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Polaroid SX-70 cameras from the 1970s make a comeback


September 8, 2011

The camera is equipped with a 116mm f/8 lens, f8 to f22 aperture lens, featuring manual focus of 10" to infinity

The camera is equipped with a 116mm f/8 lens, f8 to f22 aperture lens, featuring manual focus of 10" to infinity

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Photojojo is known for offering unusual cameras for enthusiasts such as the Holga Twin Image Maker and NeinGrenze 5000T dedicated tilt-shift camera. The online store has released yet another treat for fans - the legendary Polaroid SX-70 camera that was originally manufactured in the years 1972-1977. The cameras being offered have all been restored to working condition and integral instant film is also available.

When it was released in 1972, the Polaroid SX-70 with its foldable SLR design was the world's first instant SLR. It was also the first camera to use Polaroid's then new integral instant film that contained all the chemical layers required to expose, develop, and fix the photo. This allowed the photo to be developed automatically in daylight without the need of a trip to the Fotomat.

In the 1970s, self-developing film cameras - also known as Land cameras after their inventor, Edwin Land - gained widespread popularity and the familiar white bordered photos have become iconic of the time. Arthur Fisher in the January 1973 issue of Popular Science called it "perhaps the most fiendishly clever invention in the history of photography."

According to Photojojo, each Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70 is "completely restored and hand-inspected, so it's guaranteed to be in tip-top instant photo taking shape." The company offers to replace non-working ones at the request of a customer, although returns are not available. The foldable instant photography camera is equipped with a 116mm, f8 - f22 aperture lens, features manual focus of 10" to infinity, and shutter speeds vary from 1/175th to 10+ seconds.

Photojojo's Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70 utilizes expired Polaroid film or instant film from The Impossible Project. As with the models sold back in the 1970s, the restored camera does not require a battery as each film pack contains one. The restored Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70 comes in Kate Bingman Burt-made packaging and is priced at US$350. It ships in mid-October, whereas PX100 Impossible Project Instant Film is priced at US$22 and ships in mid-September.

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Wouldn\'t a digital camera with a built in undersized laser-printer be cheaper in the long run.


The new film only has 8 shots, original Polaroid film had 10. Polaroid snapshots were always expensive per photo. The new film is much higher price per photo.

When The Impossible Project bought the Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, they bought a wreck. All the equipment had to be repaired. Another problem is they didn\'t obtain any of Polaroid\'s formulas for the dyes, development and stopping chemicals. That\'s all had to be re-invented.

Currently what they use to stop development isn\'t quite right so they recommend putting the photos in darkness for a couple of minutes after they come out of the camera. The B&W film they make for the SX-70 is more of a sepia tone. Their 600 film is better but still not a \"crisp\" monochrome. The color film looks closer to faded Eastmancolor than Kodachrome.

Great if you have deep pockets and are into the current fad of \"artsy\" photography done with crappy cameras and/or film. Not so much if you\'re expecting the same as you got from your old 600 or Spectra camera. Yup, they also have film for the Spectra cameras.

What would be cool is a digital camera insert shaped like the Polaroid film pack. Integrating a small CCD or CMOS sensor into a camera with a mirror that spreads the light out over the photo area would be quite a trick. Digital inserts for 110 or 126 cameras would be easier. Kodak\'s 126 SLR was a very nice camera, compatible with Kodak\'s Retina Reflex lenses. They\'re just shelf warmers now without film available.

Gregg Eshelman

I\'ve been picking up pristine SX70 examples on ebay and at flea markets for under $5 each. I\'ve only rarely seen worn-out examples, generally they may need a bit of cleaning and tweaking. No way would I ever pay such a bloated price for something I can get for cheap or free.

William Lanteigne

Having disassebled a few Polaroid cameras I can tell you that they are very, very simple! They don\'t run without battery (the shutter closes by electric power (when an electric magnet lets go of the shutter blade), just as as a classic Minox 35, when enough photons have hit the photo-sensitive resistor (varying ND filters are used to change ISO, and EV - couldn\'t be simpler).

Any modern digital camera is more advanced, but not nearly as camp as SX-70!

Tord Eriksson

The Impossible Project is wanting to make a new camera for their film. What would be a good idea is to equip it with a flat battery slot on the bottom or a battery compartment for conventional AA cells -and- the standard contacts inside the film slot for film packs with a battery.

Then they could make film packs without a battery but with more shots. The new batteries used in their new film packs are 750 mah, more than Polaroid\'s original Polapulse. They have postage pre-paid envelopes to send used batteries back. With so much \"extra\" power, I expect they can test and re-use the batteries at least once. It would make sense to do that, save a bit of money rather than putting a new, way over powered battery in every film pack.

Years ago I used to break the empty film packs apart to extract the batteries for use with various things since even Polaroid\'s version had more than enough juice to kick out 10 pictures. Polaroid used to sell a Polapulse developer\'s kit that consisted of a special battery holder with pre-attached wires, at least one battery and some information. That was with the original style battery, before they switched to the version that seemed to be a little thicker and didn\'t cover the entire cardboard backing.

Gregg Eshelman

I bought the Polaroid SX-70 about 2weeks after it came out back in the 70s I also invested in the accessories package. Total cost was around $350.00, which was a lot of money for a Polaroid back then. However, it had the coolest design and people were fascinated with it. Picture quality was typical Polaroid. Film and flash bars were expensive. I used it up until the time where you couldn\'t find film or flash for it anymore. I found a website online that sold both the film and the flash bars; however it was at about double the original price. Back then I calculated each flash picture cost about $1.50.

I still have the camera, and also my garndfather\'s SX-70. One works, and the other one has issues.

It was a beautifully designed camera and was way ahead of it\'s time.


I bought film from the impossible project... not a single picture turned out. I love my SX-70 camera but ever single picture was over exposed... I have no idea why. sigh I was really hoping they would turn out wonderfully. trial and error I suppose.

Autumn Temple
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