The Land List -- Serial Number Info

Information about Polaroid Camera Serial Numbers

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NOTES: Right now, this is mostly a 'placeholder' page pending further information about serial number patterns and production quanities. See also the Serial Number Data Gathering Project page. The information presented here at this time is primarily based on observation and is very incomplete. If anyone knows the 'official' answers or has developed more comprehensive theories on S/N patterns, feel free to let me know...

Rollfilm Cameras:

The serial numbers of rollfilm cameras (except the Model 20 Swinger and its variants) all appear to have been issued sequentially according to product line/category.

Here's a typical rollfilm camera serial number and how it breaks down:

    Camera line
    identifier (if present)

              ^ ^^^^^^^
             /     \
           /         \
 Factory ready         Sequentially-issued serial number
 for 3000-speed
 film (if present)

Now for the details:

The 'L' prefix, if present, signifies that the camera was issued from the factory with a shutter and back having the necessary light seals to be suitable for the then-new 3000 ASA high-speed film. [NOTE: While the electric-eye cameras (850/900/J66/J33) all lack the 'L' prefix, all of these were designed for use with 3000-speed film.]

The original Model 95 has no camera line identifier letter code.

The actual serial numbers were evidently issued consecutively within these categories (i.e. the serial numbers on the 110B start at the point where the 110A left off). While the original Model 95 is still a "Speedliner" camera, its serial number has no identifying letter, and the serial number ordering starts over again with the 95A.

Therefore, if one were to gather the serial numbers from a large enough sample of cameras, then one could get a pretty good idea of just how many of each camera were produced. Please see the Serial Number Data Gathering Project page for a way to help with just this sort of endeavor.

Where's the serial number on my camera, you ask?

Most rollfilm Polaroid cameras have their serial number behind the leveling foot on the camera bed, as in illustration A. This is true of the 80-series Highlander cameras too. Look here first if you're not sure where to look. Just unfold the foot and see if the number is stamped on its back.

The original Model 110 Pathfinder has its serial number inside the back of the camera, as shown in illustration B. You can see it by opening the picture door, and it is simply stamped into the enamel-coated metal.

The Model 900 (but evidently not the 850) and the J66 have their numbers on the inside face of the picture door, as in illustration C. The J33's number is on the inner back of the camera near the hinge of the picture door.

Packfilm Cameras:

These numbers appear to be much like those of the rollfilm cameras, except that there is a two-letter camera identification code, and there do not appear to be any special prefixes to indicate special capabilities. The the numeric portion of the code appears to have been issued in simple sequential order, but the 'starting' number may not necessarily be the same for all models.

However, by gathering serial numbers from a larger pool of cameras, perhaps a further pattern can be found. Please see the Serial Number Data Gathering Project page if you'd like to help contribute numbers from your cameras. Thanks!

Where's the serial number on my camera, you ask?

All of the 'classic' folding automatic pack cameras have their serial number stamped near the tab slot. If you open the back of the camera part way, you should see the number just inside where the tab slot flap (marked with the numeral 4) rests.

SX-70 Cameras:

The encoding of the serial numbers on these cameras is considerably more complex than the roll- and pack-film cameras, but includes much more information about the camera.

Thanks go to William Sommerwerck, a visitor to this site, who sent me information about the serial number pattern for the folding SX-70 cameras.

I've taken this algorithm, enhanced it slightly, and created this interactive SX-70 Serial Number Calculator. Try it out!

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Last updated 05/28/2001 by Marty Kuhn

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