rear of the camera. You may actually own a Polaroid Land Model 350!

Meanwhile. if you missed our previous vintage camera ad and commercial features, we suggest checking out this nostalgic Polaroid Land 104 commercial or the Asahi Pentax as a travel companion.

Cover image by Tim Williams. Used with Creative Commons permission.