Polaroid SX-70: From 1972 until 1981, the Polaroid Corporation created the SX-70, a foldable single lens reflex Land camera. With the world’s first instant SLR camera, which is still popular today, you may own a piece of Polaroid history.
Polaroid SX-70 Film
The Polaroid Corporation introduced the SX-70, a folding single lens reflex Land Camera, in 1972. It was the world’s first instant SLR camera, as well as the first to employ Polaroid’s innovative integral print film, which was developed without the photographer’s participation. This was groundbreaking at the time, and it paved the way for today’s 600 and Spectra films.
The SX-70 features a foldable body, 4-element 116mm f/8 glass lens, and automatic exposure. The camera’s manual focus ranges from 1/175s to more than 10 seconds, while the shutter speed ranges from 1/175s to more than 10 seconds. There were several types available, but they all had the same fundamental design.
Sonar, an ultrasonic rangefinder autofocusing device, is available on later models. Because it is not an SLR, the Model 3 has the viewfinder carved into the mirror hood, which sets it apart from the previous models.
Polaroid SX-70 Design Features
Many complex design aspects were used in the SX-70. A sophisticated light path for the viewfinder was necessary for a foldable SLR, with three mirrors of strange, aspheric shapes (including one Fresnel reflector) arranged at odd angles to provide an erect image on the film and an erect aerial image for the viewfinder.
Precision plastic moldings were used for many mechanical parts. The body was manufactured of glass-filled polysulfone, hard plastic with a thin layer of copper-nickel-chromium alloy plated over it to give it a metallic appearance. Models 2 and 3 were made of ABS in either Ebony or Ivory.
A flat, 6-volt “PolaPulse” battery was included in the film pack to power the camera electronics, drive motor, and flash. The first flash system, a disposable “Flash Bar” from General Electric that consisted of ten bulbs (five on each side, with the user rotating the bar halfway through), employed logic circuits to identify and shoot the next unused flash.
Polaroid SX-70 Analogue Photography
Are you a true believer in analog instant photography? The Polaroid SX-70 camera is a rare opportunity to own a piece of Polaroid history. When the Polaroid SX-70 instant camera was initially unveiled in 1972, it sparked an international stir. This small treasure folds down to generous pocket size and predates the camera phones we know today by over thirty years.
It was the first-ever instant SLR (single reflex lens) camera. The old Polaroid SX-70 instant camera is offered as a fully repaired secondhand vintage Polaroid camera in black on black or a sleek silver and brown retro colorway, as well as autofocus and optional flash editions.
The SX-70 camera is the ideal tool for achieving the rich texture and fine grain that make analogue instant photography so gratifying, creative, and distinctive, thanks to its manual controls and low film speed.
Start an immediate trip today with a Polaroid SX-70 camera starter package, which includes three packs of Polaroid SX-70 film and the MiNT SX-70 add-on flashbar for cameras like the Sonar Autofocus.
Polaroid SX-70 Models
Despite the fact that there were several models available, they all had the same fundamental design.
- All SX-70 models have a folding body design, a 4-element 116 mm f/8 glass lens, and the Electric Eye automated exposure technology.
- The cameras have a shutter speed range of 1/175 s to more than 10 seconds and can focus as near as 10.4 inches (26.4 cm).
- Because it is not an SLR, the Model 3 has the viewfinder carved into the mirror hood, which sets it apart from the previous models.
- A close-up lens (1:1 @ 5 inches), and electrical remote shutter release, a tripod mount, and an Ever-Ready carrying bag that hung around the neck and unfolded in tandem with the camera could all be used with SX-70 cameras.
- The rigid “box” type SX-70 cameras, such as the Model 1000 OneStep, Pronto, Presto, and The Button, employed a lot of the technology used in the folding SX-70 cameras.
- Although they use SX-70 film, these models are not the same as the foldable SLR SX-70s.
Polaroid SX-70 Evolution By MiNT Camera
SX-70s were converted into SLR670s by MiNT Camera (it uses 600 films natively without needing to add a neutral-density filter). The Time Machine add-on (manual shutter speed from 1/2000s to 1s as well as bulb mode) for the SLR670-S and SLR670-X, as well as 600 films (ISO 640) compatibility in the “Auto 600″ mode, are among the new features. Additional shutter/brightness control is included on the SLR670. Flash bars and filter lenses for the SX-70 are also available from MiNT.
OpenSX70 is an open-source project that aims to replace the SX-70’s printed circuit board (PCB) with a modern open-source design based on Arduino. A functioning prototype with several experimental 3D-printed enclosures is available as of February 2019. An LED indicator and an audio jack for shooting an external flash are also included on the redesigned PCB.
Polaroid SX-70 Image Manipulation
The ability to manipulate SX-70 integral print film while it is developing and for a few days afterward is one of its best features. The emulsion stays soft for several days since it is gelatin-based, and the Mylar covering prevents water vapor from passing through easily.
This allows people to press and manipulate the emulsion to create effects similar to impressionist paintings. The cover of Peter Gabriel’s third self-titled album from 1980 is an example of this approach. The cover of Loverboy’s debut album, Loverboy, was another example of emulsion manipulation.
Lucas Samaras, a Greek-American artist, created a series of self-portraits called “Photo-Transformations” (1973–76) that used a lot of emulsion manipulation techniques.
Because the 500, 600, and Spectra/Image materials don’t employ a gelatin-based emulsion, they can’t be modified in this way.
Manipulation of the shot is best done after it has fully developed, about two minutes. For around 5–15 minutes, it will remain soft and workable. Some hues (dark green, for example) will be more difficult to work with, while others will last a long period (red). Image manipulation is significantly easier if the photograph is placed on a warm surface or slightly warmed in an oven.