Shoot Polaroid 600 Film in SX-70 With Backlit Scenes
No Modifications, ND Filters, or Flash Needed2 min read by
If you know how light meters work and how film’s dynamic range can affect the quality of your images, you may hack your SX-70 to use the incompatible Polaroid 600 film.
You don’t need an ND filter, expensive camera modifications, or a MiNT flash bar to shoot ISO 600 Polaroid film in your SX-70, which typically expects the new ISO 160 film or the defunct ISO 100 film. Instead, choosing a specific scene and lighting will trick your camera into correctly exposing the incompatible film.
In the example above, I exposed a Round Frame Edition Polaroid film meant for the 600-series cameras on my unmodified SX-70 with the typically-recommended exposure settings (not that twisting the exposure dial would help). The tree trunks and branches are clearly visible, and the snow appears brilliantly white. Below, is my Polaroid 600 Green Duochrome Edition film exposure.
This worked for me because the above photograph is a backlit exposure of the tree trunks. And it should work for other backlit types of scenes. Light meters pick an average grey to calibrate their exposures, which gets skewed when the light is directed at the camera resulting in darker-than-expected images.
The snow is so bright in the photo that it acts as a light source in a backlit photograph, forcing the SX-70 light sensor to make a darker-than-expected exposure on film. But since we’re shooting an ISO 600 film that’s 2⅔ stops faster than the ISO 100 film SX-70 cameras expect, we are compensating our scene with those additional stops of exposure.
Essentially, shooting Polaroid 600 film in SX-70 cameras will compensate your backlit scenes by about 2-3 stops of additional exposure. This will work when you shoot against the sun/light source or brightly-lit part of your scenes and require most of your detail to appear in the shadows.