Polaroid SX-70

Thanks for checking out the first installment of the Analog-Blog.  This will be a space for me to talk about interesting, old, film cameras I’ve been collecting for years, usually in conjunction with something automotive.  My first subject is a super-cool camera that is experiencing a bit of a resurgence of late.

The Polaroid SX-70 is a folding, single-lens-reflex (SLR), instant camera.  It was introduced by Edwin Land in 1972 and was the first Polaroid that used the cartridge-style film pack that we associate with Polaroid to this day.  The original, featured here, has manual focus, auto-exposure and is powered by batteries contained in the film pack.  Personally, I think it is a great piece of design and I love that it is an SLR.

Polaroid film cartridges went out of production in the early 2000s and were recently brought back (though with different chemistry) by The Impossible Project, which has evolved into Polaroid Originals.  There is a learning curve to the new formulations.  Polaroid Originals advises starting with underexposure, as the new film is rated at 160 ISO and the SX-70 is programmed for 100 ISO.  I have found the film to be a bit light-hungry so I start at 0 exposure compensation.

The original film packs held 10 exposures, and the current packs hold 8.  The counter on the SX-70 counts down from 10, so this is something to keep in mind… if the camera tells you there are two shots left, you’re empty.  Also, the new film stays light-sensitive for a little bit so make sure you grab a film shield (frog tongue) to install on the camera.  I try to keep the prints out of any light for about 15-20 minutes.

Polaroid sold tons of these cameras in the 70’s, despite their high price ($180, or about $1000 in 2018 money).  As such, there are plenty around if you’d like to try one out for yourself.  If you are looking for one that has been restored, or have one that needs refreshing, check out Brooklyn Film Camera, you can get your film there as well!  I am glad that there are companies out there dedicated to keeping instant photography alive.  I’ll be shooting a lot more SX-70 and Spectra in the future since Fujifilm has recently killed off the beloved FP-100c and FP-3000b pack films, but that’s a story for another installment.