|Polaroid 104 fully opened & ready to go!|
Continuing my journey with film
cameras I’ve purchased let’s talk about my Polaroid 104
I bought this camera because I had previously
bought two Polaroid “Land” cameras (a Colorpack II, and a Colorpack III) at
Goodwill and love them.
I wanted to get a
more “old school” Land camera, one with bellows.
I found a seller on eBay listing a Polaroid
100, 104 & a 320 in a lot.
and bought all 3 paying less than $25 all in.
All 3 Polaroids appeared to work,
but none had batteries.
This type of
camera requires a battery to fire the shutter.
Yikes, the battery type is not easily found and I don’t think
manufactured any longer.
online about buying an equivalent battery or mod-up the battery compartment to
accept AAA batteries.
For the 104 I
decided to go the mod route as the leads were intact and the compartment clean
|Closed with a self contained cover|
|Cover off, but bellows not yet expanded|
|Camera fully opened from the top|
The main feature of the camera is
that it uses Polaroid 100 series film.
film is also called “pack” film (instamatic) which is surprisingly still
Fujifilm manufactures the film and
it’s readily available for about $14 per pack (10 shots).
Available in color 75 ASA
(film equivalent to
ISO) & B&W 3000 ASA
. The cool thing about this film (unlike Polaroid
film which is ejected from the front of the camera), this that it’s “pulled” from
the side of the camera.
you peel the film apart revealing the image.
Key specs of the 104 is that it’s
lightweight, all-plastic, has folding bellows, automatic exposure through a
Polaroid "electric eye", and it’s a quasi-rangefinder. It’s focused by moving the bellows in and out
slightly by moving the focusing knobs attached to the bellow struts back and
forth. There are focusing markers in the
viewfinder, but I haven’t figured them out yet.
To get the camera going I cleaned
it up, and went to my local Radio Shack to buy a AAA battery holder with
wires. I clipped out (with big
fingernail clippers) the bracket that held the existing battery, and wired the
holder into the existing battery leads.
I then added 2 AAA batteries to get the desired 3 volts, and jammed
(literally) the holder back into the compartment. I armed the shutter, did a test shutter
release, and “click”, “click”. The
needed double click that told me the electric eye (light meter) was
|DIY battery mod|
I loaded a package of Fujifilm
FP-100C and took a couple of test shots.
The first was out of focus on one of my cats (need to work on the focus)
and one outside which came out fine. I’m
good to go.
|Inside, got to figure out the focusing technique|
|Getting the hang of how to focus for a maximum DOF|
Bottomline, a fun, retro camera that can be picked up
easily online or at flea markets. Most
you buy won’t have batteries, but you can buy them online (expensive around
$20, so do research first), or mod-up a battery yourself. Film can be purchased at most camera stores
or online camera stores. Just remember
if you buy a Land camera make sure the battery compartment is free from
corrosion. Have fun, I know I will.