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Polaroid SX-70

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Launched in 1972 the Polaroid SX-70 rapidly became a cult camera and is famous for several reasons. It was the first instant camera to use the self contained pack system instead of messy peel apart film and users soon found that these prints could be manipulated for several minutes after ejection to produce all sorts of effects.

Although originally launched as a manual focus only camera - Polaroid added unique sound based 'sonar' autofocus - sometime in the 1970s and the Polaroid SX-70 became the original autofocus, autoexposure

Photo of Polaroid SX-70

This picture was taken with a Polaroid SLR680 camera.

The one pictured above is a very clean example of the later version with the sonar based autofocus system. This one is also complete with a non Polaroid electronic flash, instead of the more usual flash bars.

Photo of Polaroid Flashbar

Flash bars are unfortunately out of production and SX-70 compatible electronic flashes are few and far between.

Despite being around 30 years the SX-70 is still easily available quite cheaply second hand - rather more so than the similar but later
Polaroid SLR680 camera. The main advantage of the SLR680 over the SX-70 is that it takes standard 600 type film. The SX-70 is designed to take its own SX-70 film  (known as 'Time Zero' film in the US) - but this unfortunately is no longer made (as of early 2006).

However all is not lost as its possible to convert the cameras to use standard 600 type film - and details as well as much other useful info can be found at:

Hackers Guide to the SX-70.

This site has various solutions to the flashbar problem and its worth noting that both SX-70 cameras and flashbars/electronic flashes appear regularly on the
Ebay internet auction site.

Photo of Polaroid SX-70 accessory kit 
This picture was taken with a Epson PhotoPC 650 digital camera.

This colourful box is a set of accessories Polaroid produced for the SX-70. Judging from the packaging it is likely that they were also available individually and judging from the gaps in the part numbers there could well be other SX-70 accessories not included in this set.

(from left to right)

  • #121 Polaroid Close-Up Lens and Flash Diffuser
  • #111 Polaroid Tripod Mount
  • #112 Polaroid Remote Shutter Button
  • #120 Polaroid Lens Shade
  • #113 Polaroid Accessory Holder

As it happens - this set is not very appropriate to the SX-70 camera we have. The tripod socket is already built into the camera and the lens attachments don't fit due to the sonar autofocus getting in the way. For us - the best accessory here is the Remote Shutter Button (#112) which we used on several occasions to take self portraits.

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All text and images Copyright © 2000-2011 Roland Givan, unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved.

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