A Polaroid Automatic 210 Land Camera is the subject of the latest entries in the 50with50 series. A photo of an old camera taken with a much newer camera. (The 50with50 project is a series of 50 photos taken with a 50mm prime lens.)
Because of my love of photography, I am sometimes offered old cameras from various people. “I’m just going to throw this away, but I thought of you. Do you want it?” Sure! Why not? (Note: Laura would probably prefer that people stop offering me old cameras!) Of course, I never really have much intention of actually using the old cameras that I have. But I think they are pretty cool, and I would hate to see them just be thrown away.
However, this Polaroid camera is a little more special than most. This one belonged to my grandmother. As we were going through her stuff after she passed away, I ended up with this one. And I am certainly glad to have it, partly because it is a cool old camera, and partly because of who owned it.
The Polaroid Automatic 210 Land Camera was sold between 1967 and 1969. And while that in some ways is relatively close to the time in which we live, this camera seems like a throwback to the really old days of photography with its pull-out lens section and collapsing bellows between the main section and the lens.
In many ways, it reminds me of another old camera that I have, although that other camera was made by Eastman Kodak and not Polaroid. And being a Polaroid, this camera used instant film packs instead of more traditional film. But the look of the Polaroid camera is reminiscent of those old Kodak cameras, mainly because of its bellows and lens section.
In this side view, you can get a better look at the bellows between the two sections. And also the tab that you would pull to remove the photo to wait for it to develop after you have taken it. That was part of the “magic” and the fun of instant cameras.
And speaking of fun, I do find a bit of fun irony whenever I take a photo of an old camera with a new camera. It is sort of a “past meets the future” kind of moment.
Just imagine if you told someone back when this camera was new that one day cameras would no longer use film of any kind. Instead, the cameras of the future would save the photos to a memory card. To which the person of the past would say, “What’s a memory card?” I guess we have made a lot of technological innovations in the last 50 years. And it is a good thing that they have been gradual innovations instead of happening all at once. Because those kinds of changes at one time would have been quite a shock to everyone.
But then the modern cameras today do have shorter names than Polaroid Automatic 210 Land Camera, so that is definitely an improvement.
Old Is Cool
Many times, we have a tendency to dismiss old things as not having that much value. Take for example the camera above. Modern digital cameras can take much clearer, high resolution photos without using any film. But some people still use the exact model of the camera above, just because it can be fun, if you can find the film packets for it.
We do the same thing with people sometimes. Older people are not as useful because they cannot do as much as the younger people can. Or they are not as in touch with technology as younger people are. Or they are not as interesting as younger people are.
However, I have often found the opposite of that last statement to be true. Older people are very interesting. And they have lots of stories to tell.
Just in our church over the past many years, I have learned all sorts of interesting things about some of our older members, some of whom are no longer with us. One worked with Johnny Cash in a factory before the Man in Black made it big. Another was on the police detail assigned to protect Elvis Presley. One was on a weekly local television show. Still another was in the band of one of the biggest country music stars of the time. One was in the military detail that protected United States Presidents. And one man who passed away many years ago was once considered one of the fastest men alive, and he would have competed in the 1940 Olympics, except that they were cancelled due to World War II.
On top of all of that (and many more stories that I probably don’t even know), we have had many who fought in wars and were heroic because of their actions during those times. We have doctors and nurses and teachers and innovators and entrepreneurs, who have all done some amazing things. And so many of them can tell you all kinds of stories of how God has blessed them and taken care of them in good times and in bad times. But you don’t know it until you talk to them.
Older things (and people) still have value. Strike up a conversation sometime, and you will be surprised at what all you might learn.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. - Psalm 92:12-15
About the Photos
As I am sure you have figured out, these were all taken with a 50mm lens, as is typical for the 50with50 series. I thought this camera would be an excellent subject for that series, and these turned out just like I wanted them to.
I gave the photos a slightly aged look, because that suits the subject well in my opinion. That worked well with the tight focus from the 50mm lens, and I also reduced the color saturation somewhat while keeping the contrast rather strong.
Also, if you look at the lens in the second photo, you can see me there. Sort of an Alfred Hitchcock cameo.
Maybe I should find some other surface for photos besides the old wooden TV tray that I used. Sorry if it is distracting.
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: SonyFE 50mm f/1.8
Date: May 18, 2020
Location: Home, Williston, Tennessee