Thrifted Finds: The Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera


A little while ago, I started following searches for various Polaroid cameras on eBay ... within my budget. The inspiration came from Reddit user ---- and his multiple exposure shots on an old passport Polaroid camera. They tend to run in the $100 range, so I reduced my price to the under $50 to see what was available. Then I found this hulking behemoth and was determined to get one for myself. I started bidding on a reasonably priced Macro and the seller would even throw in a bunch of 990 film. I lost the auction... which meant that I needed to have one now.

I ordered this camera for a little bit more money and no film, but it arrived within a day and was in impeccable condition ... unlike the Polaroid portrait kit I ordered that has yet to arrive and the seller is suspiciously not answering my emails. The battery case was clean and empty - as opposed to the SX-70 that I'm trying to find a service to refurbish as it is covered in old battery acid. There was no mold, unlike the Polaroid close-up kit I purchased on eBay. So really, this thing was basically a Christmas present from a stranger... that I paid...

This thing is huge. Like... so huge that my boyfriend's dad glared at it with a pretty severe look of disgust when I was loading batteries into it. It's very difficult to hold and I'm still wrapping my head around focusing, using the separate flashes, etc. But it's pretty high tech. I really love it even though I have no idea where I am going to put it. It's obviously a work horse and not the prettiest of my cameras that I display. That being said - it makes really neat pictures.

So I ordered some Spectra-type film from the Impossible Project. I'm very hesitant to use their film. It's being sold as a final product, but the film just operates like a Beta product at best. It's really just very fickle even when you operate the film exactly as you are meant to. I wasted $25 on some black and white 600 film a while back.... I only got two exposures to come out. And it's as expensive as Polaroid was on its final leg... but at least you got an extra two exposures out of it. So I don't hold Impossible in the highest regard, but at least they're producing film for people who still like to use Polaroid cameras.

And to be honest - I got some pretty great results with the Spectra film:

It's especially nice photographing the dead flora in my back yard. They almost look like paintings with their muted colors. I'm even appreciative of the mishaps that come with shooting on the Impossible film - they're more like happy accidents rather than the total fuck ups I had with my last pack of Impossible film. So the camera might be ungainly and the film might be fickle, the photos are just lovely. I have a feeling I'll be spending a great deal of money on Spectra film this year.