Polaroid Automatic 230 Overview

Over the past few days I have been posting some Polaroid photos taken with a Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera. For those of you not familiar with older Polaroid cameras, I thought I’d explain exactly what this camera is.

The Polaroid Automatic 230 Land Camera is a folding pack camera in theย  “200 series” available from 1967 to 1969. It has a plastic body with a 114mm f/8.8 glass lens. The camera use 100 series peel apart pack film which is 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ in size. The actual image size is 2 7/8″ x 3 3/4″ centered on the frame.

The shutter is electronic with speeds from 10 seconds – 1/1200. There is a dial on the lens for exposure compensation of -1 stop to +2 stops.

Focusing is achieved by using a rangefinder that is separate from the viewfinder. The viewfinder assembly is on a hinge that allows for it to be folded down when storing the camera inside its case.

To focus, a lever attached to the bellows is moved left or right and there is a pictogram indicating which way to move for closer focus (a man) or infinity (a man standing in front of a mountain).

Film speed is chosen using a dial under the lens. The available speeds are 75, 150, 300 and 3000. So if a film such as 672 (ISO 400)ย  is used, some exposure compensation is required. The yellow button under the lens assembly is the “scene selector” which adjusts the aperture.

Recommendations for which scene to use are listed on the top of the lens assembly for each of the film speeds and a yellow square shows the currently selected scene.

Numbered buttons indicate the sequence for taking a shot. Step 1 is focus and step 2 is press the shutter.

Step 3 is reset the shutter for the next shot. In reality, this is done before step 1 of course.

Finally step 4 is remove the film from the camera by pulling on the paper tab.

Examples Shots

The Land List
Option8 Polaroid FAQ

31 thoughts on “Polaroid Automatic 230 Overview

  1. Dave Post author

    Unfortunately, this camera does not take the new PX film from The Impossible Film. That new film is “integral film” which is used in SX-70 and 600 type cameras.

    The Automatic 230 takes “peel apart” pack film. To be confusing, that film is also called 600 series film but it is completely different from the 600 intergral film.

    You can read more about the camera and film on the Land List (http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landdcam-pack.htm)

    Unfortunately, the 600 peel apart pack film is no longer made but the good news is that you can use Fuji pack film like FP-100C, FP-100B and FP-3000B

  2. Camera

    I just bought one of these from a yard sale for 5 dollars and was wondering what battery it takes, where I can get one, and where can I get the peel back polaroids for this camera? Any help would be awesome!

  3. Dave Post author

    The camera takes a No. 531 (4.5 volt) battery. I am not sure if you can get these anymore but there are equivalents. Search Google for “PX19 battery” and you will find places that sell it. Read more about the batteries at http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landbatt.htm .

    Getting Polaroid branded film will be difficult since it is no longer made but the Fuji pack film (FP-100C, FP-100B and FP-3000B) is readily available. Online stores like Freestyle Photo, BH Photo, Adorama, & Amazon sell it.

  4. Brittany

    I’m a photography fanatic! I found this camera with my grandfathers things after he passed away.

    This was VERY helpful! I bought a new battery for it and I’m in the process of getting film. I’m extremely excited to use it for the first time! Awesome article!


  5. wayne scharf

    the battery for this camera is a Radio Shack item; you will have better luck ordering it on the web than trying to get it from their store. Several other web merchants can provide it.

  6. Lisa

    I have one of these cameras that belonged to my Father in law, out of curiosity how much would it be worth and how can you tell if it still works(if I can get a battery for it)? It appears to be in good shape. Thank you

  7. Dave Post author

    Not sure how much these are much. There are a few on eBay for around $30.

    To test it once you have a battery, you can try taking a shot in low light. The shutter should stay open for an extended period of time. (I have film in my camera at the moment so I can’t check that this test is valid).

  8. Jenifer

    Thanks so very much for this post. I’ve got my grandfather’s 230 Land Camera, still in the case with manual and attachments, and one photo left to shoot from the last film cartridge he put in probably 35 or 40 years ago. (I’ll have to see if I get anything from it)

    Thanks to you, I’ve just ordered the right battery & film to get it working again, and signed up for a workshop next month.




  10. Samie

    I just got this camera from my Gran, it was her 2nd husbands before he passed away. I have the case and peel backs for it. A little cleaning and maybe a battery and it should be in tip top shape. Anyone think that the value of this camera will improve over the years?

  11. Frank

    I found two of these camera’s at my mother’s house. She had passed away and I was in the attic and found on in the original box w/foam and original sales slip. I think I will keep it.

  12. erica

    I found one of these cameras in Feb at a yard sale. I don’t think it was ever used. It is in the case with EVERYTHING. When i say everything, I mean it. It has a box of flashes that were never used & and all of the paperwork. It even has the cards to fill out for enlargements. I bought it for $10 ๐Ÿ™‚ I found a few online in the same condition that were selling for $150. I will never sell mine. Thanks for the battery info. I can’t wait to make some photos ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. nestor alicea

    I have one of these cameras its in great shape and its in its case but i have read they have been bought for 5 dollars at garage sales? 20 dollars on ebay? What is it really worth?

  14. Dave Post author

    It is difficult to say how much these cameras are worth these days. I can’t remember how much I paid for this a few years ago but it probably wasn’t more than $40. I do see them go on eBay for between $10 and $30.

  15. ProtoWhalePig

    I got one for a couple bucks. It’s so much fun, and easy to get in working condition. I got a battery online – batterymart.com I think – for $11 or so, and the Fuji 100 and 3000 both work well. The framing is a little sketchy, so be careful. I often end up with too much foreground. Remember you can adjust the exposure comp, but you’ll have to experiment to see what works. If you nail focus and exposure, you get beautiful tonality and a small but sharp pic. Just be prepared to drop a couple bucks on film to figure out what works.

  16. MK

    I just bought this camera recently off the web and I am having trouble removing my film from the camera. I thought it had something to do with the battery at first but I replaced the battery and still cannot get it out. I am following all the steps correctly and nothing. My camera also came with a flash and bulbs which I plugged in and that does not go off either. HELP!

  17. Dave Post author


    To remove the film there should be some paper tabs sticking out. You can kind of see this in my step #4 photo. They will be numbered 10, 9, 8 etc showing you the number of shots you have left.

    You then pull the paper tab out in one horizontal motion. When you do this the film is pulled through the rollers and the developer is spread across the film. As this is purely mechanical, it doesn’t have anything to do with the batteries.

    If the tabs aren’t visible then perhaps the film wasn’t loaded correctly. When you load it there is a black piece of paper that needs to be pulled out first. This then pulls the first tab into position.

    Is there a paper tab visible?

  18. Didi

    Thank you so much this was so helpful I had no idea how to use this camera i been looking for batteries and film for it since last year good thing i found this blog ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Kathleen

    Fujifilm FP-100C for colour photos.. I just bought this camera at a thrift store, have the film, waiting on a battery and then I am going to shoot off some pics.

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  21. John Schofield

    Brooklyn Battery Works in the USA supply the correct battery for Polaroid 230 cameras – Exell – A19PX V19PX 531 – 4.5V Alkaline Battery – current cost is USD 22.97 plus postage to the UK. Payable by credit card acceptable. Correct m/f connections at each end.

  22. Dave Post author

    Not sure – it has been a while since I last checked but probably no more than $40 these days in a thrift store.

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