MiNT Flash Bar 2

A Principal Polaroid SX-70 Accessory

4 min read by

I love my Polaroid SX-70. It brought me tons of joy over the past two years and more prints than I could ever hope to get with any other film type. But this unmodified film camera comes with a slow shutter, slow film, and slow lens, making it difficult to shoot in all but perfect light conditions. MiNT Flash Bar 2 helps fix some of these drawbacks.

SX-70 shots taken with flash can look a little eery. Due to its larger aperture than that of most other Polaroids, the background falloff can be quite aggressive in really dark environments, though the points of interest are usually very crisp. Some of the sharpest photos I ever took with my SX-70 were made with MiNT Flash Bar 2. This is probably because SX-70’s up-close flash distances force smaller, shaper apertures, and the bright light adds texture to delicate scenes.

Created by the same company that made its name modifying old SX-70 cameras for full manual control and insane shutter speeds, Flash Bar 2 is a modern take on the disposable bulbs still available on eBay. There’s nothing tricky about fitting it on top of the camera and powering on, though it does come with a few extra features that I felt made it well worth the money.

Light bulbs that burn out after one use are bad news for the environment. MiNT Flash Bar 2 makes shooting instant film a little cleaner by reducing such waste. Together with two rechargeable batteries, it’s been serving me for two years producing no trash whatsoever — I’ve even kept the box it came in; it’s a great piece of packaging.

MiNT Flash Bar 2 colour filters.

The flash bar also comes with two colour filters: hot pink and lime green. They are fun to use on certain occasions though I would recommend increasing the sensitivity of your SX-70 by 1-2 notches when using those. Especially with the pink one as it tends to cut most of the light.

The filters are cleverly engineered to snap via built-in magnets. You could even stack them to create an orange filter.

My MiNT Flash pink filter is quite aggressive, though it could be lovely for some ideas. Here I took a picture of a chocolate soufflé in a red ramekin on a white table.
My MiNT Flash green filter happened to make this indoor-lit scene look only more natural.

Shoot 600 film with MiNT Flash Bar 2 with no modifications to your SX-70.

My favourite feature of this flash bar is its ability to precisely cut its output to match Polaroid 600 film sensitivity.

600 round frame film. Shot with unmodified SX-70 and MiNT Flash Bar 2.

While I’m immensely grateful to be able to still buy fresh film for my SX-70, I often find myself throwing jealous looks in the expansive aisles of the cool 600 frames. Duotones, decorated borders, and even the round frames — only available for 600-series cameras. Having MiNT modify my SX-70 would come to about $1,000. A simple ND filter is a janky and incomplete solution. But a flash unit that I’d be using, either way, is perfect.

The only possible downside here is that the trick will not work in the full sun or when there’s enough light for the camera to skip firing the flash.

Having used MiNT Flash for over two years, I struggle to find anything negative about this product.

By the way: If you decide to buy your MiNT Flash Bar 2, please consider getting it from Adorama using this link so that this website may get a small percentage of that sale — at no extra charge for you — thanks!