On my recent trip to Poland, I brought my Polaroid SX-70 camera as well as a whole lot of film.
Polaroid Land 100 Camera - FujiFilm fp-3000b
A few months ago, probably sometime in November, I went to the Indianapolis Vintage Market. We arrived right when everyone was closing up shop and most of the vendors that were left were willing to part with their wares at a discount. We got a beautiful portrait of a lady for half the price it had been selling for all day. I found a leather camera bag coated in black dust and within, a Polaroid SX-70 missing it's shutter button, but otherwise in beautiful condition. I talked down the price from $20 to $10 because it was damaged, a thing I feel kind of guilty about , but I guess that's bargaining. That being said, I knew it was coated in some kind of battery acid, so I had now idea what I was getting.
I tried looking for a repair service to take a look at it, but wasn't getting anywhere. Finally, I strapped on some latex gloves and went about cleaning the camera with vinegar. I discovered that the battery acid was from a flash attachment included with the camera. The corrosion was so bad that I couldn't salvage it. The bag itself was so heavily caked in acid-dust that I tossed it as well. But I cleaned up the camera and had it sitting there with the shutter button crudely attached with scotch tape. Then I took it off and set about trying to get it fixed.
I went to reddit.com/r/polaroid to find help. They led me to landcameras.com. The guy running the site was extremely kind and patient with me. He sold me a front plate for $30 and sent me a video tutorial on how to replace it myself.
As simple as it was meant to be, I was afraid to break the camera, so I had some trouble popping the old one out. Sure enough, I got the new one on, purchased some Impossible film and tested it out. It works! So a working Polaroid SX-70 (usually a whole ton of money) for $40.
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.