Too Many Polaroids, Too Little Time

SX70 Spectra Polaroid 600

I’m taking stock of my Polaroid camera collection and it’s time to make some decisions about whether I have too many cameras and if so, which ones should I eliminate from my collection and convert into cash for film to continue to feed the instant addiction.

This is my current line-up of eleven integral film cameras:

  1. SX-70 Tan and silver
  2. SX-70 SE Black on Black, Mint Camera
  3. SX-70 Black on Black, Impossible Project
  4. SX-70 670a Black on Silver, Mint Camera
  5. SX-70 Sonar Black on Black, Impossible Project
  6. SX-70 690 SLR Black on Black
  7. 600 SE
  8. 600
  9. Spectra SE
  10. Spectra
  11. Impossible I-1

And that doesn’t include any of my Fujiflim Instax cameras (Mint Camera TL70 and Neo Classic 90) or Polaroid pack film cameras (Land Camera 250 and NPC 195). For now, I’ll focus on the Polaroid integral film cameras listed above.

I absolutely love the folding design and optical quality of the glass lenses in the SX-70 but six ofbthis model is way too many to manage and with film costing $3 per exposure, it simply makes sense to reduce my options down to what I prefer to use most often.

I’ll keep two of the classic SX-70s. Both the Mint and Impossible Project cameras will be retained since they’ve been refurbished and include warranties. I’ll also keep the 670a because it uses 600 speed film. The SX-70 Sonar and a recently acquired 690 SLR also make sense as perfect autofocus options (and flash with the 690) for SX-70 and 600 film versatility. That reduces my overall SX-70 inventory from six to four cameras and a backup with each camera model offering a distinct feature set and advantages/disadvantages.

As for the others, I’ll get rid of the 600 I picked up at a camera store when I was on a business trip and needed an instant fix. I found a better maintained 600 SE camera on eBay and I like this particular edition with its signature blue button. I’ll do the same with a Spectra that I found in a local antique market while retaining its SE cousin that is also in better overall condition.

With respect to my newly released Impossible I-1, I’m not as impressed with this camera as my others. I can appreciate the lower price of film since the camera has an integrated rechargeable battery eliminating the need for I-type film to include batteries in the film pack, but I don’t like the viewfinder attachment and lack of an SLR viewfinder. The need to keep the camera charged also takes away from some of the spontaneity of shooting if you need to charge the camera before a shoot or worry about needing to recharge while shooting. I have found the camera to be very good at portraits but less capable for more general use where lighting may be a challenge and the ring flash isn’t strong enough to provide the necessary illumination.

So three of my integral film cameras may be destined for new homes. Keeping eight means I still own a lot but the peace of mind in knowing that I’ve reduced the inventory/clutter down to what makes sense for what I tend to use is somewhat comforting. I’ll continue to struggle with whether I should just hang onto some of the extras to use in the event of failure of other repair needs, but any of the models I keep could easily stand alone as my only integral film shooter—eight is plenty and I’ll also have the four other Instax Mini and Polaroid pack film cameras.

Film costs money and having too many cameras sitting around encourages me to get distracted with which camera to use and keeping them loaded instead of staying focused on perfecting my skills. Time to release them to the market and convert cameras into cash that will probably be spent on more film.

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