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Model 100 (1963-1966)

SX-70 (1973)

Polaroid Model 100 (1963-1966)

Purchased on eBay, late 1990s.

The Polaroid Model 100, first offered in 1963 for $164.95 (a whopping $1,394 in today's money) was Polaroid's first "packfilm" camera. Previous Polaroid instant cameras used film that came on a roll, and developed inside the camera, to be peeled away after opening a small door. In contrast, with the packfilm cameras, the pictures were stored in a stack in the film pack, and were each pulled fully from inside the camera after exposure, to be peeled apart to reveal the image after a specified time.

There was a bit of an art to this - the development time varied with temperature, so the photographer's experience played a large part in making sure the images were developed properly. Once the pictures were peeled apart, they required coating with a transparent liquid from a small roller that came with each pack. If not properly coated, the pictures would fade badly with time. Color pictures had a tendency to curl up, so the film pack came with self-adhesive cardboard rectangles to be adhered to the back of each print.

The full name of the camera is actually "Polaroid Automatic 100", because of its automatic exposure features. There is a photocell on the front of the camera that controls the exposure based on available light. Taking a picture required cocking the shutter with a small lever at the front of the camera, and pushing handles on the right and left sides would adjust the focus. If the automatic exposure proved too light or dark for the photgrapher's taste, a ring around the base of the lens allowed darkening or lightening the images. For flash pictures, there is a socket on the side of the camera that accepts the plug from a flashgun that clips to the top of the camera body.

This camera is technically fully functional, although the battery it uses can be difficult to find, but the film is no longer available. Polaroid stopped production of their film in in the late 2000s, and Fuji (the only remaining supplier) stopped producing their version in 2016.