Polaroid Land Camera 185

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This article refers to the original Polaroid-manufactured 185 Land Camera; see Polaroid Land Camera 185 (2000) for the Japan-market limited edition model; it has a non-folding viewfinder and the model designation at the bottom of its lensboard.

The Polaroid Land Camera 185 is one of the scarcest models in Polaroid's series of professional-level folding packfilm cameras, which also included the Polaroid Land Camera 180, 190 and 195. All of these superficially resemble the consumer Polaroid 100-400 series, designed to shoot 3¼×4¼" peel-apart instant film. The desirable features of the 185 are a better grade Mamiya 114mm f/5.6 - f/64 lens, Copal shutter with speeds of a 1 to 1/500 sec. plus B mode. The viewfinder uses an excellent single-window viewfinder /rangefinder provided by Zeiss Ikon.

What makes this model a unique rarity is that unlike the 180, 190, and 195 (which require the use of a separate handheld light meter), the front panel of the 185 includes a CdS photocell, with a match-needle indicator on the back of the lensboard. The lens has a ring that can select from 75 or 3000 ISO meter setting. Flash sync modes can be changed with the M, X, V knob. M for flashbulb X for electronic flash and V for self-timer. The sync connector is on the left hand side of the lens board. The Model 185 may never have been put into regular production. The Land List gives an estimate that 50 to 200 were made[1], perhaps as gifts for those close to Polaroid founder Edwin Land. McKeown's says that some were sold, "only in Japan."[2]. The scarcity of this model makes definitive information hard to come by.


  1. Polaroid Model 185 (vintage and 2000 versions) at the Land List
  2. McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). Page 795.