Converting A Polaroid SX70 Camera To Use 600 Film

These days, it’s possible to buy a number of different Polaroid instant cameras new off the shelf. That’s largely thanks to the retro resurgence that has buoyed interest in everything from vinyl records to analog synthesizers. However, if you’re truly old-school, you might still be rocking a vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera. Thankfully, there’s a way to convert these old rigs to work properly with the more popular modern 600 film.

The interesting thing about the SX-70 camera design is that its shutter speed and aperture setting are essentially linked together as the aperture and shutter assembly are combined into one unit with a variable tear-drop shaped opening. Thus, the timing of the shutter opening and closing and the extent to which it opens are what determines exposure and aperture.

Thankfully, [Jake Bright] has learned a lot about these unique cameras and exactly how this complex system operates. He shares his tips on firstly restoring the camera to factory-grade operation, and then the methods in which they may be converted to work with modern film. Fundamentally, it’s about changing capacitors or resistors to change the shutter/aperture timing. However, do it blindly and you’ll have little success. You first need to understand the camera’s mechanics, pneumatics, and its “Electric Eye” control system before you can get things dialed in just so.

We’ve seldom seen such a great deep dive into a camera outside of full-fat engineering documentation. [Jake] should be commended on his deep understanding and command of these fine instant cameras from yesteryear. May the Polaroid picture never die. Video after the break.

4 thoughts on “Converting A Polaroid SX70 Camera To Use 600 Film

  1. Interesting. I have an SX70 stashed away, which I got because it had a failure that caused it to immediately spit out the entire contents of the film pack rather than just the pack’s cover sheet. Never did get around to debugging it or researching whether that was a known glitch with a standard fix.

    (We weren’t allowed to have cameras on site for security reasons — this was before everyone had a cell phone with a camera — so the SX70 was officially a “film recorder”.)

    It’s worth giving a nod to the creative/weird non-spherical optics and that made this beast possible.

    And Hackaday-style, to the batteries that had to be flat enough to fit in the bottom of the film pack, and which had enough spare power that some of us rescued them from spent film packs to power other things.

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