One Year with a Polaroid MiNT SLR670m
It’s an interesting time for instant photography. Peel-apart film got its deathblow earlier this year, meanwhile the Impossible Project released a camera designed specifically for the original instant format, the first in 20 years. And last spring I got fed up with my quirky vintage Polaroid cameras and picked up a MiNT SLR670m — a refurbished SX70, re-circuited to allow control of the shutter speed — hoping it would be the end-all be-all to my instant film shooting desires. I wrote a review after a couple months of shooting and while there’re a couple things that keep it from being the perfect camera — both of which I mentioned in my previous review — a year later it’s still the first camera I reach for when I want to shoot instant film.
I wanted to share some of the photos I’ve been shooting since my last post about this awesome camera in honor of all the recent developments in the instant film community. As with my last review, I’ve tossed in some before and afters with my light meter so you can get an idea for how accurate the Time Machine’s shutter speeds are.
Most of these photos were taken with Gen 2.0 or better film, but there is some expired and/or old stock in the mix which you’ll be able to spot pretty easily. All photos shot within the last year (give or take), some within the last month.
I’m a huge fan of the Pocket Light Meter app for iOS and thought it would be a perfect companion to test the SLR670m’s accuracy. I’ve lost count of how many packs of film I’ve run through the SLR670m, but the Time Machine has continued to be on point with its meter readings. The only exception is when you’re faced with a reading that falls inbetween two shutter speeds, leaving you deciding whether to over- or under- expose.
In these instances, I’ve had mixed results. Sometimes I’ve bracketed two shots from a single scene and found little difference other than some imperceptibly darker shadows. Other times I’ve found choosing to underexpose left my image much darker than I would have liked. In my experience, I find the less light you have in general, the more crucial nailing the exposure will be. In bright, sunny situations you’ll have a lot more leeway.
Below are some side-by-side comparisons of light meter readings from the Pocket Light Meter app, with the resulting Polaroid next to it.
So, I haven’t completely cleared out my Polaroid closet. I still have a Spectra for point-and-shoot fun, and I keep an SLR680 on deck when I’m going to a social gathering and want to take quick, fun photos with a flash. But those are the only times the SLR670m leaves my side and I’ve only fallen harder for this camera since the Impossible Project upped their game in the last year with the latest developments in their film’s formulas. I did pick up the new I-1 but haven’t had a chance to get to know it just yet, though I anticipate it filling a niche that my other cameras can’t compete with as well. Some people have shoes; I have cameras… Okay, I also have lots and lots of shoes.
For the casual instant film shooter, this camera is probably a bit more than you might need or are looking to spend. But for anyone who’s serious about their SX70 collection, this is still hands-down the best instant camera I own.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review! Feel free to leave a comment here or on my Polaroid-only Instagram account (@polasmidja) with any questions, I’m happy to help spread the Polaroid love.