a place for sharing all things photographic and some things not

The wonder of old school photography

I’ve been eyeing the Polaroid SX-70 camera for a while. It’s one of the fabled cameras that hails from a generation that has long left us. In fact, it comes from such a long time ago that the film for it was discontinued.

It was one of the revolutionary cameras of it’s time. The battery was built into the film pack so that everytime you topped up the film, you changed batteries too. It folded down into a really compact little block and it was incredibly reliable for an instant camera. You just clicked the shutter and the film popped out. You shield the film from light for a bit and soon your image is done.

Of course digital came along and everyone moved over and film was suddenly left all alone and the industry suddenly found all it’s money moving to other places. The factories shuttered and the film dried up and polaroid soon moved on to other things.

Nowadays the counterpart to polaroid would be Fujifilm’s digital version, which to the average layman is no different but to purists (and I think of myself as one) it still seems like a travesty. It seems no different to bringing along a portable printer everywhere you go compared to light and chemicals doing their magical thing behind the shutter as in the traditional polaroids. (the new polaroids are very good though, I’ve seen them used before)

I shall refrain from saying something mean.

So polaroid was dead and gone, until a couple of enterprising individuals decided to go back to the factories once owned by Polaroid and open the shop again. It was then that The Impossible Project was born. The recipe for the original polaroid films had already been long lost so they had to start from scratch, but slowly (and surely) film is coming out of the factory to old school hobbyists all over the world! Right now they still haven’t nailed it yet (the film has a tendency to overexpose) but it’s a very usable set of film.

And film cameras are cheaper too! They’re all old and dusty and moldy so secondhand models are easy enough to find here and there. Be warned though, refurbished models from Nostalgia shops and the type go up to 300, while some can be bought from pawn shops – do your own legwork!

But if you get your hands on one sniff the film and watch as it gets churned out from brown blank to the splendid image that you had just taken. Old technology is even more amazing when it still works!

(and if you do have a polaroid camera, I envy you like crazy, do tell me how it works!)



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