I haven’t had much experience with instant film prior to shooting this Polaroid SX-70. I shot a pack of Impossible film at the FilmNeverDie Footscray photowalk. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Unfortunately though I managed to misplace those photos and had to have another go to do this review 😙.
It’s completely automatic with manual focus and exposure compensation. It’s probably the only instant SLR camera ever made. The accurate framing and focusing is crucial for a camera with an image plane this size. Even at F8 there is quite sizeable depth of field. The design of the camera is beautiful and the amount of R&D Polaroid put into it shows (apparently around 500 million dollars were put into the design of the camera), as a result the camera is foldable and pocketable (if we stretch the definition of pocketable). It's probably just as iconic as the Leica M3 or the Nikon F in popular culture. Polaroid was undeniably the Apple of its day.
The exposure compensation lever is a bit of guess work. My recommendation is for most lighting situations is to underexpose it just slightly. Which leads to the only problem I found, the camera is rated to work at ISO 150 and only at that ISO. Furthermore with underexposing in most situations I would rate the film for 80 ISO. Which means it’s a daylight camera only unless you have the flash unit. Even shooting indoors will lead to long shutter speeds, if you want higher ISO go for the Polaroid 600 format instead (check out the Polaroid 680, an autofocusing SX70 that uses 600 film).
The low ISO aside, the results were fantastic and dreamy. It has a distinctive look which sets it apart from Fujifilm’s Instax formats (the only other instant format I can compare it to), I’ve never shot the original polaroid SX-70 film but this generation III Impossible film looks wonderful, kudos to Impossible on keeping up the good fight. I'm definitely going to shoot this camera and film again, and highly recommend it to anyone who are interested in Instant Film.
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