The Polaroid Color Pack II Camera

Polaroid Colorpack II CameraThe Color Pack II is a in the family of rigid plastic body cameras that were made as cheaper version than the Polaroid 100-400 series cameras that had folding bellows. This camera was first produced by Polaroid in 1969 and was discontinued in 1972. The original cost was right under $30 making it very affordable for the everyday consumer market. You can find these cameras relatively cheap online and in thrift or vintage shops today. They are somewhat old so their shape is always questionable.

Some of the first things to look for in a Polaroid Colorpack II Camera is if there is any corrosion in the battery compartment, which you can check by opening up the camera from the back. There is a metal latch that you can pop up that lets you open it up. Small amounts of corrosion may be cleanable, but I have seen batteries that explode or leak and then corrode entirely making them impossible to even take out of the camera from the holder. I would definitely pass on these if you see this is the case, they are unusable.  Since Colorpack II’s are also almost entirely made out of plastic I would stay away from ones that are cracked or chipped. Any small bump or fall can then cause the entire camera to come apart.

FP-100C Fujifilm - Color FIlm

FP-100C Fujifilm – Color Film

Fujifilm FP-3000B - Black and White Film

Fujifilm FP-3000B – Black and White Film

Once you have your camera it is (in my opinion)fairly simple to use.  First of all you need to add 2 AA batteries into the camera that go in holders right behind the lens. These control both the shutter and the ability for the flash to go off. The Colorpack can take both color and black and white pull apart film and you just have to change the switch at the top to either 75 for color or 3000 for black and white. Film that is readily available and still sold for this camera is made by Fujifilm. There is FP-100C, which is for color, and FP-3000B, which is for black and white.  As of now they have discontinued the black and white film though you can still find it. The FP-100C color film can be found on amazon.com at this link FUJIFILM FP-100C 3.25 X 4.25 Inches Professional Instant Color Film

This film is actually not your conventional Polaroid film that everyone first thinks of. It is pull apart film that you take a snapshot with and then you pull it out of the camera. You wait a designated amount of time depending on the temperature and film (there are guidelines on the film itself that tells you the recommended of time to wait), then you pull apart the pieces of the paper apart to reveal your picture on one part and the negative on the other. Be sure to let the image dry first before touching it so that you don’t smudge it while it is still wet.

Colorpack II Film Speed

Once you pick out your film you can load it into the back of the open camera with the plastic back facing out and the window with the paper facing in. It should fit snugly in the back with the paper tag facing towards the open end of the camera and will stick out one it is closed. Pull on the tag once you have closed the camera and you should then see the first white pull tag sticking out of the camera with the number 1. Each picture is tagged with the numbers 1-10 so you can know what picture you are on.

Once you have the film inside the camera all set up now you just have to think about your settings and location. There are not many dials on the camera and so the things that you have to worry about now are the focus, light management and if you believe you might need a flash cube. The manual focus is controlled by the metal ring around the front lens and it labeled in feet and goes from about 3.5 to infinity.  The number that you need will have to be lined up at the top of the lens in a little window like outline that is made by the plastic.  You have to guess the focus to be what ever distance that you believe you are from the subject that you are shooting. Next thing you have to adjust is the light management, which I generally leave at the standard.

Light and Dark Knob

Light and Dark Knob

You can move the dial to make the picture darker or lighter depending on your lighting. If you think you would want it to be darker because you are in blinding white sunlight then turn the dial a bit to the darker side. Otherwise you mainly use this dial after you have taken you first shot and then adjust it to compensate.

As I said above this camera does take FlashCubes and they are no longer being made. Not to fear though since there are still many around and they can easily still be found on sites like Ebay.com and you can find them in my Etsy Shop.  For the most part FlashCubes come in packs of 3 and each cube has 4 flashes for a total of 12 flashes in a pack. Each flash is one time use, so use them wisely. Flashcubes are generally needed the same way as when you would need a flash on your point and shoot camera or phone camera. If you are in a low light setting such as at night, indoors or you need a flash fill because you back lighting then you will probably need a flashcube. You can get away sometime with indoor settings without a flash cube it you set the camera on a steady surface and press the shutter button down for a few seconds. Just tell the subject not to more or the image will come out blurry. I think that the best pictures taken with this camera are outdoor ones on a bright sunny day so that you don’t have to worry about Flashcubes or settings as much.

Flashcubes

Flashcubes

Black and white images are nice as the shutter opens much quicker and you are able to action shots much better and everything has a romantic look to it. Color pictures are nice as well, but I find that if you do not have just the right setting you may wind up with images that either looked washed out or ones that are just too dark. Then you have to take another photo after adjusting the knobs and you still may not get it right. Although when you do have the right settings pictures are amazing! I have fixed up and resold this camera quite a bit and they are very popular I believe mostly due to its slick look and pretty blue faceplate. I have had many chances to work with this camera and have built up a good collection of photos taken with this particular model of  Polaroid camera. If you are ever in the market for purchasing one for yourself it is generally in stock in my Shop.  You can also find it at the direct link to it below:

Polaroid Colorpack II Camera

So now you should be all ready to go out into the world and take some amazing shots! I hope that this review has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything else to add. I am always interested in what others have to say.

Specifications

  • Film type: Peel-apart 100-Series Land Pack Films (discontinued) or Fujifilm FP-100C (still manufactured).
  • Lens: 114mm, f/9.2 3-element coated glass or uncoated plastic.
  • Shutter: Electronic; range about 10s-1/500s
  • Automatic exposure system similar to the folding pack cameras.
  • Accepts flashcubes such as Phillips PFC 4 which automatically rotate after each exposure
  • ISO 75 for colour prints, 3000 for black and white.
  • Settings for 75 and 3000 speed films. (fixed aperture for each)
  • Manual focus from 3 feet to infinity.
  • Viewfinder contains a red square to show where the head in a portrait at 5 feet should appear.
  • Has metal “spreader bars” instead of rollers.
  • Body is dark brown-green in colour, with usually a cyan stripe on the front.
  • Neck strap.
  • Cold clip.
  • Shutter requires two standard 1.5V AA batteries.
  • Specifications from Camerapedia.com

 


22 Comments

  1. Dana July 20, 2016

    Hi!

    I bought a Colorpack camera from your Etsy store back in December and have been super pleased with it (thank you for cleaning it and making sure it worked). I took it to Hawaii and took amazing picture using the Fujifilm FP-100C film. But now Fujifilm is discontinuing the film and I’m super disappointed 🙁 Do you know of any other brands of film (preferably cheaper) that I could use with my camera?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Adriana July 22, 2016

      Hi! Thanks you for your purchase.

      Unfortunately at this time there are no other companies that make the film. Fuji has been the only manufacturer for a long time, and I have not heard of any other companies stepping up to take their place.

      Adriana

      Reply
  2. Esteban Beltran May 9, 2016

    I recently got this camera at a thrift store, I’ve yet to test it, but I found that the batteries had leaked. one other thing is the flashcube holder that rotates may be broken, it just turns and doesn’t stop. Is it usable or should I open it and try to fix it? All help is appreciated, thanks.

    Reply
    • Adriana May 9, 2016

      You can usually clean out the battery section and still have the camera work. As for the flashcube holder I have no tried really fixing them. It may still work, but you will have to manually take out the cube and put it back with a fresh bulb facing out. I also clean all the contacts beforehand just incase.

      Reply
  3. dam Bastien January 26, 2016

    Hi, thanks for this very informative post! I bought a Colorpack a while ago and it was slightly corroded so I cleaned it up. Now I took 3 pictures on a color film, I did not manage to get the film the right way into the camera from the beginning so I had to open it up after taking the first shot and due to circumstances I also waited a couple of hours before pulling it out. It was blue/white. The next two, which I pulled directly out of the camera are black. Also,for the first two, the camera was on ‘3000’ mode instead of ’75’. I guess the shutter did not operate? My question is: is the first one not black because I opened-up the camera after shooting? And if I open the camera now to clean again the battery compartment, will my remaining 7 pics be lost? And should it work after cleaning the battery compartment thoroughly?
    thanks,
    Bastien

    Reply
    • Adriana January 26, 2016

      Hi,

      So yes the film turned a blue color because it must have been exposed to light when you opened it. If the camera was on the 3000 mode for color film, then the shutter was opened up to small to actually get enough light in. If you want to open up the camera again with the film inside, go to a dark room that has no light. Like a bathroom or closet. You should take out the film in the dark and place it inside a box so it will continue to not be in the light. When you are done cleaning the camera place the film back in the same manner. The film will be ruined and come out all white if it is exposed to light.

      Hope this helps.

      Adriana

      Reply
  4. Peter Cheng October 20, 2015

    Hi, You can use electronic flashes for Polaroid Colorpack II if you find a Polaroid Strobe adapter 169. I used it for Polaroid Super Shooter.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/77417258@N05/15585405522

    Reply
  5. Rongomai Grbic-Hoskins September 18, 2015

    Hi! I’ve had this Polaroid Colorpack II for quite a while now. It was a family friends and I decided to get some film and see how it worked. I’ve used a whole pack of film over some time and the last photos I took started to turn yellow once I had pulled them apart, do you think this is just due to the fact the film is old? also, often when I pull the image out from the camera there is a lot of liquid that comes out of the film and onto the white tab. Is this normal? I was wondering if you also had any tips for cleaning the camera/lense.

    Thanks,
    Rongomai

    Reply
    • Adriana September 18, 2015

      Rongomi,

      I’m happy to try to help you. I sometimes do have photos come out with a yellow tint. I am not really sure what causes it though. It might be because they are coming out a little bit overexposed and if your film has been sitting in a hot room for too long. I generally store my film in the fridge to keep it fresh. As for there being alot of chemicals coming out it is normal for a small amount to spill out when you pull the picture out, but it should not be excessive and running onto the next white tab. The slider bars may need to be cleaned. If you want to clean the lens I would just take a cloth like one that you use to clean glasses and add a little but of alcohol and swab the outside of the lens. If you want to reach the inside part you can cover up the light dark sensor and open up the back. The shutter should stay open long enough for you to swab the inside with a cotton bud.

      Hope this helps.

      Adriana

      Reply
  6. Ella B August 29, 2015

    I just got a colorpack II instant camera. I just put new batteries in it, FP-100c film and no picture is coming out when I push down on the button

    Reply
    • Adriana August 30, 2015

      The colorpack does not eject the film. You have to pull out the film yourself. There should be a tag in the side that says 1 on it if you have loaded it correctly. Once you take a photo you then pull on the tab, wait about a minute and then peel the film apart. The next tab should then say 2.

      Reply
  7. Becky Wooldridge August 27, 2015

    I’m trying to figure out a Polaroid land camera I bought at an estate sale to use at my daughter’s wedding. When I took a pic, it came out blank/black. Are there some parts missing I might not be aware of? Any tips are appreciated.

    Reply
    • Adriana August 27, 2015

      If your pics are coming out black that means that the shutter isn’t opening. You might need to clean the contacts where the batteries go as old cameras sometimes have had the batteries explode inside.

      Reply
  8. Tyler August 8, 2015

    So I’ve got this camera and the only issue i have is that about half the time, there’s a think yellow bar across the middle of the picture. it’s about an inch thick or so. I’m curious if it’s mabe an issue with the spreader bars and how I might be able to fix it.

    Reply
    • Adriana August 8, 2015

      That does sound like an issue with them, but I am not sure how to fix it. Maybe just trying to give the rollers and the area around where you pull the film through a good clean with alcohol.

      Reply
  9. Pat June 7, 2015

    Hi! I was given a Polaroid Colorpack II and the batteries were shot and leaked a bit. Cleaned it up and put in fresh batteries and viola, the shutter worked! Only problem was it acted like it was in bulb mode, open but would take a few seconds to close if it would close at all. Cleaned the contacts and inadvertently, reversed the polarity of the batteries putting them back in. It works just fine now. Any ideas on the problem??
    Thanks!
    Pat

    Reply
    • Adriana June 7, 2015

      Hi Pat,
      I have not had this problem before at least having the polarity reverse. Sometimes I do have where the light sensor is off and that causes the shutter to open a wonky speeds. If possible you have to take it apart and adjust the sensor. Sorry probably not much help.

      Reply
  10. Lizzie May 4, 2015

    Hi, I recently got a Polaroid Instant 30 land camera, Would the film be compatible with this as they are ver similar in make?

    Reply
    • Adriana May 4, 2015

      Hi Lizzie,

      This camera is indeed compatible with Fuji Film as well. It can take the FP-100C film which is still readily available from places such as amazon.com

      Adriana

      Reply
  11. Aloysius McCreedy September 5, 2013

    Also, does this camera have problems when you pull Fujifilm film?

    Reply
    • Adriana September 5, 2013

      Aloysius,

      Thanks for your post and questions!! Happy that someone reads my blog 🙂 Anyways as far as I know electronic flashes where not really made for any of the pack cameras except for the models that were like the such as the Propack and EE100. But there are some individuals out there that have made adapters for the folding pack film cameras to take shoe flashes. I have seen them on ebay and on a website as you can see below:

      Electronic Flash Adapter

      http://filmphotographyproject.com/store/fpp-new-268-electronic-flash-holder-bracket

      I believe that if you are mechanically inclined and have some knowledge of electronics this can easily be done at home, but I have yet to try it out. Unfortunately this does not work as well for the plastic pack film cameras, and I am not sure I have seen any solutions to make them be able to take an electronic flash.

      As I said before you can look into getting a ProPack or EE100 that has a special flash that was made for it. I am actually selling one currently in my shop:

      https://www.etsy.com/listing/125967965/polaroid-camera-propack-w-flash-and-1?ref=shop_home_active

      Or the other solution might be to try to find a Keystone 60 Second EverFlash Instant Camera. Though this camera was made by Keystone it was an instant camera that used the Polaroid peel apart film so you can still use Fujifilm on it. The great thing about this camera was that it had a built in electronic flash that was powered by 3 AAA batteries. I sold one not too long and was sad later that I didn’t keep it. You can see the camera at the below link

      https://www.etsy.com/transaction/122230729

      I hope that this helps you in your search. As far as I have experienced Fujifilm works great with all of the pack film cameras both folding and plastic and is what I use exclusively(I have stopped trusting expired Polaroid film).

      Adriana

      Reply
  12. Aloysius McCreedy September 5, 2013

    Hi, I have enjoyed reading this piece about the Polaroid Colorpack camera. I have an old 250 with the battery conversion and a modern flash. It is a great camera, and I enjoy using it. However, I only have one peel apart camera and I really need a good back up, though I do not want to pay a lot. My 250 was quite expensive and I really do ot have much money to spare.
    I have been interested in getting one of these plastic Polaroid cameras because I am not entirely comfortable with cameras that have bellows. Many of these cameras are old, and wear and tear over time would eventuay cause light leaks and the bellows are not easy to replace. My question to you is whether an electronic flash can be used with hese plastic Polaroid cameras. Even with the 250, indoor images are often dark and blurry and I find Polaroid film needs plenty of light to expose well. I know you can get flashcubes but the supply is finite and I think replaceable electronic flash is more versatile and can make these cameras more useful in indoor or low light settings.
    I think if electronic flashes can be added to these older Polaroid plastic cameras, over time these models may become more sought after than the older folding models because the bellows will eventually fail on all those. Plastic encased cameras are sure a much safer bet. I would be very interested in hearing your views on this subject.

    Regards

    Aloysius
    London UK

    Reply

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