Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Polaroid Land 360 Camera

I actually won this camera on a Goodwill auction.  Unfortunately, they took a week to ship it out, but it's finally here.  The 360 was unique because it was the only non-professional Land camera that had an electronic flash.  Now, it was a proprietary system, not the same as modern electronic flashes.  Mine did not come with the flash unit, but I'm ok with that, as I plan to shoot very fast film in existing light anyway.  The other unique thing I mentioned previously, is the aperture goes all the way to f/60.  So, I'm hoping that will be enough to allow me to shoot ISO 3200 film in daylight.  Testing will show how well it will work out.  Most of the Polaroid Land cameras just had plastic lenses.  However, some models, including this one, had a 114 mm f/8.8 3 element glass lens.



As expected, the battery and terminals were corroded.  I cleaned the compartment up with some vinegar.  I had planned on this problem, and found a work around, as the batteries are now obsolete.  The camera needs 3 volts of power.  This model actually used two separate batteries, one for the shutter/magic eye, and the other for the electronic timer.  Now, back in it's days, the electronic timer was probably a handy little feature, as Polaroid film development had to be timed accurately.  Today, not so much.  The Fujifilm is self-terminating, meaning you don't have to time the exposure eactly.  When it's done, it will stop developing, even if I don't pull the picture off for hours.  So, I don't care about the timer.  However, this is not a manual camera.  So, I need to power the shutter in order for it to function at all.  So, I got a $1.19 AAA battery holder from Radio Shack, which holds two batteries giving me... you guessed it... 3 volts.  I did not know which wires went to which system in the camera.  There were two white (positive) wires and a black and a brown (negative) wire.  Well, I had a 50/50 chance, so I guessed the black wire. Wrong!  Playing the odds never seems to work for me.  Regardless, I separated them and soldered in the brown and white wires.  I don't know what speeds they are, but the shutter is opening and using different times for different light.  So, it looks promising.  Once I put some film in, I will know how accurate it really is.




The Zeis viewfinder appears to be off a little bit vertically.  I'm not exactly sure about the horizontal alignment, as there is no distance scale.  I am hoping that it is close, but may have to find some tracing paper to use for a makeshift focusing ground glass to test it further.  And the viewfinder should be adjustable, I'll just have to figure out how to do it.  Other than these few details, the camera is relatively clean, including the rollers.  I'll give it a quick once-over for cosmetic reasons, but I am hopeful that this camera will be a user, not just a decoration for the shelf.



I mentioned that it did not come with the special flash that it used.  Well, it also did not come with a manual, which isn't a big deal.  But, the one that is a bummer, is that the cold clip is missing as well.  The cold clip is basically two thin, flat pieces of aluminum that you would keep in your pocket.  Then, when you take a picture in cold conditions, you would put the film in the already warm cold clip, and put it back in your jacket to develop in more favorable temperatures.  I was hoping the cold clip would be there.  I may have to find one on a cheap Polaroid for future use.





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