What Is The Best Vintage Polaroid Camera To Buy HOT!
After years of shooting with vintage film cameras, the most frustrating part of the experience has been the wait. I would shoot incredible photos and get the film scanned weeks later. By the time I would get my scans I lost all the excitement over that shoot.
what is the best vintage polaroid camera to buy
Wanting to continue shooting with film, but also having the instant gratification of reviewing the photos I decided to explore old Polaroid cameras. After trying countless different old vintage Polaroid cameras, I put together a buying guide. I hope this helps anyone looking to buy their first Polaroid camera!
For the sake of this article, we will primarily focus on the integral SX-70 film and 600 film type of vintage Polaroid cameras. These two types of old Polaroid camera models use the most advanced vintage film that produces quality photos that are long-lasting. They are also some of the most accessible with readily available film.
The practice of shaking a Polaroid picture comes from much older Polaroid cameras that used a peel-apart film. Many people shook this film as it helped speed up the drying of the chemicals that produced those pictures. This is not required for the Integral Film which is used by 600 film or SX-70 film vintage Polaroid cameras.
Additionally, you can also purchase refurbished vintage Polaroid cameras directly from the Polaroid website. This could possibly be the best place to buy your vintage Polaroid 600 and Polaroid SX-70 cameras. These certified cameras are sold at a premium but are guaranteed to be functional.
Using this more flexible vintage 600 polaroid film, the Polaroid Supercolor AF vintage camera is one of the best Polaroid 600 cameras produced. Resembling the Polaroid Supercolor 635 the 670 AF improved upon those models with its ultrasonic focusing module that allows for focusing from 60cm to infinity.
Unlike most vintage Polaroid cameras which use autofocus, the SX-70 lens has a manual focusing capability. This helps with creative freedom. The lens also has a maximum aperture of f/8 allowing for a shallower depth of field and great bokeh. This is significantly higher than the 600 film cameras with their f/14 maximum aperture.
Regardless of what camera you end up buying, you will need to get yourself some Polaroid film to match your camera. Buying actual old vintage Polaroid film is almost next to impossible, and not to mention expired by now.
They might be retro, but the best instant cameras are still very on-trend, capturing your best moments and then developing and printing the results in minutes. Reliving your memories on Instagram is one thing, but there's something to be said about how that same instant gratification is achieved in physical, nostalgic printouts from instant cameras.
We think it's a better buy than the Instax Wide 300 camera, which hasn't seen an update in eight years and is rather cumbersome to use. If you want the biggest instant photos possible, this is arguably the best way to go about it.
Arriana Vasquez is an updates writer for Wirecutter and a photographer. Her photography ranges from studio portraits to influencer, product, and street photography. For Wirecutter she has worked on several camera related guides including the best instant printer, best tripod (and monopod), and best cell phone tripod.
This decision comes down to answering three main questions. First, how large of a camera do you want to carry around in order to take instant pictures? Second, how much are you willing to spend on film? Third, beyond simply point-and-shoot functionality, what additional features are you looking for? Once you answer these three questions, which instant camera is the best camera to buy for your needs becomes much more obvious.
The best instant cameras are still incredibly popular, even in today's digital age. We'll help you choose the best one so that you can start capturing and printing your very own retro photos.
It's the simplicity of the best instant cameras that makes them so appealing for people of all ages and experience levels. After all, they're so straightforward that they make some of the best cameras for kids (opens in new tab) as well as the best cameras for beginners (opens in new tab).
As I read the instructions for my Polaroid Now, I was surprised to see that they advise using the camera inside under well-lit conditions for best results. While that might be true, it was not clear up-front that I was buying a best-indoors camera for my very-much-outdoors trip.
Hi, I just had a question about your Polaroid Now review from a year ago. You mentioned that the pictures were not as high of quality as the original cameras. My wife and I are 57 and the pictures you took pictures of and posted on your review look as good or WAY better than most polaroid pictures we remember from our young days when these cameras were all the rage. What were you comparing your picture to, that you thought they were worse? Thank you so much. Our daughter (21) wants one for the old-timey effect. We are reading reviews. Thanks!
Now, most of the instant cameras out there use simple autofocus. This sounds enough for beginners in polaroid photography or people who just want to have an occasional snapshot. However, the manual focus is a game-changer if you want creative freedom and experiment with polaroid photography.
As I wrote in other polaroid articles, instant cameras are made for close-ups. It might be hard to get crisp details in landscapes, but the SX-70 is probably the best instant camera out there in close-ups. That said, move close to your subject, choose an interesting background and see how crisp your subject will be and how dreamy the background will look.
On the other side, if you are more into point-and-shoot photography or enjoy shooting smartphone photos, the SX-70 might not be for you. Other polaroid cameras will probably be closer to your needs, and you will also enjoy using them more. I wrote extensive reviews for the Now+, the OneStep+, and the Go, three polaroid cameras that are significantly easier to use.
As a camera both for artists and travelers, the SX-70 is a timeless piece of equipment. If you always wanted a more advanced instant camera, the SX-70 is the best you can buy even today, 50 years after its launch.
Having said that, the SLR 690 was so effortless to use. The focussing was spot on, and back in the day when the original Polaroid film was made you can get some sharp images with good saturation. The problem back then was that Polaroids were seen as a naff way of taking photos because other cameras were able to achieve better results and deliver larger prints. When I got I first Polaroid camera in the 90s most people I knew were of the opinion that though you can get instant prints, for the price of the film, and quality of the results, you would be better of using non-instant cameras. It is also nonsense that artists used Polaroid cameras. That point is very overstated. Some artists may have occasionally used them but it was hardly common. Just because there WERE artists who used them, does not mean MOST did. The cameras did not have changeable lenses, produced small prints, most of which would not have been worth the effort for a series artist or pro. The 600 film small images and the a pro photographer or artist would have chosen a much better camera and film to get better prints. Some used the film to test what their final image might look like. The large format Polaroids were used by some artists but when I was using Polaroid in the 1990s, it was mainly seen as a novelty. It was never considered the best way of taking analogue photos. Artists and pro photographers thought of them as useless toys, and even the best cameras produced images that were not really of the shape, size and resolution that would make capturing them worth the effort. You could get better Bokeh with other cameras, and if you wanted a low fi grainy and artistic image, other cameras would have given much better results.
To end my post, I would say that I had a non folding SX70 camera, the type that has a sonar autofocus in. It has an optional Polaroid flash and I got some very good results with that using film manufactured in 2021. I generally find that with Polaroid, turning off the flash gives you really bad results. This was also true with the original Polaroid film. I always hear people saying that it is good if an instant camera allows people to turn the flash off, but in reality, it slows down the shutter speed and gives abysmal results, unless your camera is mounted on a tripod and you have very good natural light. This is also true of Instax cameras where the flash can be turned off. I have used the Instax AF 500 and the SQ6 and when you turn the flash off you get these dark, washed out and out of focus images. The reason most instant cameras intended for the general consumer have an auto flash is because the manufacturers know that that is the way to get the best results. Without a flash these cameras struggle. Pack film cameras delivered better results with the flash off, and I have several photos taken with a vintage Polaroid Pack film cameras with the glass lenses and rangefinders. Even if your photo turned out dark, it was still sharp. With integral film, you either get a washed out mess or something out of focus.
Before I go. I would like to remark that I had much more fun using the Polaroid peel apart cameras. The ones with the glass lenses like the 250 I used to have gave razor sharp images that wipes the floor with integral film. The film Fuji made was excellent and it was a sad day when they stopped making it. I think the best way to use Polaroid was to get one of those old cameras with glass lenses and Zeiss rangefinders. I wish Fuji reintroduces that film, but they probably got rid of the machinery. That was the best way to show people what Polaroid could be. I took some photos using the Fuji peel apart film on an old 250, not long before Fuji discontinued the film, and I am glad I did because those photos were amazing. I suspected Fuji will stop the film, so I sold it literally months before the announcement came. I know new pack film is being made by another company but it is way overpriced and looks pretty poor. Maybe someday it will get there. I hope so because if you want great Polaroid photos, pack film is the way to go, as long as film can be found. 041b061a72