Nice cheap way to get into pack film and SX70 film?

Discussion in 'Instant Cameras, Backs and Film' started by GarageBoy, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I'd like to try both out
    Easy to find batteries and no modifications would be best, just something inexpensive I can play with

    Thanks
     
  2. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    Almost all of the Polaroid Land Cameras minus the 250 can be had for $5-30 used if you look at flea markets, eBay, garage sales, and shopgoodwill.com.

    If you want one that doesn't require mods, you'll have to get something like the Land Camera Colorpack series which use AA batteries. Although, honestly the mod to put in 3x AAA batteries isn't that difficult.

    You can still find the batteries for the older units, they are around $10 USD each I believe. Which is about what you'd pay for the batteries and holder to convert it anyway.

    The film itself, you can either go with expired Polaroid packfilms and hope for packs that work, or buy yourself some Fujifilm FP-100c which is under $10 USD currently. Sadly their wonderful BW film has been discontinued and has gone way up in price, but it's worth trying just the same... FP-3000b. You might also be able to find some of their even older discontinued FP-100b film as well.

    SX70 however is a different story. The cameras are coveted and expensive if they work typically. Most of the ones I've seen have gone for $50-in the hundreds for a refurbished one. And film for these either comes from The Impossible Project which is pricy at $25 for 8 shots, or looking for expired packs and hoping for the best.

    Most of the pack and Polaroid expired films go for $20-30 a pack of 10 shots in usually questionable condition. My experience has been that if you get a pack with 1-2 good shots in it, you are lucky. All of the ones I've purchased expired have been dried up chemicals or just don't distribute the chemicals well and you end up with poorly developed washed out images.
     
  3. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    The Sonar seems to be less expensive than the magnum opus regular SX70? Also, any one the prontos/one steps any good? I'd prefer the SLR>Sonar>nothing at all
     
  4. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    I personally own the Land Camera 101, 320, Colorpack IV and ProCamera. I like the 101 and 320 because of the rangefinder for focusing over guessing the feet to subject distance. So if you want a Land Camera, I'd suggest getting one with the rangefinder. I believe some of them have a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and tend to run more money. Both of mine are Polaroid's own, one folds into the body for the cover to fit over, the other is attached to the top and doesn't budge. Focusing is pretty easy, like any rangefinder, you just slide the little lever/buttons on the top at the sides left and right while looking into the rangefinder hole until you get alignment, then use the larger viewfinder hole to line up your shot. Easy peasy.

    My other Polaroid is a One Step 600 that I got online for $20 with a pack of film. Ironically, it was the least "messed up" expired Polaroid film I've come across since for the camera. It's a nice little camera and does the trick, can shoot Impossible Project films or expired 600 series films etc.

    I've only owned one SX-70 and sadly it did not work and was in bad shape when I got it so I have no experience with these minus what I've read in my search for an affordable working unit. There's a great list out there of all the assorted Polaroids and what each model is compared to the ones before it that gives good details from unit to unit that helps. But honestly the best way is to look at the photo forums and places like Flickr for images, see what images you see that you like, see what films they're using, look around on here as well.

    I think the SX70 users are pretty passionate about the model and features of their cameras and would be able to give a much better idea of what model and features exactly you need to look for. I'm still just looking for an affordable working unit myself.

    Still on the search for the SX-70 that works... Good luck! Just keep your eye out, they will come along at some point when you least expect it. :D
     
  5. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    Also, if you do have your mind set on the SX-70, don't be afraid to pick up accessories and film as you run across them before you get the camera. Finding film and close up lenses, for example, ahead of purchasing the camera is a nice way to be ready for when you do get the camera you want. And you can do your research to pick the right one for you.

    And, if you want a way to get into the film they are, there are other cameras that shoot the same film as the SX-70 that are much cheaper to get you going as well.

    I personally would get a Land Camera first to get into the Polaroid world. You can get film cheaply new, they are wonderful for double exposures, and once you get going, you will learn a lot about what features and functions you like and don't like and have a better idea on what to buy for the more expensive models.

    Here's some info to digest on the models and such:
    http://www.ebay.com/gds/Polaroid-SX-70-Camera-Guide-/10000000003449903/g.html

    And a discussion on which models to get and avoid:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/polaroid_/discuss/72157623093563687/
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Over here folding packfilm-cameras are rarities at fleamarket, spooled film cameras I even have never come across.
     
  7. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    Good to know, AgX. I wonder why that is? Here, I run across the Land Cameras all the time and the 600 series Polaroids even more so.
     
  8. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Hmm, hasselblad Polaroid backs are cheap...
     
  9. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    None of the packfilm backs are cheap in the US that I can find. Or I'd probably have found one for use with my Bronica and adapted one for use with some of my other medium format cameras. :sad:

    Most of what I was finding online was $100-200 or more for my Bronica or the generic backs that one can use with Graflok cameras etc.
     
  10. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    Define cheap? I found a RZ67 back for $39 on ebay
     
  11. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    Cheap is relative I guess. And everyone has their idea of what is cheap. $39 for a Polaroid back to me is cheap. Considering that the ones for my Bronica are $50+ USD, and I've seen them for some of my other cameras that go for $80-200.

    For me, it would be related to what a standard film back costs vs the back+shipping vs how much use I'd get from it vs the cost of a Land Camera itself.

    When it comes to Hasselblad stuff, it's always a bit expensive because it's good quality and the name carries weight. So I'd expect more money for the same kind of product then a Bronica back that does the same thing. And so on.

    Anyway... GarageBoy, have we helped here? Maybe if you give more details on what exactly you hope to accomplish with the camera(s), your intended usage, what you'd like from it etc will help us aim you more in the right direction?

    I don't know where you are located but I will be happy to keep my eye out for things for people here locally if I come across it and it's within the price range you want. I've found cameras and film for people before a few times.
     
  12. Lee Rust

    Lee Rust Subscriber

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    I've gotten into instant film pretty seriously in the past year, via a Polaroid Land Camera Model 100, Colorpack II and Fuji PA-145 film back on my 4x5 camera (for the Fuji pack films) plus a Polaroid Model 600, SX-70 and two Spectras (for the Impossible Project films). The cost of the Polaroid cameras ranged from $6 for a Spectra to $75 for the SX-70.

    The Fuji pack film makes nice images and isn't too expensive. The old 1960's and '70's cameras usually work pretty well, although it takes a while to get used to their primitive autoexposure. I've tried drying, cleaning and scanning the negatives from both B&W and color and they're fun to experiment with. Taking a photo with pack film is a deliberate process though, especially if you're worrying about saving the negatives.

    When choosing an automatic Polaroid pack camera, I would recommend the older rangefinder models with the "Scene Selector" switch on the front. This allows full aperture of approximately f10 in low light situations, which works very well with the Fuji FP-3000B B&W film (ISO 3000).

    The integrated Impossible films avoid the muss and fuss of goopy negatives and waste paper, but this convenience is offset by the 40-60 minutes it takes for an image to fully develop. This is not Instant Photography, it's a One Hour Photo. The slowness makes it very hard to make compensating adjustments in exposure or lighting, plus the $3 cost per print is a serious disincentive to experimentation. Generally, the colors in Impossible prints are somewhat murky, with a yellow or blue-green cast overall.

    Films for the SX-70 and 600 cameras (PX type) are prone to streaking and blank spots because of uneven developer spreading. The SX-70 that I have is an early model with manual focus and indeed it's a wonderful mechanism to unfold and behold. However, the camera was originally designed for ISO 100 film and the PX-70 film is actually quite a bit faster than that, so you must remember to adjust the exposure control wheel in the 'darken' direction whenever you open the camera. My Model 600 camera is awkward and clunky and the flash always fires no matter what, but at least the PX-680 film is the right speed for that camera.

    I've been much more pleased with the Impossible film for the Spectra cameras (PZ type), both in the wider aspect ratio of the photos and in the more consistently acceptable color and exposure. Spectra cameras date from the 1980's and '90's and have sonar autofocus, sophisticated autoexposure and variable flash. They come in several versions, the most useful type being the original "Spectra System" models with the switches on the back that control functions like autofocus and flash override. The later "Spectra II" cameras lack these switches, but otherwise perform well.

    I haven't tried the Impossible B&W films yet, but they are reportedly very fussy about temperature and need to be carefully dried to ensure long term image stability. Overall, the Impossible Project films are a work in progress, but their image quality is steadily improving.

    No matter which Impossible film you use, be sure to purchase the appropriate "Frog Tongue" accessory that fits your camera. The emerging print is very vulnerable to light when it first zips out of the camera and keeping it covered with something like the Frog Tongue for the first 5-10 seconds is very important for final picture quality and contrast.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2013
  13. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I just bid and won a Polaroid back for my dad's hasselblad that I could borrow for $20
    Still would like to play with something that'll cover the full image

    I just want one to take more casual photos of friends
    The instant photography aspect gets everyone excited and more comfortable vs. sticking a giant F3P/MD4 combo in their faces

    Also looking for some gift ideas for Christmas
     
  14. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    $20? Nice! I keep looking at the Bronica ETRS backs for the filmpacks. I just hate that it only uses a small part of the image. I mean I could crop it down but why can't they use the whole thing and just extend the back aways and maybe do some kind of adjustment for focus? Dreams.

    I was at the local flea market shop with the camera booth on Sunday and they had quite a few Land Cameras there... a ColorPack for $7, a 101 for $30 and a 450 for $40, another booth had a Colorpack for I think $20. They also always have 5+ of the 600 style Polaroids, those are always cheap usually $5-25 a pop.

    I want that 450, it has the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder. I may go back and take a battery to see if it works and buy it.

    I don't need more Land Cameras. I do want an SX-70 but holy smokes they are expensive. And the places who are selling them all redone and cleaned up are literally asking $200-400. Who in the world told them their cameras that are cleaned up and working are worth that kind of money, seriously. And who would pay that? I am struggling to allow myself to spend $50-75 for a good working SX-70.

    GB, have you figured out which model of Land Camera you might want? Any luck finding a SX-70? Win the lottery? :D
     
  15. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I personally bought a 440 and a 523 battery for a friend as a present
    For myself to play with, I might get a 250, though I've seen 350s/450s cheaper, which is weird because they're just 250s with a timer and different flash

    The 100 is appealing, as the original pack camera

    SX70s are EXPENSIVE
    The one step doesn't have flash options

    Ideally, I'd like to plug a flash into whatever I buy
     
  16. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    If you want to use a flash with it, you need to get a Land Camera that has the old style flash connector and get yourself hot shoe adapter. Then you can plug the newer flash in and just hold it when taking shots. I've also seen people glue a cold shoe onto the top of the camera and do the same newer flash with it running via an adapter to teh old plug in on the Land Cameras with it.

    I think the Colorpack Land Cameras all only come with the old style 4 sided cube flash so unless you are good at electronics and hacking a hot shoe, those are out. They are def cheap though.

    I like my 101 and my 320 both quite a bit. They are nearly identical in function minus the 101's rangefinder folding under the front cover. I'm looking for a 250 but may get the 450 I mentioned just because it's available and has the Zeiss RF on it over the 250s which seem to be harder to come by.

    I keep looking for an SX70 and hoping my camera guy will have one in his booth, but I don't -need- it so I'm hoping to stumble across it one day at a good price. I don't care if it's not pretty as long as it functions 100%.
     
  17. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Hmm, so I hooked up a 440 to a random flash on PC cord and it seems to work?
     
  18. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    That is correct, any flash that uses the old style pc cord should work including newer flashs on a hotshoe -> pc cord adapter.
     
  19. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I've got a 250 with an AA conversion which was really quite simple, although I did have to hack the body to fit an on/off switch in place of the integrated one that it came with (can't remember why it had to be replaced but it did). I also have a couple of big shot cameras, although their reliance on magicubes (not the regular flash cube) makes them a bit of a nuisance. The flash is hard on your subjects too. I have vague plans of replacing the regular Big Shot lens with an LF lens in a press shutter so that I can use electronic flash. I also have a Fuji Instax 100 which is fun. They're cheaper to buy than the mini version and the film is pretty close in price so why not use the larger film?
     
  20. Eugen Mezei

    Eugen Mezei Member

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    That was good information. I thought about buying from Impossible, but this info is not mentioned by them and I did not find it anywhere else. Now for shure I would give my money to Fuji and continue to buy their FP-100c.
     
  21. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Member

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    In addition to the SX-70, there are the "SLR 680" and "SLR 690" Polaroid cameras: they fold up identically to the SX-70, but differ only in their use of sonar focusing (w/manual override) and use of type 600 film.

    For my SX-70, I have SX-70 "Time Zero" film that I bought new around 2006 and have kept in the refrigerator, but using today produces washed out brownish images. Only a few years ago, the color quality was still good.

    For my SLR 690, same story for my old 600 film, though it's not as bad as the aging SX-70 film.

    I have new Impossible SX-70 and 600 film, but haven't tried it yet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  22. rgperedo

    rgperedo Member

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    I have a Polaroid Colorpack II and it is excellent. I bought it at a yard sale about 6-7 years ago, but they pop up on eBay for a steady $5-15 and they're great little cameras. It takes the peel apart Fuji film, which i've never had a problem with. I think this is probably the cheapest way to go , also it takes 2 AA batteries, no need to get $15 batteries or conversions.
     
  23. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Impossible has come out with their 2.0 version, which develops much faster (you don't have to shield it from light, you can see the image start to form in 20 seconds, and it is fully developed in 5 min). It's still pricey though, but you don't have to worry about the long developing times like you did with the older versions of their film.