Week 42 – The SX-70 Polaroid Land camera
As I pointed out last week I was off on holiday, several days in our capital London. I wanted something that would be easy to process once I got back, suited the trip and a new interesting challenge that was fun for my family as well as me. Instant film was the clear winner! Russell let me take a decent one, a collector’s piece – the SX-70 Land camera
Let’s get through this in instant style! Folded it is a slim camera sitting in a tanned leather shoulder case that allows full manipulation of said camera. Open the top flap to reveal a brown leather trimmed black body, pull up the viewer sat on top, a second pull opens the bellowed body and a push back on the front locks it in place. There is a focus and rudimentary exposure wheels on the front plus the all-important trigger button. Bellow them is the slot where your picture is delivered and the pull down flap to load your film cassette.
I took two packs of Impossible Project colour film each giving me 8 shots and the battery to power the process. These come in at a hefty £16.50 a pack which at a little over £2 a picture is pricey! This along with the unpredictable quality of the final result has always been a put off for me, in fact much to the despair of Polaroid fan Russell I am guilty of being a bit of a film snob when it comes to instant film. Russell ran me through the load and usage tips and sent me on my way with the fading words of “be careful not to get your finger in front of the lens!” I did this once!
London arrival and we were off! I had several cameras of which a couple were being tested for the final weeks of the 52 project so mixing them all up was a bit of a challenge. My first shot was of the Gherkin building looking straight up, it spat out the picture which went straight into my pocket for the lengthy 45 minute process time. I waited impatiently to see the result before taking anymore. It wasn’t half bad! A few funny streaks that can apparently happen with this film but it looked ok!
I won’t walk you through every shot but over the next few days I pointed at things I thought were fun, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Windsor castle etc., you get the idea. I met up with twitter pals Sandeep and Polaroid geek Martin Weston who gave me some user tips – i.e. needs to be bright, how to use the exposure dial and after that things improved, in fact I enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun!
Fun! That’s the key word. The type of camera, a skilled user and good conditions can produce really nice pictures but in general the have a 70/80s feel from when these beasties were at their height. There is colour shifts depending on brightness, a soft look but full of character. In hind sight I really wish I had used it to capture snap shots of my family in front of these iconic structures, instant memories of our trip. This for me is the perfect use for these bundles of fun. I actually want one now just for those special days, at night we passed the good size prints around the family and the kids loved that, much better than phone shots that sit unseen! – Prints, that is the crux! Physical touchable memories of an occasion…I am converted!
Lots more photo below