James's Camera Collection: Polaroid Land 95B Speedliner

Polaroid Land 95B Speedliner USA Instant Cameras
Polaroid Land 95B Speedliner
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1957-1961
Approx. original price: $94.50
Approx. street value: very low

The Model 95 "Speedliner" was actually Polaroid's first camera, called a Land Camera after its creator, Dr. Edwin Land. The original Model 95 came out in 1948; was upgraded to the 95A in 1954, and then tweaked in 1957 as the 95B. After this it was succeeded by the Model 100.

A website called The Land List has more information, but here are the basic specs: 130mm f/8.8, 3-element lens in a 4-speed shutter; flash X-sync through a proprietary bi-pin connector, M-sync through the standard ASA post; folding wire-frame viewfinder. The 95b uses standard EV exposure values rather than Polaroid's Light Value number system, which means you could use any light meter that was calibrated for EV, not just Polaroid-branded meters. Serial numbers beginning with L (you have to open the back and hunt for it) have upgraded seals for light-proofing. My SN starts with G.

Sometime I will shoot a picture directly comparing this with a more commonly-sized folding camera so you can see how huge this is. It is a monster, both in size and weight. Grab that leather strap on top and swing it, and you could put a serious crease in someone's skull and probably not even ding the camera body.

I've had this for quite some time. I am not much into Polaroids but I did think it would be nice to have one of the early versions. If I can get the 40-series rollfilm for it without having to take out a bank loan, I may try it out someday.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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