Week 38 – Polaroid SX-70 Model 2

In 1972, Edwin Land and his Polaroid Corporation introduced a revolutionary camera. The SX70 was potentially the iPod of its time, a whole new way of doing things. A press of the button produced a color image with no photo lab, no timing, no cracking and peeling. The picture simply happened automatically.

It wasn't cheap, but ol' Ed made you think it was worth it. The camera was a masterpiece of industrial design, a futuristic leather and stainless steel folding wonder. When closed, it was not much larger than a paperback book. (There are reports that Mr. Land had his suits tailored with extra large breast pockets so he could whisk an SX70 from his jacket like a magician.)

The SX70 system would be the father of a series of folding cameras and lesser box cameras, many with auto focus and all with automatic exposure systems. Though its descendants would still be in production 40 years later, their immediacy would eventually be eclipsed by the digital camera.

My example is the less expensive Model 2. Introduced in 1974, this folding manual-focus SLR gave up its stainless steel in favor of white plastic and a slightly more bargain price. I bought it locally via Craigslist, and it still has its original leather case. This is a good thing, as early SX70s lacked both strap lugs and tripod sockets.

I've loaded it with Impossible PX680 Color Protection, and I've installed a neutral density filter on the pack to compensate for the faster modern film.


The Camera Wiki page is slightly outdated as regards current film alternatives, but it has a brief history and photos of the folding variants.

Mike Butkus has the manual, along with manuals for many different versions.

As of this writing, there are over 1400 of them available on eBay. If you are patient and smart, you can get a good example for short money.