I met Mat Marrash at the PDN Photo Expo in NYC in 2010. He was already a listener of The Film Photography Podcast and frequently sent e-mails to the FPP google account offering comments and helpful hints. A lifetime student of photography and all around tech junkie, Mat switched from digital to film and hasn't looked back. In 2011, Mat joined me as co-host on the Film Photography Podcast and I recently found out that he owns a Polaroid 420 folding camera. When I asked Mat about his experiences with his 420, he sent me the following response:
What's not to love about the Polaroid 420 Land Camera? For starters, this baby runs pretty cheap, I scored mine for a cool $5.00US. It only needs a fresh battery and some film, which you can now get both at the FPP store (as well as your own 420!). And with film, you have a surprising amount of options available! You can shoot:
- Fuji FP-100c and 3000b (100b BW if you can find it) - gorgeous & saturated
- Expired Polaroid 668, 669, 108 (blue/green shifts and edgy)
- Impossible repackaged Chocolate, Blue, and Sepia - cool, creative, and sharp
Once you're geared up and ready to shoot, all you have to do is fold it out, focus using its rangefinder, compose, and shoot. For creative control, you can adjust exposure value on the fly from +2 to -1.5 stops. Strobists, even you can rejoice, this thing has a PC flash input!
Yes, the front element is plastic, this shouldn't come as a surprise. If you're looking for the utmost in sharpness, look for an earlier Land 100 or consult The Land List for a better listing of models that contain glass. Otherwise, enjoy the soft, swirly corners this will produce up close. Pictorialism is coming back in a big way, you can be ahead of the curve!
If you're looking for a camera that's fun, gives you a print right on the scene, and is a real crowd-pleaser, look no further than the pack-film cameras, namely the 420. For myself, this camera is my goto for parties, family events, and just plain fun in an instant. There's 40+ million marooned Polaroid cameras out there, give one a home and a fresh pack of film today.
Images by Mat Marrash
Mat Marrash's website
FPP Polaroid 420 Automatic Land Camera blog series:
- April-Lea and her Polaroid 420
FPP Episode Episode 36 - June 1, 2011 features a spotlight on the Polaroid Automatic 420.
Purchase your own Polaroid 420 Camera at the FPP Store!