From the outside, the Polaroid PZ2001 Power Zoom 35mm film camera is an attractive camera. It is a turn of the century (late 20th/early 21st century) camera constructed out of bright blue plastic and it has an attractively funky look. The camera has automatic film advance and rewinding. It also has a zoom 35 to 70mm lens. The camera turns on via a slider on the back that lets you choose between on and a night mode. The camera can decide whether on not to fire the built in flash, but doesn’t appear to have any automatic or manual focusing capabilities.
Shooting with this camera provided some insights into the decline of film and the decline of Polaroid as a brand. First, this camera is a Polaroid, but it doesn’t provide instant photos. Second, this camera is slow to respond. When you press the shutter button, the camera can take nearly a second to respond. Both of these issues are unforgivable in a Polaroid camera. Traditionally, Polaroid products were about fun and instant gratification. The Polaroid PZ2001 35mm film camera clearly doesn’t provide either. However, it should be noted that this test was conducted using a well-worn $5.00 thrift store camera. This camera might have worked a little better in brand new condition.
Of course, pictures are the true test of any camera. I took one roll of ISO 200 film from a major drugstore and gave this camera a try. My local drugstore developed the film in an hour and put the images directly on a CD. I was pretty cavalier in my film usage and my results were a mixed bag. Several of my shots were blurry because I thought the camera malfunctioned and moved during the shot. Another few shots were messed up because the morning sun caused a flare or reflection in the shot. Finally several shots turned out well because I braced the camera well, composed a good shot in the viewfinder, and didn’t make any abrupt movements.
Some of my shots were obvious user errors and I wonder now if I had the camera set to night mode for other shots. That could have caused blurriness if it left the shutter open longer. However,this camera was a little sluggish and the zoom was slow and loud. Part of the fun of shooting film is the tactile reward of a shutter that goes click. It was fun to see what this old Polaroid would yield, but my Canon SureShot Z135 takes better pictures.
Overall, I was not impressed with the Polaroid PZ2000 35mm film camera. While it was interesting to grab it back from the dustbin of history, I’ll probably release it back into the wild. Perhaps some kid will find it and put it to good use.
More from this contributor:
Six Reasons to Try a Film Camera – Again
Vintage Camera Review: Kodak Retinette 1A 35mm Film Camera