My first photo trip with the recently purchased Polaroid SX-70, was a very pleasant experience. The SX-70 is a series of unique models due to the fact that they are SLR cameras. What you see through the viewfinder is the real frame while the rest of the Polaroid models had a cut in viewfinder. With the SX-70 you zoom manually and have full control of the focus and depth of field. It’s also a great camera for close up shots. A completely different experience from my Spectra SE and the 600 models.
When folded, is a very thin flat object and that is very helpful for carrying. I also got the original leather case, although I am not going to use it, since I also carry the Impossible Mint flash bar and a couple of Impossible Project films.
The image above was shot on a tripod. The tripod mount (I have the Model 2) can be very useful for long exposures and also is a great way of shielding the ejected photo for the first crucial seconds of development. Even with the new IP Color film you have to keep the photo away from light for the first seconds, so when using my tripod I have my hands free to cover the photo. I use the dark slide that comes out from the camera when you insert the pack of film for the first time.
The Spectra handles this situation more easily since if you hold down the shutter button the photo remains in the camera until you release it. I can turn the camera upside down and shield the photo with my hand as it comes out more easily. But I find the SX-70 to be a much better camera. The viewfinder also has a rangefinder like circle that mask focus even more easier, especially for me who I am used to focus this way with my rangefinder cameras.
The SX-70 film is a slow one (ISO 160) compared to the 600 or Spectra film, but its a little bit faster than the original Polaroid film, so I use the Lighten/Darken wheel to compensate for this (when using the flash you do not have to compensate). It requires bright conditions and you have to use he flash much more often than the Spectra. For those who want a faster film, they can use the IP film for 600 models and set the flash bar settings to the middle position. Personally, I am keeping the Spectra for those situations and I see the SX-70 as being my main Polaroid camera since I can get full control of focus and depth of field.
The shutter speed of the SX-70 had a range from 1 /175 to more than 10 seconds. There is also a trick to keep the shutter open for a longer period of time. When on a tripod, after you press the red shutter button you press the release lever to open the film compartment, this way the shutter remains open. When you close it again, you press the shutter again and the photo ejects. This is a trick I am going to use a lot for long exposures !
The folding mechanism of the SX-70 makes me be more cautious compared to how I handle the Spectra. It requires more delicate moves and sure requires more careful handling to ensure that the camera will last for a long time. I treat the same way my folding Makina 67 to ensure there will be no problems due to mishandling.
Overall, my first impressions of the SX-70 are excellent. This is an iconic Polaroid camera, and I am very happy for finding a refurbished model in such an wonderful cosmetic and working condition.
More images coming soon !
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