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1970s Polaroid SX-70 Cameras Make a Comeback

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the for-all-your-expensive-art-projects dept.

Input Devices 106

cylonlover writes "When it was released in 1972, the Polaroid SX-70, with its foldable SLR design, was the world's first instant SLR. It was also the first camera to use Polaroid's then-new integral instant film that contained all the chemical layers required to expose, develop, and fix the photo. Photojojo is now offering Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70 cameras that have all been restored to working condition, and integral instant film is also available."

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Nooooo (-1, Troll)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340592)

Don't feed the hipsters!

Re:Nooooo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37340772)

Wait that pos junk I have in a closet upstairs is worth something? hmm...

hipsters are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37340894)

The economy needs the hipsters because the hipsters spend money.

Re:hipsters are good (3, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341140)

Oh, what sad times are these when we have to rely on Hipsters to save our economy. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

Re:hipsters are good (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341276)

"Oh, the leaves are falling, the flowers are wilting, and the rivers are all going Republican."

Why aren't these still available? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340606)

I get why most 35mm cameras have been obsoleted, but this is one camera type that still makes sense. Sometimes you need to take a photo, and have a copy in your hand, NOW. Not just tourism, but other commercial uses. And you can always scan the photo if you must send it digitally as well.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37340644)

Portable mini printers?

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37348004)

Portable mini printers?

Ya. Who knew they had 'em in '72?

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340686)

I've been under the impression instant cameras *ARE* still commercial available (notably the one that makes headshot stickers that had a period of popularity in the early 2000's)

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 3 years ago | (#37349306)

Polariod are actually still selling devices that can print their photos instantly. plus they do have a really hip printer that can print from your mobile phone over bluetooth while on battery.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (3, Interesting)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340746)

Fuji still makes some instant cameras, the Instax and Instax Mini line. The blood-sucking leeches, errrrr, the company that currently owns the Polaroid name rebadges one of the Instax Minis as the Polaroid 300 and sells it at a premium.

The Instax films are not compatible with older Polaroid cameras that use integral films, but Fuji also makes some films that fit the even older Polaroid pack film type cameras (pull the film out, wait 60 seconds, peel, wonder what to do with goopy negative portion).

Re:Why aren't these still available? (4, Funny)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340842)

Sure, but they produce Wide Screen Polaroids ! That's totally like, HD Polaroid, or something. Widescreen, man.
 
I heard in a few years they're going to be releasing 3-D polaroids, but the first few models are going to require special glasses to view, and they give some viewers headaches.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340764)

I do not know much about these technologies. But for commercial use, you either have a stand, a register, a car or something a little bigger. You can afford to have a "wifi digital camera" that sends the picture to a printer. You can look at it first and then decide whether you want a printout or not. And you can keep logs and backups.

Yet polaroid are cool!

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37341804)

Not just for coolness. I use the instax professionally; getting a photo _now_ into a physical, sealed log is important for some applications.

Just use digital personally.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340810)

Portable printers exist and how often are you more than a couple hours from a drug store?

Do you really need it right now, or is a couple hours later ok?

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340892)

Clearly you've never seen the joy in people's faces when you hand them a photo that you've just taken.

I take one of my Polaroids with me to street festivals and such. See a person with a cute puppy or a funny hat or whatever's interesting, take a shot, hand it to them, walk away.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341504)

We still hand people photographs we've just taken. It's called Facebook. But I agree, it can't recreate the situation you described.

Better method (3, Insightful)

midicase (902333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341574)

See a cute person with a puppy or a funny hat or whatever's interesting, take a shot, hand it to them, ask them out.

Re:Better method (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37350280)

or take a shot, keep it, and later wank to it...

Re:Why aren't these still available? (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341948)

I don't know what kind of people these are that have this joy after being handed a Polaroid photo. Personally, every time I see one I shudder in disgust, for two reasons: 1) the absolutely horrible picture quality, and small size (which can't be blown up, because there's no negative and the quality is so bad to begin with), and 2) the idea that this moment in time is forever doomed to being only captured with such a shitty photo, when a better camera could have taken a really nice photo and preserved it. It's like being able to record some seminal concert by the Beetles or Led Zeppelin (or insert your favorite classic band here), and instead of using high quality audio equipment so that this performance is captured as well as possible (or even just decently), you use a microcassette recorder, and now that crappy recording is all that's left.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342028)

I bet you're a blast at parties.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342122)

So I guess you want to forget about any good parties you went to? Because those crappy Polaroid photos won't be around in 10 or 20 years. I have some Polaroids from when I was younger; I can't make out a damn thing in those photos. If they had been taken with a real camera, I'd still have usable images from those times.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342170)

So I guess you want to forget about any good parties you went to?

I've always heard that the best parties ARE the ones you can't quite remember clearly...

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342718)

those crappy Polaroid photos won't be around in 10 or 20 years

Which is a good thing, if you go to the kind of parties I used to. The last thing I need is crystal-clear shots of me engaged in "questionable" (or "indictable") activities. I always thought that was kind of the idea of Polaroids -- you can be sure that you have the only copy. None of this "Of course I'll never show anyone these pictures, they'll never leave my phone."

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342744)

1) That parties thing? Yeah, that was a metaphor. You might want to look that up.

2) I have a box full of Spectra/Image photos that go back to 1986. They're all clear as the day they were taken.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343198)

In fact, the old SX-70 film used amazingly stable dyes. They should look as good now as the day they were shot. Sharpness was not so good. The stuff was expensive, I remember a magazine costing somewhere in the $10 neighborhood even in the early 80s.

As opposed to my E-4 and E-6 process stuff from those days which is already starting to fade.

I have one of these cameras around the house somewhere .... sheesh $350 if it works and I put it in a fancy box??

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

WhirledOne (213095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37347616)

You're correct-- Polaroid SX-70 and other integral films have turned out to be quite stable indeed. Polaroid B&W peel-apart prints are also incredibly stable-- as stable as conventional B&W prints on silver halide paper.

The only Polaroid prints that tended to fade were the (mostly older) "coater-required" B&W peel-apart films-- if you didn't bother to use the print coater! Also the Kodak Instant films (at least in the early days) faded pretty badly when exposed to UV (i.e. sunlight), but those weren't Polaroid products.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343706)

Because those crappy Polaroid photos won't be around in 10 or 20 years.

As there is a reasonable chance that you won't be around in 20 years, perhaps you too should now be discontinued; all thing are fleeting, especially our youth. Besides, trust me, kids these days won't generally be wishing for any more documentation of their events and indiscretions. Also, even in the 70's people knew that Polaroids faded.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343830)

So you don't think anything should be recorded for posterity? Not musical performances, not artwork, not photos of anything important, we should just use really crappy media that goes bad after a few years? Should we also print all books and magazines on ultra-cheap paper that disintegrates in a few years? I guess you don't care much about museums or libraries...

Re:Why aren't these still available? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37344790)

What's so special about preserving the past? I realize you're a Space Nutter so you probably desperately want to stop your decades-old posters from fading, but you sound more and more like a raving loon the more I read your comments. Even more than the regular Space Nutters.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344538)

So I guess you want to forget about any good parties you went to? Because those crappy Polaroid photos won't be around in 10 or 20 years. I have some Polaroids from when I was younger; I can't make out a damn thing in those photos.

Ah ... but these days you can put it on a wooden table when you get home and take a photo of it with your cellphone.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344794)

Even when the photos were brand-new, I couldn't make out much in those Polaroid photos. The picture quality has always been lousy.

Polaroids have always been nothing but a cheap, overpriced gimmick. They had a horribly expensive per-photo cost, the picture was tiny (even smaller than a crappy 110 photo, and much much than a 35mm photo printed at 4x6), the picture quality was lousy; the only thing they had going for them was the instant nature, for fools who have no patience or appreciation for quality.

Now, we have digital cameras that are much smaller, can take hundreds or thousands of photos for free (only printing them costs anything, and that's dirt cheap at places like Costco or even the local pharmacy; I think Costco is $0.11/photo for 4x6, and around $0.35 for 5x7, in 2011 dollars whereas Polaroids were around $1 each in early 1980s dollars, which probably comes out to around $3-5 dollars now, depending on whose inflation numbers you believe), and if you're in a hurry, there's a Walgreens or CVS on every corner these days with 1-hour photo printing. So few people really care about having a photo right now that there isn't a market for a camera that instantly prints out photos with shitty quality and no digital backups. Even totally non-technical people now understand the value of digital photography, as it lets them put all their family photos or dog photos or whatever up on Facebook for all their friends to see immediately, even if their friends live in another state. This "comeback" isn't going to amount to anything; it's just a fad, and the morons buying into it will quickly tire of it.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37350306)

So I guess you want to forget about any good parties you went to?

Yes, that's what the booze is for... And makes for funny conversation if you meet the same people 3 weeks later... "I did what?"

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343946)

Never heard of the Beetles. Are they any good?

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#37345636)

the Beetles

I did not expect to live long enough to see "The Beatles" misspelled.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#37349502)

Oftentimes, the precious moments in life isn't in the precious things; but the moment itself. People don't party for parties, but for the people. And shooting photos isn't just for the photo, but the stalk, shot, print, whatever. As long as you're not shooting 12 year olds, handing that Polaroid picture to a pretty girl is telling her:

A) my precious Polaroid has 10 frames and I chose one to be of you *wink*
B) in this digital age where shooting is free, I burn money for pleasure by shooting analog *wink*
C) I noticed YOU *hugs* (but not in soviet russia)

yeah? buy one!! :D

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344434)

I take one of my Polaroids with me to street festivals and such. See a person with a cute puppy or a funny hat or whatever's interesting, take a shot, hand it to them, walk away.

Isn't that just terrorism?

U! S! A! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37341878)

Do you really need it right now, or is a couple hours later ok?

Hi, I'm an American. Does that answer your question?

Seriously, instant photography was awesome for consumers (especially kids) taking snapshots. Instant gratification is an ingrained part of the human experience. Digital photography with its tiny screen previews is a pale shadow.

Re:U! S! A! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342270)

Tiny screen? Buy a tablet or a laptop. Those Polaroids will be dead in a decade.

Re:U! S! A! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37344356)

Tiny screen? Buy a tablet or a laptop. Those Polaroids will be dead in a decade.

What part of "instant" don't you understand?

an infinitesimal space of time; especially : a point in time separating two states

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342510)

Sometimes you really do need it right now. More to the point, sometimes you need something that is guaranteed unaltered. Insurance adjusters have used instant cameras for decades, because they might have one chance to photograph a wrecked car or something like that. First of all, (unlike with traditional film) they can find out on-site if they got the picture they needed; and secondly (unlike with digital) they can pretty much enter it as claim evidence as a true representation of the subject.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37348026)

Portable printers exist and how often are you more than a couple hours from a drug store?

Do you really need it right now, or is a couple hours later ok?

I think I'm too old to "shake it like a Polaroid" for two hours . . .

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341214)

They are, just not the SX-70.

There aren't many cameras today made as well as the SX-70. Its a work of art.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341228)

Sometimes you need to take a photo, and have a copy in your hand, NOW.

Presumably, that's not a big enough market to sustain production. There are, after all, very few cases where this is really true.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341346)

Presumably, that's not a big enough market to sustain production. There are, after all, very few cases where this is really true.

These days, yes. Back in the "old days" where digitals took crappy photos to begin with, having photos available quickly was quite an advantage over having to finish the roll and waiting 3 days to get it developed and get prints.

With digital cameras being quite good, and instant enough, the market basically vanished. No longer having to wait weeks after a vacation to get back photos to use up the roll, or taking pictures of the airport to use up the roll so you can develop it on the way back has meant well, getting photos done minutes after it was taken is a much smaller niche than just taking the photos, and a few hours later broadcasting it all over twitter and facebook.

The niche now are for those sponaneous moments between strangers where neither wants to share personal information, and documentation for legal or scientific reasons because the photos can be captured right then and there, with no time for doctoring.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341246)

Reconditioning the old cameras is one thing, but I'd be worried about a continuous supply of the proprietary film. As long as the Impossible Project can stay afloat and keep manufacturing it though, cool. Kind of a niche market though.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341992)

Sometimes you need to take a photo, and have a copy in your hand, NOW.

I get that, I really do- but that idea has one simple flaw; you have ONE (1) copy. You give it to some one, NOW, and your aced out the one copy. Not really much different from simply passing around a digital and looking at the preview. Plus the camera has the added benefit of allowing the user to pan around the photo and blow up sections.

And you can always scan the photo if you must send it digitally as well.

I personally don't see that as being any more convenient than emailing or publishing the photo directly from my phone/camera.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37342502)

Don't you know by now that sarcasm doesn't work in /. unless you label it as such.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344436)

Why can't they put a little printer inside a digital camera, then they could make even more money on the ink.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37345056)

Because then the camera would be about as large as the SX-70 was(is). And the market seems to demand that cameras now be these tiny little pieces of shit that break the second you fart on them. At least with consumer level point-and-shoot cameras, not so much with expensive professional cameras. But then again professional cameras are expected to be a bit bigger and bulkier to begin with, and if you're using one chances are you don't give a toss about the instant feature. The people that want the instant photos are the ones that also want the little breakable you can slip in your back pocket. A neat little idea you have, but it wouldn't sell very well.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37345256)

I get why most 35mm cameras have been obsoleted,

I don't. Analog is still better. Unfortunately for the unwashed masses 'good enough' is just that, good enough and in the consumer world 'good enough' sells more and the people that care about quality often lose out.. A big part of the reason we got stuck with the lesser quality VHS instead of Beta.

Analog is better? (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 3 years ago | (#37345780)

Analog is still better.

I recall reading that high-end digital cameras have now caught up to, and maybe even surpassed, the resolution and color accuracy of chemical film. Digital also gets you instant review, perfect copies (and, as a consequence, longer storage life), the ability to store many more photos in a given space, easier transmission/sharing, and the ability to run off draft quality copies quickly while still allowing for high-quality professional prints.

What does chemical film offer? The only thing I can think of is for someone with a significant investment in chemical film, it's costly to switch.

Re:Analog is better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37346498)

A frame of 35mm film equates to about 24 megapixels - depending on your choice of ISO speed and therefore, grain and resolving power. That's 35mm film - there's still a market out there for medium and large-format films - 6x4.5cm, 6x6cm, 6x7cm (my own Mamiya), 4x5", etc.
 
Instant review - well, that's what polaroid backs are for :-)
 
Analog and digital both have their pros and cons - I shoot digital mostly, but when I want something special, out comes the Mamiya, tripod, filters, etc.

Re:Why aren't these still available? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37347058)

Really? Analog is better? Are you one of these wankers that still thinks warmth and grain = better, despite the fact even cheap shit DSLR can do that and much better, let alone all the other real advantages of a DSLR?

Those were the days... (1)

peter hoffman (2017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340670)

Good ol' Polaroid! Did anyone at the time think that was ever going to be said so soon about such a leading edge company? I still have my Swinger in the original (tattered) box.

Re:Those were the days... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340926)

Leading Edge Companies, tend to become outdated. Why because they get so ingrossed in their success and making fun of all the old guys they don't pay attention to the other new guys rising up to beat them.
Also with their new technology, they are often afrade to inovate the next step, because it could kill off their tride and true profit revenue.

Only time will tell if something is a Fad or the next big thing.

Re:Those were the days... (1)

obsess5 (719497) | more than 3 years ago | (#37346394)

Yes, those were the days. The cool thing about the Swinger was that, with flash, if you turned the distance down to the closest setting, you essentially had a pinhole camera with an infinite depth-of-field. I took a couple of close-up pictures of my model railroad layout this way - you know, kind of standing on the track with the train coming at you, all in focus. Wish I'd taken more advantage of it at the time, but I was a kid and film was expensive.

That there english (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340688)

Clearly a new usage of the phrase "making a comeback."

Re:That there english (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340716)

And thanks to TFA, the product is now dead as a door nail. It's what inevitably happens when you're selling to hipsters.

But then again, I'd tell you about the camera I'm using, but I'm sure you've never heard of it.

Amazing technology for its time (2)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340714)

I never owned one (I was only a kid) but I recall the advertisements and articles for this camera. It was an enormous step up from the existing instant camera technology with the layers you had to peel off the picture and the chemicals (fixers?) you needed to apply.

The camera body was also a miracle of engineering design because of the way it could fold flat for storage, but pop open in just the right manner for all the optical paths to work (including the SLR aspect).

Much later I owned a Kodak instant camera during their brief foray into instant film, before Polaroid's arsenal of patents (from the SX-70 I guess) did them in.

Re:Amazing technology for its time (1)

Lord Crowface (1315695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341410)

The SX-70 may have been easier to use than the older stuff, but the older stuff actually had a much better image quality. The black and white Polaroid peel-apart materials were really good stuff, for example: Ansel Adams swore by the stuff (it could give him an instant preview of the shot AND with a little bit of care, a good negative to bring back to the darkroom, fix and make traditional prints from) Their color materials were less "high end" than the black and white materials but they still did a much better job at accurate color reproduction than could ever be hoped for from the SX-70.

Re:Amazing technology for its time (1)

viridari (1138635) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341626)

The camera body was also a miracle of engineering design because of the way it could fold flat for storage, but pop open in just the right manner for all the optical paths to work (including the SLR aspect).

Actually the folding feature was quite an old and mature technology by the time the SX-70 was released. Before consumers really took on to the 35mm format, medium format folding cameras were quite popular. The technology was pretty mature by the time my grandfather took his folding camera to WW2, and certainly by the 1950's when my own Zeiss-Ikon Super Ikonta 533/16 was manufactured.

Fuji still makes a medium format folding camera today, but it's priced for wealthy enthusiasts.

Re:Amazing technology for its time (1)

WhirledOne (213095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37347468)

Um, your Super Ikonta is a nice camera, but it is not an SLR.

The more modern Fuji folding cameras are not SLRs either. Folding cameras were once very popular indeed, but none of those were SLRs.

The magic of the SX-70 design was not that it folds up (heck, even the original Polaroid 95 was a folding camera), but that it was the first folding single-lens reflex camera.

The closest thing to a folding production SLR before that was the Graflex family, but those aren't really folding cameras, since the mirror box doesn't collapse. The only "folding" aspect to those is the bellows and focusing track similar to a folding camera, but the lens can only retract a bit past infinity. Also, the big folding "chimney" viewing shield on most models gives it a "folding camera" look, but that's just a sun shield over the waist-level finder. Anyway, as far as I know, the only folding SLR ever made that was not an SX-70 or one of its decendants was also a Polaroid product-- the Polaroid Craptiva. ...I mean Captiva. I never did understand the logic behind going through the trouble to create a whole new folding SLR design around that model, given that it had a rather slow lens and had only a very limited two-zone AF system (and no manual overrride), and no close-focus capability aside from a rarely-seen closeup accessory.

Breaking News! Faggotry is making a comeback (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340806)

on Slashdot. Ohh wait faggotry never really left. It is getting stronger than ever. Instant cameras are still made by Fuji-film and I am sure other companies. On a brighter note, if you want to read about this and other interesting stories before they appear on fagdot, you can check out this site.

There you will find twice the information and half the faggotry. [gizmag.com]

Link to the project (4, Informative)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340832)

Proper link to Impossible Project [the-imposs...roject.com] not included in the article. They're the people who bought the factory and now reproducing the film packs.

About the available film (4, Interesting)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37340838)

The films from The Impossible Project work, but at this point still need to be considered "experimental". The biggest problem they have yet to conquer is the chemical layer that shields the photo from light immediately after ejection from the camera - aka the opacifier layer.

All the current films require that you immediately protect the film from ambient light while it develops, which definitely kills some of the joy of the original SX70 experience.

Still major amounts of mad props to TIP for saving the film manufacturing equipment from being scrapped and being able to create a whole new film that works even as well as it does, on a shoestring budget in a short amount of time.

Re:About the available film (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342044)

IIRC, the early-generation SX-70 films, back in the Garner/Hartley era when they took 10 minutes for the image to fully appear, had the same caveat regarding protecting the image from ambient light. My uncle used to lay them face-down on the table while they developed.

Re:About the available film (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343278)

I remember my Dad shaking/waving them -- I'm not sure what this did, but it could have been with the Kodak copy.

IIRC, wasn't there an earlier Polaroid film that had a layer you had to peel back after a certain amount of time?

Shaking the picture. (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344522)

I remember my Dad shaking/waving them -- I'm not sure what this did, but it could have been with the Kodak copy.

Shaking the picture did nothing. It was like pushing an elevator button for a second time. Didn't make anything happen faster but it soothed people while they waited.

IIRC, wasn't there an earlier Polaroid film that had a layer you had to peel back after a certain amount of time?

Yes. In fact this was the case for quite a long time. I'm old enough to remember people using this sort of film.

Re:Shaking the picture. (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344934)

And those pack films produced the types of Polaroid photos that would have benefited from some shaking, since the development was quite a wet process. (Integral film too, but it's all encased in plastic). Older pack films also had to be coated with a fixative that also required drying, so yeah, there was a whole lotta shaking going on.

Re:Shaking the picture. (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 3 years ago | (#37345924)

IIRC, wasn't there an earlier Polaroid film that had a layer you had to peel back after a certain amount of time?

Yes. In fact this was the case for quite a long time. I'm old enough to remember people using this sort of film.

Hell, I've used it in the past five years. Worked in a fairly small DNA lab, and they used that sort of film/camera to capture the results of a gel electrophoresis. Camera had a filter on it to only capture UV light. The B&W film provided a good contrast, any you could tally the results while the setup of the gel was still fresh in your brain.

It's the hipsters I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37340952)

Polaroids are fun, but I've seen many a ruined/faded polaroid show up in old photo albums. Why somebody would choose to use a Polaroid or some shitty hipstamatic app to ruin a perfectly good photo is beyond me. Sure, the effect is cool now, but in 50 years they'll be kicking themselves.

Re:It's the hipsters I tell you (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37348046)

Polaroids are fun, but I've seen many a ruined/faded polaroid show up in old photo albums. Why somebody would choose to use a Polaroid or some shitty hipstamatic app to ruin a perfectly good photo is beyond me. Sure, the effect is cool now, but in 50 years they'll be kicking themselves.

I've seen "hipstamatic-afied" photos, and I challenge your assertion that they were "perfectly good" to begin with.

bummer (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341000)

This could put a dent in all the nuwdy picks of wives and girlfriends to the interwebs. How much does a girlfriend cost again?

Re:bummer (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343784)

> How much does a girlfriend cost again?

2X

Where "X" is the total value of everything you own.

What about the flash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37341044)

I gave my parents an SX70 back in 1974, and they gave it back to me when they moved on to something else (I used to collect cameras). I still have it, along with an unused film pack and a light bar (flash). TIP's film is a bit on the steep side, until you compare it to the original cost of the film in 2011 dollars. The SX70 was, and still is, an amazing piece of engineering.

Summary title failure (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341098)

I'm pretty sure there's a non-trivial gap between "company releasing a product" and "making a comeback".

For a lot more info... (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341136)

Just a few months ago, Technologizer wrote a great article about this very item and the work behind it: Polaroid's SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible [technologizer.com]

In 1972, instant photography was no longer a novelty: the world had been introduced to it in 1947 when Polaroid co-founder Edwin H. Land unveiled the Model 95, the company's first camera...

The existence of previous instant cameras only helped emphasize what a great leap forward the SX-70 was. Unlike any previous Polaroid, it was a single-lens reflex (SLR) model with a viewfinder that showed exactly what you'd get. Unlike any previous Polaroid, it folded up into a 1"-thick leather-encased brick that was (just barely) pocketable. Unlike any previous Polaroid, it built the battery into the film pack. Even the flash--in the form of a Polaroid invention called a flashbar that packed ten bulbs into a double-sided array--was custom-designed for the SX-70.

Most important, unlike any other Polaroid, the SX-70 asked the photographer to do nothing more than focus, press the shutter, and pluck the snapshot as it emerged from the camera--and then watch it develop in daylight. It was the first camera to realize what Edwin Land said had been his dream all along: "absolute one-step photography."

Kodak's pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37341142)

My mum bought one of the rival Instatmatic cameras from Kodak ( and I still have hundreds of the developed photos ) but in 1986 Kodak was sued by Polaroid for patent infringement.

As part of the settlement of the case, Kodak recalled my mum's camera and sent her a voucher for the purchase of the equivalent Polaroid model! It was a rather flimsy affair compared to the "Tricorder"-like Kodak.

Re:Kodak's pain (1)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342276)

A bigger loss from the patent wars was Kodak's instant TRANSPARENCY film. I still have a sample. This was at the height of corporate multi-projector AV shows, digital projectors were not common nor good enough quality. Having a slide in hand in 5 minutes rather than the 45 it took for E-6 processing would have had a major impact on the industry.

Re:Kodak's pain (1)

WhirledOne (213095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37347560)

I don't know about a Kodak instant transparency film, but Polaroid had a product exactly like what you're thinking-- namely Polachrome 35mm film. It was fairly successful for the reasons you just mentioned. I was a pretty dense film and was slow, but it was pretty neat to be able to develop a 36-exposure roll of color slides in about 5 minutes! ...and without a darkroom at that. All you needed was the Polaroid 35mm Autoprocessor box (not very expensive for the manual-crank model)-- and the processing cartridge that was provided with the film.

Oh, and there was also a B&W version that was faster and had more normal density (the color film used additive color filter stripes to produce color).

Also, oddly enough, Polachrome wasn't much more expensive than Ektachrome + processing. [It also has turned out to be much more stable-- my Ektachrome slides from the 1980's look pretty bad now, but the Polachrome ones still seem to look like they did the day they were processed.]

Re:Kodak's pain (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37348074)

My mum bought one of the rival Instatmatic cameras from Kodak ( and I still have hundreds of the developed photos ) but in 1986 Kodak was sued by Polaroid for patent infringement.

As part of the settlement of the case, Kodak recalled my mum's camera and sent her a voucher for the purchase of the equivalent Polaroid model! It was a rather flimsy affair compared to the "Tricorder"-like Kodak.

In the US, the "Instamatic" name was already taken by Kodak's line of inexpensive point-and-shoot cartridge film cameras. But these weren't instant film cameras. I gotta assume that Kodak kicked themselves for that inadvertent lack of foresight.

My folks got a lousy check for sending in the nameplate peeled off their Kodak "Handle" instant camera. I don't think it would have bought any available Polaroid at the time. When I visited last spring, my sister had dug up the old "Handle", sans nameplate, trying to help Mom downsize.

overpriced for the hipster crowd (1)

hessiebell (96039) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341208)

ugh. while i love my SX-70s dearly and think they're a great camera everyone should try, photojojo is ripping people off. perfectly working ones can be found for much, much less money at camera shows and thrift stores.

i will happily sell you one of mine (i have two) for half what they are charging. half!

Re:overpriced for the hipster crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37342374)

You should probably be grateful they're not equipped with shitty plastic fisheye lenses, deliberate light leaks, and other "charming" holga-tastic features.

Re:overpriced for the hipster crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37343084)

Slightly OT, but camera hipsterism is alive and well. I have a panasonic GF-1 digital camera I could sell for $300 - $500 more than I paid for it, and buy 2 new GF-2's with the proceeds. There's no difference in performance (maybe the GF-1 has a slight edge in battery life, but it's bigger), the only difference is they got rid of some ANALOG DIALS on top of the camera which the hipsters dearly covet.

Target audience: idiots with money to waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37341300)

ie, hipsters

Re:Target audience: idiots with money to waste (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341816)

Am I a hipster? I'm in my 30s making a 6-figure salary. I probably pay more in taxes than you make in salary. I would love to have a camera like this, as it reminds me of the 1970s when I was a young lad. That camera will complement my DSLR with $10K worth of lenses. Again: am I a hipster, or are you just an idiot? Probably the latter.

Re:Target audience: idiots with money to waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37342536)

am I a hipster, or are you just an idiot?

I can't tell which is correct, but you certainly sound like a young self-absorbed prick with an overinflated sense of self.

Re:Target audience: idiots with money to waste (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344748)

I can't tell which is correct, but you certainly sound like a young self-absorbed prick with an overinflated sense of self.

Now, now. We know that can't be true... if he's old enough to remember wanting a Polaroid in the 70s, he's not that young (probably edging 40 rather than just out of his 20s). :-)

But in all seriousness, if the guy wasn't an obvious douche- and apparently trying to conform to your "idiot with money to waste" image- he might have had a point. I remember thinking how cool Polaroid cameras were in the early 80s, but I never had one myself, so I can understand the appeal.

(In my case, I'm sure it was the cost of the film- not the camera- that was the reason I'd never have even considered it. I still remember the shots back *then* worked out at around £1 each- or at least that's what I was told- because that was more pocket money than I got in a week! And it's still damn expensive... £2.25 in today's money, or US $3.59!!!)

Re:Target audience: idiots with money to waste (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37348082)

Am I a hipster? I'm in my 30s making a 6-figure salary. I probably pay more in taxes than you make in salary. I would love to have a camera like this, as it reminds me of the 1970s when I was a young lad. That camera will complement my DSLR with $10K worth of lenses. Again: am I a hipster, or are you just an idiot? Probably the latter.

I see a Corvette and chunky gold chains in your near future . . .

Used to covet these .. (1)

n5vb (587569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37341956)

.. with the passion only a kid on a meager allowance could muster ..

The $100-150 (in early 70's money) price tag was so far beyond my reach it might as well have been on Mars, but I got to experiment with them at the camera shop (while the film was still affordable enough that they were willing to tolerate me taking the occasional demo shot) and got hold of one for a whole day through an elementary school project.

I've been fascinated with them ever since. The whole idea of a folding instant-film SLR captured my imagination the day these things first hit the stores, and while it wasn't quite a "pocket" camera (unless you had big pockets!) like it was advertised, it was pretty compact for its day and amazingly so for what amounted to a sheet film camera. And if you've never watched an SX-70 photo develop, there's something really magical about the way it slowly emerges from the blank background -- always fascinated me more than the peel-off Type 107 and 108 film I used to shoot on in those days.

Still love those old Polaroids. I have a 104 and a (very much abused but mostly intact) first gen SX-70 in the process of being restored at home. (Yes, I finally got one! ;)

Polapulse Battery (2)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342214)

One of the overlooked innovations in the film pack was the flat Polapulse battery. It was designed to deliver bursts of high current needed to drive the flash and run the motor that ejected the exposed film. A friend in high school saved the spent film packs from his parent's camera and did an experiment in Electronics to measure the current these could produce using a VTVM (Vacuum Tube Volt Meter) and a known resistance. Even partially drained, ten of these batteries wired in series delivered an impressive amount of current.

Re:Polapulse Battery (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#37343708)

That seems very unlikely, given that wiring batteries in series gives you more voltage not more current.

Parallel gives lets you add the currents...

Re:Polapulse Battery (1)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344312)

It was over thirty years ago. It's likely I've forgotten the fine details.

Re:Polapulse Battery (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344382)

Back in the day I used a Polapulse battery to power a TRS-80 Model 100, partly because I was too cheap to burn AAs in the thing, partly because I was too cheap to just throw away the Polapulse batteries, and mostly because it was such a cool idea. The only problem was that I never could get a reliable enough connection to those contacts, so I switched to lugging around a 6V lantern battery instead. Years later I got a solar cell pack (about 100 sq in) for a Powerbook 145. It used the exact same plug with opposite polarity, so I made an adaptor cable and the Model 100 could run completely off of the solar cell.

I hope TIP gets their chemistry right soon, the SX-70 was some brilliant technology for its day.

Nice... (1)

ArtFart (578813) | more than 3 years ago | (#37342664)

I was very near ready to get rid of my Dad's old Polaroid cameras. Now, if someone would only start making and processing Kodachrome again...

blast! (1)

samsonov (581161) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344056)

Already sold out!! I have been looking for a SX-70. Hmm, $350 though? Wowsers.

Henry Dreyfuss's masterpiece (2)

buckles (168018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344062)

The SX-70 is one of the greatest works of industrial/product design, ever. Henry Dreyfuss's masterpiece.
IF we taught design as required unit in art in public schools, the work of Raymond Lowey, BelGeddes, Dreyfus , Noguchi, there would be many competators to Apple Inc.

Dreyfuss never designed a second rate anything. Look it up if you cannot name at least three famous examples of his work, you will be surprised. He said 'I don't do packaging' meaning that he needed to be involved from the very beginning of the design/engineering process. Do not expect an accomplished designer to put a sexed-up veneer on a piece of crap at the eleventh hour.

I have two of these cameras just crying for film stock. A thing that is just a pleasure to hold. Who directed the James Garner commercials for this camera ? Ahead of their time.

I still have a polaroid.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#37344820)

The business edition, with magnification and time stamp!
Haven't used it in quite a while.

Dr. René Belloq was right (2)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#37347778)

"You see this? It's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it and bury it in the sand for a thousand years and it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it. Men like you and me."

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