Value of Old Polaroid Cameras

By Rebekah Schilperoort

Thousands of old Polaroid cameras are still being bought and sold. Here are some tips to help determine the value of old Polaroid instant cameras.

The Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 first became available to consumers in 1948 with pioneering instant-camera technology. Invented by Polaroid’s co-founder scientist Edwin H. Land, the new technology made it possible to take a photo and develop it in under a minute. Since then, Polaroid has produced a variety of models, from the best-selling Polaroid OneStep Land camera in 1977, to the most recent Polaroid Cube+ Wi-Fi Lifestyle Action camera.

Polaroid Camera Types

There are three primary types of Polaroid cameras, each featuring various models.

Roll Film, which allowed the photo to develop inside the camera, was used by the original Polaroid cameras, though the film was discontinued in the 1970s. The most notable instant camera using Roll Film is the Model One Hundred.

Pack Film came later, delivering that instant gratification of seeing the photo develop right before your eyes outside of the camera. The method includes peeling away a negative strip to expose the picture transferred to a positive sheet. Model 185 is the most coveted of Polaroid cameras that use this type of film.

Released with the SX-70 model in 1972, Integral Film cameras are the type that most people are familiar with today. All the necessary elements to expose and develop the photo are within the film itself and delivered into the signature Polaroid frame.

How to Determine the Value of a Polaroid Camera

Assess the condition of the camera. Having all the original documents and packaging—especially if it’s still factory sealed—increases the value of a Polaroid. Even if the camera isn't in working condition, it may still be valuable to interior designers or collectors who are willing to shell out some money to add it to their stash of vintage cameras or to bring a classic touch to a room's decor.

The value of Polaroid cameras decreased after 2008 when Polaroid announced it would discontinue making its instant film. However, a group of former Polaroid employees purchased an old Polaroid factory to continue to manufacture instant film, leading to ongoing demand for these classic cameras. Called the Impossible Project, this venture, along with Fujifilm, are now the only instant film manufacturers.

Range of Prices

There are several websites in which you can buy and sell Polaroid cameras at a variety of prices. You also might get lucky at a thrift store or garage sale. Amazon, eBay and Etsy are good resources to determine the going rate for many popular models.

You can find the vintage Polaroid One Step camera in “new” condition for between $125 and $399, and as low as $15 used. Another popular model, the Polaroid Sun 600 LMS, sells for anywhere between $125 and $170 new, and down to $11 secondhand.

Some of the most valuable Polaroids are the oldest folding, leather-covered models, such as the Model One Hundred—it can go for as much as $1,000. Model 180, 185, 190 and 195 are also sought-after by professional photographers who’ll pay between $400 and $500 for a good one.