Anyone using a Polaroid 600SE and happy with it?
I was thinking of getting a Polaroid 600SE for peel-apart fun and for the 6X9 back as I am a Medium Format guy. I waited for a good deal to come along and in my estimation, one has.
A friend is selling his and has kindly lent it to me to try. It is a full kit (2 polaroid backs, 1 6X9 back, 75, 127 & 150mm lenses, wide angle viewer, various masks) in near perfect condition. It's going for a reasonable price.
Anyway, I've taken it for a spin and need to spend more time with it. I find it hard to work with though, it's huge, cumbersome and I find I fumble about with it when I should be taking pictures - (I mainly use Mamiya 7, RZ67 or a Hasselblad 500). I am keen to see if 6X9 can work for me.
Are there any other 600SE users here and do they find working with it a problem or does your 600SE work for you?
Many thanks in advance for your replies.
Here are some thoughts that may or may not help you sort through your decision. Not sure what the SE has over the Mamiya presses. OK, I use a Graflex XL, but it is kind of a similar style of camera to the Polaroid 600SE and Mamiya Press. I just like the versatility of these press cameras though I think the XL kind of scares some people. Every exposure requires you to remove lens cap, dark-slide, set shutter/aperture, focus, compose, shoot and wind-on. Not the easiest set-up but I kind of like that involvement even though it takes practice, practice, practice to make it all second nature so you don't goof up. Did I mention that I wished it fit in my pocket? Sure do, but this is med-format film we're talking about here. But here is what you get for the hassle. Compared to the Mamiya 7 you loose the quick handling but gain faster lenses (some f/2.8, not sure what the SE has) interchangeable film backs, closer focus and macro capability plus multiple formats and polaroid capability and affordability. Compared to the RZ you gain the faster lenses, portability and hand hold-ability for low light. Similar with the 500 plus multi-format backs and affordability again. I can't think of another way to get 6x9 and instant film in a rangefinder package.
I bought a set of 600SE to set up a photobooth, complete with 2 studio strobes, at a colleague's wedding reception. The reaction to these FP100c prints, especially compared to the digital prints, was overwhelming positive.
The 600SE is a wonderful camera, and if you have a chance to get the complete package with all 3 lens, you should go for it. Or introduce me to your friend about the deal if you decide to pass
The 127mm lens carries the usual Mamiya signature: razor sharp with beautiful color rendition. The biggest problem that I find with the set up is its bulk, which made it almost impossible to fit into most camera bags. Not to mention that its hard to hide it from my wife at home. Mine came without both the body and the rear lens cap, so dismantling the set for transport wasn't an option. The camera has a second weak point: the shutter release cable is prone to getting cringed, if it is not disconnected from the lens when you set the monster on the table. When the cable gets cringed, the shutter release becomes less smooth.
Overall, I really like the camera for taking instant shots. I'm not too hot about using it also as a film camera, for which there are many (slightly) more portable options, such as the Fuji GW690. I like it also for the fact that it is usually priced lower than the 180, 185, 190 and the 195 series of Polaroid cameras. In your case, if everything is available as a single package, then you should get them all.
I own one and I'm very happy with it!!
I hope I'm not too late with my comment and you still have the GOOSE (600SE ).
As you said this is a monster, huge, nice like a brick but makes beutiful photos either on FP-100c and the discontinued FP-3000B (shame on Fuji) or 6x9 film. I have only the 127mm and 75mm lenses, but I'm not crying for the 150mm because its angle of view is just a bit narrower than that of the 127mm. I'm mostly using large format cameras and I dare to say that Polaroid's Mamiya lenses are very close in quality to Rodenstock and Scheiner lenses of the large format. Of course the camera misses the feaures of a large format one (perspective correction), but with those features it would be even more clumsy.
On the other hand the Polaroid feeling is that grasped me in the digital times. If you shoot a photo on instant film that shows your capability as photographer. You can't manipulate the picture in Photoshop. All it's goods and bads are on the picture (over or under exposure, composition, filtering, etc). As a matter of fact when I first took the camera to a party people were smiling at it but when they saw the pictures they were amazed with the colours and the feeling that those pictures were ready in minutes. To tell the truth both Japanese instant films are perfect.
Today this camera is only for enthusiasts because few people would take the inconveniences it causes with its size and weight, and last but not least you have to be familiar with the light metering because it doesn't have any electronic circuits built in and you have to adjust everything manually (don't forget the dark slide before taking a photo!)
So, I like the camera and take with me whenever I can and by now I have numbers of classic photo albums with instant pictures sticked in it.