Polaroid SX-70

This is my original Polaroid SX-70. It was a gift from my now-late parents in 1974. I took these snapshots with it until it stopped ejecting pictures sometime in the early 1990’s. I still have it.

I loved the SX-70. Having previously used peel-apart Polaroids, it was quite the novelty, especially with Ansel Adams promoting it in Polaroid ads at the time. However, while certainly convenient and fun to use, it could never compete with even the cheapest 35mm SLR’s in terms of sharpness, due to the various layers the light had to pass through. Nevertheless, the original SX-70 film produced very nice colours. Unfortunately, my lowly snapshots had already faded and discoloured somewhat by the time I was able to scan them on a decent scanner, as long as 45 years later in some cases.

The pictures are from various places at various times, so I captioned them individually. The most I can say about them is that I have my own vintage Polaroids, just like many of the famous dead photographers. I should emphasize that I see them as beginner pictures. How many pro photographers would show you their beginner snapshots?

By the way, if you’re not familiar with the classic SX-70, as most people today likely are not, apart from the fact that it was the very first camera which used instant film that developed before your eyes instead of having to be peeled apart after a given amount of time, it was a full-fledged single lens reflex camera, just like the Pentax or Nikon you might have had. As such, it was also one of the earliest SLR’s with point-and-shoot autoexposure. The only control you had over it was a lighten or darken thumbwheel… or exposure compensation in other words. In my experience, it was pretty good in daylight, but it did not have an integrated electronic flash. You had to know when to put the flashbulb strip pack on it. This was especially necessary when shooting indoors. You also had to focus the lens manually, just like a 35mm SLR. But unlike most Polaroid brand and FujiFilm Instax cameras today, it was true full focusing, not box-camera zone focusing.

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