Let There Be Light!

An interesting phenomenon that occurs in many Polaroid Automatic Land Cameras over the years is what is commonly known as “Dark Print Syndrome”. For some reason, this seems to impact the 200 Series Land Cameras the most. The author has read all kinds of theories, including a capacitor in the exposure circuit that changes tolerance over time, to a couple of trim potentiometers that regulate shutter timing. In any event, I have found that sometimes you do, in dark environments, turn the L/D adjustment up a notch. Polaroid photography does amazing things in light, as long as you are mindful of the limitations of the electric eye. For example, if you expose in direct sunlight, chances are you have no image on your print. But if done peoperly, the results can be spectacular. This weekend, I played with some color photography. The 268 Flashgun was used, and the L/D adjustment turned one notch towards lighten. Here is my son, putting together a Curious George puzzle-

This one was taken in the morning, using only available light, from my bay window in the living room belind me. This one with the Fuji 3000 speed B&W material, and Dad’s 230-

Personally, I love the way these cameras expose. But I would love to hear from others, particularly those who have shot with the same camera(s) maybe since the 60’s or 70’s, and have noticed a gradual darkening in exposure over the years.

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4 thoughts on “Let There Be Light!

  1. Funny you should mention this! I just got my Polaroid Automatic 100 yesterday and I too find it is exposing dark. With my 3000B film I found I had to turn the knob all the way to lighten so I’m going to try putting some ND material over the electric eye to see if I can get it to open up a bit more.

    With 100C film I find my electronic flash is working! It takes some tinkering and the results are still someone unpredictable given the nature of the electric eye and the fact that it is really M synced for flashbulbs rather than X synced but it works better than I could have hoped.

    So far it is a ton of fun, I’ve gone through the 3000B and 100C packs already since getting it yesterday.

    Oh and my son loves tie dyed shirts too! Here is a shot last night with the 100 and 100C:

  2. Harry- for the lind of photography I do, you can see, I tend to like that look- I think slightly underexposed, as opposed to overexposed, really does work out nicely. Congratulations on your Automatic 100! The 240 is basically the same model, only slightly updated.

    -A

  3. Thanks! It really seems to have everything. I find it was with great foresight that they have more film settings than films were available at the time, I think just 3000B and 75C were around at first. The 100 really has everything I wanted (well, aside from getting a fully manual model), 3-element glass lens, tripod mount, scene selector, 2-window finder (I actually prefer my RF and VF separate).

    I like dark, moody B&W or deep saturated color shots too but it seems most prefer them brighter.

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