Oh the SX-70 OneStep Polaroid. The one with the rainbow strip down the front to be more specific. It’s iconic and if you are from the younger generation it might seem familiar because the Instagram main icon has taken some inspiration from it. This is the first of the box non-folding SX-70 cameras that were made as a cheaper alternative to the folding SX-70’s. The camera was first manufactured in 1977 and had many iterations until the mid eighties.
The SX-70 Onestep is mainly made out a plastic body with most of the camera being black and having a white faceplate with a rainbow stripe sticker going down the bottom center. It was manufactured with a single-element 103mm f/14.6 plastic lens and has a fixed focus with an automatic exposure system. You can focus on objects anywhere from 10.4 inches to infinity. This camera does not come with a built in flash, but instead has a socket on the top panel where you can insert a flash bar or electronic flash.
This camera can sometimes be found in stock in my Etsy Shop or you can also find it on Ebay and in thrift shops. The average cost of the camera ranges from $20 to $100. The camera drives a higher price than others due to its classic/iconic look. The main problem that I tend to see when I get these types of cameras is that the socket for the flash bars no longer works or the light meter sensor no longer works. It is most disappointing to find that the light meter no longer works. All of your Polaroids usually come out overexposed, but you generally don’t figure it out until about 3 photos later.
The SX-70 OneStep Rainbow Polaroid currently takes film from The Impossible Project. That is the only film that I really trust to still be used. If you buy expired film from Ebay or thrift shops you take the chance of purchasing film that is dried up and unusable or just so old that all of your Polaroids are washed out and and covered with streaks. You can find film from Amazon.com from the following links for both Impossible Project Color Film and Impossible Project Black & White Film. It can also be bought directly from The Impossible Project. The camera can take both SX-70 film as well as series 600 film. Although in order to use 600 film with your camera you will need to adjust the film down to about 100 ASA with the help of an ND filter. I find that the easiest way to do that is to buy the HERE.
The SX-70 OneStep camera does not come with a flash, but it can accept flash bars and electronic flashes. I would highly recommend finding an electronic flash since flash bars are no longer being produced so there is a finite number of them left in the world. Both flash types can be easily found on Ebay.com and in specialty camera shops. Each flash bar has 10 one time use flashes with 5 on each side. If you run into some trouble with having the flash bars go off you can sometimes run an eraser over the contacts to clean them. When you are using the flash your subject will be best lit if they are between 4-8 ft from you, otherwise your subject will appear to bright/light if they are within 4ft or too dark if they are beyond 8ft. This camera has a fixed focus anyways so everything that is 4ft and beyond is going to be in focus, so I wouldn’t really try to take any pictures within 4ft.
Lighten/Darken Control Knob
For most outdoor use you will not need a flash unless you would like to use it for flash fill. So the next thing that you have to worry about is the lighten/darken control to the right of the lens. Most times I start out by keeping it in the middle but if it gets very bright out or if you are in low light and don’t think the flash is going to reach all the way you can adjust the knob. Either looking straight at it you turn it to the left to make it go lighter or to the right to make it darker. What this essentially does is it covers up the light meter on the the camera with different shades of dark plastic so the shutter stays open for a longer or lesser time.
Overall in taking photos with the the SX-70 OneStep my main issue that I run into is that alot of the images come out washed out and overexposed. You tend to forget that the camera does not have a flash, but you still try to take photos inside. This causes the camera to want to keep the shutter on for longer, but if you are holding the camera you are more than likely going to have a shaky hand and the picture will come out blurry and maybe overexposed. If you really want to take a photo inside without the flash I would put the camera down on a hard flat surface and then push the shutter button to keep the camera from shaking. This is what happened the the photo below. It is actually the last photo that I took in the Youtube video below.
The next few photos were also taken indoors but with the flash, which made them alot more sharp and better exposed.
It also takes great photos outside.
So those are the basics, and now you are ready to go out and shoot some amazing Polaroids! I think this camera has an amazing design and can easily fit in your bag. Having the flash bars instead of a large bulky electronic flash still make the camera pretty portable.
Below is a super short video on how to load film and install a flash bar or electronic flash onto the SX-70 OneStep Polaroid.
If you really like this camera and it’s design as I said before you can sometimes find in my Etsy Shop at this link here. If it’s not in stock you can always drop me a note and I can source it for you for no extra cost and make a reserved listing just for you.
Most times the manual for this camera is no longer with the camera itself, but I was able to get my hands on a hard copy of it. You can download it at the link below.
- Single-element 103mm f/14.6 plastic lens
- Fixed focus
- Electronic shutter
- Programmed auto exposure; long exposures possible
- Has Flashbar socket for flash; accessory electronic flashes were also available
- Rigid plastic body
I hope that you have enjoyed this review. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I have left anything out.