I’m so impressionable…
(picture from The Land List)
Just a little while ago (as is or will be reflected in my blog sidebar, via Twitter) I bought an old Polaroid SX-70 Sonar OneStep camera from eBay. I say I’m impressionable because I bought it after watching an episode of ScobleShow where he was on a photowalk with Thomas Hawk and Heather Champ. She talked about why she liked using Polaroid and other film cameras. She talked about how Polaroids had great depth of field (didn’t know if she meant you could get really shallow depth of field, which is more of what I like, or a very large depth of field that is particularly good for landscape shots), and I saw some really interesting shots of hers on her site. Since I don’t have a few thousand dollars laying around, I decided to by an SX-70 instead of a Leica M6. *smirk* No, seriously, I have been thinking about getting a Polaroid camera for a long while now, but finally just took the plunge. When I think about it, Polaroid cameras are probably best suited for me because I am so into instant gratification. Heh. I’ve been thinking about experimenting with shooting with film, but don’t like the whole downtime of getting the film developed, so Polaroids seem like a good fit.
I’m a bit concerned, though, because Polaroid film is expensive, and I am prone to taking lots and lots of pictures with my digital cameras. Hopefully the fact that I have to really sort of justify taking a Polaroid picture and get the exposure and composition really right the first time will sort of force me to become a better, more deliberate photographer. I didn’t spend that much on the camera itself, so if I end up just too frustrated at how many exposures I waste, it’s not a huge loss. I bought the sonar version of the SX-70 because:
- I didn’t like what the older SX-70s looked like, with the tan or white vinyl and black plastic bodies.
- The sonar module allows autofocus, but you can still manually focus if you like. I prefer having the choice. I wear glasses and sometimes have trouble manually focusing with my camera, so if I need to rely on autofocus, I want to have the option.
I did buy an accessory neutral density filter for the SX-70 from eBay as well, because apparently Polaroid does not make SX-70 film anymore. But they still make 600 film, which can be used with the SX-70 with a little finagling. 600 film has a higher ISO rating than SX-70 film, so the SX-70 has to be “hacked” a bit in order to get the right exposure with 600 film — you have to use a neutral density filter over the lens to darken the scene overall, and replace the darkened plastic over the exposure meter with clear plastic. You could actually hack the camera innards to accurately meter with the 600 film, but I’m not going to do that. 😛 I guess there is also an SX-70 blend film that replaced the original SX-70 film, so I can try that, but at around $38 for 20 exposures, it’s quite expensive! I don’t think the 600 film is much better pricewise, though.
Both the camera and ND filter are coming from overseas, so I have some time before I’ll be able to take my first steps with film photography (well, I took some film snapshots when I was younger, and did some photography in middle school for my industrial tech class, but haven’t shot film since then, not even disposable cameras!). Well, I feel kind of excited about adding another facet to my photography hobby. I hope I can get some good pics out of it. 😀
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