So, here’s the situation…
Polaroid SX-70 cameras are amazing. However in order to use many of the films that are available for it, SX-70s need to either make a longer exposure than it would normally do or have less light reach the film. There are three ways of doing this:
- Dial the lighten/darken wheel to the darkest setting and hope this will be dark enough to give the correct exposure (a bit hit and miss).
- Modify the camera by removing the little circular disc of tinted glass from the front of the camera (don’t forget to replace it though if you use film specifically designed for an SX-70 camera).
- Apply a filter to the pack of film without altering anything on the camera at all (this is the method I use all the time – instructions below)!
When to use a film pack filter…
- If you are using a classic Polaroid SX-70 camera and want to use original Polaroid 600 or 780 film
- If you are using a classic Polaroid SX-70 camera and want to use IMPOSSIBLE PX 680 Color Shade or PX 600 Silver Shade films (600 ASA)
When NOT to use a film pack filter…
- If you are using a classic Polaroid SX-70 camera and want to use original Polaroid Time-Zero film
- If you are using a classic Polaroid SX-70 camera and want to use IMPOSSIBLE PX 70 Color Shade (100 ASA)
- You’ll need a sheet of LEE 210 – 0.6ND gel filter material (see stockists below).
- Print out this template – trace the shape onto the filter material (I use a pen for writing on Cd’s).
- Carefully cut out your filter with sharp scissors/knife.
- Tuck flaps in under the left and right edges of the film pack – keep the top and bottom tabs on the outside and fix in place with a small pieces of sticky tape.
- Load your film as normal* and you’re ready to go – no need to adjust anything else on the camera.
(I would recommend having two filters cut and ready to use – one for the film pack that is in your camera and another installed on your next pack of film so you’re ready to make the swap when you’re out on a shoot)!
*How to insert the film
Because the Polaroid 600 film was not originally designed to be used in an SX-70 camera there’s a little trick to getting it in the camera – it’s quite easy (and is how you insert the film whether you are using the filter or not)…
Stockists of LEE 210 – 0.6ND gel filter material
The standard size for sheets of this seems to be 20×24 inches which is enough to make dozens of these filters, so it might be worth sharing the expense with some fellow Polaroid users…