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Comparison of Polaroid Cameras

Oct 11, 2007
The Polaroid Automatic 100 was introduced in 1963 and manufactured through 1966. It was Polaroid's first camera to use their instant "film pack" technology, a great improvement over their earlier roll style films, and was immensely successful. So successful that zillions of them were sold, and therefore zillions are still sitting in closets and attics today.

Unfortunately, Polaroid's generate minimal collectible interest, the film pack and roll film models are no longer usable, film is only readily available for the latest SX-70 type instant film technology, and the Automatic 100 is possibly the most common Polaroid ever made.

Put all that together, you have a camera that might sell for about $10 to $15 in truly excellent condition, and perhaps double that amount if in the original box. Check eBay for yourself, do a search for completed auctions using the key words Polaroid Automatic 100, and you'll see that there is no lack of the darn things and the majority won't sell at all! That's why camera collectors often refer these types of Polaroid's as "boat anchors" and "paper weights". I'm afraid it's a "white elephant" with virtually no value.

The Model 95 was Polaroid's first camera, and it was introduced in 1948. They sold zillions of the darn things into the 1950's, so they really don't have any value. In fact, virtually all Polaroid cameras are just about worthless today. No collectible interest, and really no usable value. The film for the Model 95 was discontinued in 1971. To match your 1969 VW, I'd recommend a mid to late 1960's film pack Polaroid, the best example being the Polaroid 100, but there are plenty of other similar cheap models that are common fodder at flea markets for around $5-$10 each.

I'm afraid there's nothing special or valuable about the Polaroid Model 100. It's merely an "industrial" version of their extremely common Model 95A made from 1954 to 1957. It has better gears and cogs in it to stand the extra strain of day-to-day work, and probably the majority of these cameras were used in police and security. As for selling "less than 10,000", well, you don't understand, that's a lot of sales for an industrial model.

In truly excellent condition, a Polaroid Model 100 would sell for around $20 today, and maybe double that in the original box with instructions. It's no great treasure as a collectible, as a rule, Polaroid's tender virtually no interest among collectors, and absolutely worthless as a usable piece, the roll film for these was discontinued years ago.

The cost of film is getting more expensive, and the quality is fairly close to a 1.3 mega pixel camera. I could only suggest a Polaroid SX-70 camera. This camera uses a manual focus glass lens, and allows for fairly accurate exposure control. Not in any form of calculated values, but a sliding switch for a lighter / darker image. Old, but the more fancy of the bunch. Sure to offer some nice images.

If you want to use an older film pack Polaroid, with their old style black and white emulsion, and you need manual controls, I'm afraid you're limited to the 195, the 190, European equivalent of the 195, the 180 features a really nice Zeiss Ikon rangefinder, and the 185 very rare, so essentially untouchable because collectors will pay so much for it. All the other more common film pack Polaroid's is amateur models, cheap plastic junk with automatic exposure control only. The 195 remain the most desirable and you will see prices in the $300+ range.

The 190 is the oddball that sometimes slips through the cracks in the $200 range, but is actually, I believe, a slightly better model than the 195 and should go for more! The 180 are a bit more common than the other two and have declined in value the past two years, now selling for around $200. All three are very fine cameras indeed, but you're competing with collectors and specialized professional users. You'll have to get very lucky to find one at a discount price.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant at http://www.UsedCameraSell.com/. Used Camera Sell is a community of various independent used camera sellers from around the world. Each used camera seller represents a unique style of products all their own. If you have used cameras to sell, click here to create a Camera Account.
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