Man on bed and lamp

Polaroid Land 250

Last year, I rewired a Polaroid Land 250 to accept batteries that are available in today's drugstores. The success of making this camera functional was thrilling for a few reasons. Not only had I never used this kind of camera, but it carried sentimental value--it belonged to my husband's grandfather. When we realized we had this camera, we didn't know that Fuji was still making instant color film for it. (Note: The black and white film is still sold, but Fuji has discontinued it.)

The Polaroid Land 250 is designed to be a user-friendly camera. There are four settings for exposure depending on your environment's light (e.g. sunny, indoors) and a lighten/darken adjustment on the lens; it is otherwise automatic. However, while the ISO options include 75 and 150, they do not have 100. Since that is the Fuji stock's rating, getting a good exposure requires thought. I've also found the light meter to not be very accurate. Focusing through the viewfinder is a little challenging for me personally, and I like to get closer to my subject than this lens allows (its focusing distance is a good few feet).  Hand-holding the camera results in blurry pictures sometimes, since the exposure may exceed 1/60 of a second.

On a tangent, another part of my frustration with this camera was my attempt at revealing the negative. Most people throw away the negative after peeling the print apart from it. It is coated in a matte black chemical, that can be removed with bleach. Perhaps I was too abrasive in this experiment, as the bleach completely destroyed the embedded image! (I still save all the negatives though.)


Not until I planted the Land 250 on a tripod, did I start to fully appreciate it. While there is no bulb setting or place to screw in a shutter release cable, I've recently discovered that I prefer experimenting with long and multiple exposures. It's not what this kind of camera was meant for, as it requires carefully holding down the red shutter button, and having a trusty light meter. But the colors and tones render so beautifully.