Vintage Camera Review: Polaroid Land Camera 180

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Polaroid 180 review product photos (1 of 12)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Something that I’ve been thinking about for a while here is getting back into doing vintage camera reviews: and one of my long time favorites has been the Polaroid Land Camera 180. This one was targeted at the higher end professional crowd, and as a result doesn’t use a battery or even have a light meter built in–much like many other Polaroid Land Cameras. To that end, that means that you don’t need to check the battery compartment to ensure that it wasn’t corroded away.

Like other Land Cameras though, you’ve got a couple of other problems to look out for: rangefinder calibration and the quality of the bellows only being two of them. You may also want to check the shutter speeds, how the lens looks, etc.

But if you manage to get your hands on a solid, working copy of the camera, hold onto it.

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Gaze in Awe at Some of the Earliest Polaroids From the SX-70 Land Camera

Polaroid SX-70

Even though the Polaroid instant process was developed already in the late 30ies and the first Land Camera was introduced in 1948, it wasn’t until the SX-70 arrived in 1972 that instant photography really took off. The Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera was (and still is) not only a beautiful camera, it was also the first SLR-type camera to use instant film. And back in the day, the film it used was kind of revolutionary, as it developed all by itself.

In fact, the SX-70 film was the precursor to many modern types of instant film. Now, wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time and witness how this then-revolutionary camera was being used for the first time? Thanks to LIFE photographer Co Rentmeester, we actually can. LIFE has just publishes a gallery of images that Rentmeester took with the camera while preparing an article on its creator Edwin Land in 1972–before the camera was actually available on the market.

So the pictures you see in the LIFE gallery were actually some of the first taken with the camera, before it became popular and “helped to define the early Seventies” as LIFE puts it. Despite their obvious age, apparent in the various patterns of cracks that many of them are covered with, the pictures still preserve a beautiful range of colors and tonality, which is pretty amazing of over 40-year-old instant photos.

Today, the SX-70 is seeing a renaissance thanks to the folks over at the Impossible Project, who have made SX-70 film available again. If you’d like to own one, be prepared to pay ridiculous prices for a fully working model. But then again, you’re buying a piece of photography history.

Via boing boing via /r/photography