Edwin Land was a magician. A wizard of chemistry and emulsion. Not really but he might as well been. He took a process, developing and printing an image, and made it instant. Like magic right before your eyes. He wasn’t really a magician, but an inventor and scientist.
I would say, the original Instagram.
I won’t go to deep into the history of Edwin Land, or Polaroid the company itself but just concentrate on the classic SX-70 model. Why the SX-70 you ask? Well, to be honest it’s the one I’ve got. Why is it the one I’ve got, cause it’s probably the most popular of the models. There are a lot to choose from and hopefully I’ll get to try them all. For comparisons you know not cause I need 500 cameras. 😉
Let me take you back to 1972. April to be exact. At the annual company meeting (think one of those big mac expos). In a very Steve Jobs fashion. Turns out Steve was very influenced by Mr. Land. Back to the meeting, Edwin took out an SX-70 from his coat pocket and snapped 5 photographs. I’m sure wowing the crowd at something a Polaroid had yet been able to do. Effortlessly develop an image. Later that year they were being sold in Miami, Florida before being sold nation wide in 1973.
The cost at the time for one of these little babies? $180. Yep, can you believe it. Well in today’s money that would be about $1,031. Feel better?
With the Impossible Project making film making again these little gems are getting dusted off and brought back to life. Unlike those bell bottom polyester pants you’ve been hiding in the closet.
I recently was able to get one of these to call my very own and have been shooting with it the past few weeks. Here’s what I’ve got to say.
First off I love the size of this thing. When the camera is collapsed it easily fits in my back pocket, making it easy to walk around with this and leaving your hands free if your feet take you on an adventure. When expanded, the camera opens into a comfortable shape that fits nicely into my little mitts.
On the front of the camera is the focusing dial on the left, next to the red shutter button. If you’re lucky to buy a decent one on ebay, or buy a nicely refurbished one (heres a place) then you should have a nice bright clear viewfinder. The split screen viewfinder makes focusing your camera super quick and easy once you get which way is which.
Left long. Right near.
The dial on the other side of the camera is your exposure dial. I find the photos tend to be a bit light by nature (I’d heard a video mention the cameras expose lighter), so I tend to under expose by a half to full stop, but I like darker moodier pictures by preference anyway.
The shutter button. I thought it would feel weird to use the camera the way it is but the shutter button location and everything has a really nice feel to it. Easy to reach without shifting your hands to weirdly.
If you’d like to add a flash to your camera there’s a slot on top to ad an after market flash bar. Impossible Project sells a Flash Bar by MINT Cameras, I have yet to try one of these but will hopefully within a few months.
Something to keep in mind when shooting one of these guys is that the original film packs came with 10 exposures, while the Impossible Project film comes with 8. I’d suggest a piece of tape with a reminder on the back while you’re shooting of these. Wouldn’t want to snap a photo thinking there’s 2 left, but nope, you’re wrong brotha.
All in all this is a really fun camera and something if you get a chance to should shoot with.
Here are some shots from over the last month or so of using the camera.