I forgot to mention in my previous blog that I had also taken a couple of instant cameras with me for my sail back from Plymouth to Brighton.
I decided to take both my Leica Sofort and Polaroid SX-70 camera.
I took some great instant photos on this trip, especially on my SX-70 camera but unfortunately during the sailing, I stored the instant photos in the outside cockpit table……huge mistake!!!
There was a lot of water that got inside this table during our sail after I put the photos in there, which damaged most of the photos (most annoying!). At least it’s a mistake I certainly won’t repeat and again, thinking about it, I should have known this table would get damp when exposed to the elements so completely my fault!
Anyway, here are some photos I managed to salvage that were taken on the Leica Sofort (some are a bit damaged as you’ll see):
I took 8 photos on my Polaroid SX-70 using the SX-70 film but there were only two photos I was able to salvage from them as most of them stuck together when they were wet and completely ruined the photo when pulled apart (sigh…):
Unfortunately I’ve not been out sailing since we got the boat back to Brighton but am hoping as the weather improves and if I can tolerate the cold temperatures, I may get out again for a sail around Brighton soon.
First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year!
December has been an extremely busy month for me socially (as I’m sure it has been for a lot of people) so I’ve not had chance to blog as regularly as I normally would.
This means that December was a perfect opportunity for me to take some instant photos over the festive break.
I spent Christmas day with my husband’s family and took along my Leica Sofort to take some instant photos.
We had great fun playing about with this camera and taking various photos. The photos were also a nice keepsake on christmas day for the family to take home with them.
Here are a couple I managed to keep from Christmas day:
On boxing day I met up with my family. I have a couple of nephews who are 4 and 7 years old so I thought it would be perfect to use up a few packs of the Disney Polaroid film that I had in my film stash.
I also decided to use my Polaroid 600 camera rather than my SX-70. The main reason for this was so that my nephews could have a play and take some photos too.
The Polaroid 600 camera is a lot more robust for children and there is no risk of accidentally putting fingers through the bellows like on the SX-70.
My nephews had great fun trying out the camera and were so excited to see a photo come out instantly and watch it develop in front of their eyes.
The Disney film is expired so I wasn’t sure if it would be any good but thankfully the photos came out fine and they had the old 70s/80s retro feel about them which reminded me so much of my childhood:
On New Years Eve my Japanese friend stayed with me. In the daytime we managed a quick visit to the Photomatic shop in Brighton where we had these instant photos taken:
In the evening, we ate out with a few other friends at a Japanese restaurant in Brighton. We then went onto a local pub with some friends (and my dog) as my husband was DJing there.
This again, was the perfect opportunity to take my Leica Sofort with me and whilst I gave a lot of the photos away, I managed to keep a couple:
Also at Christmas, my Intrepid 4×5 Camera and Enlarger Kit arrived which was very exciting to receive!
I’m very much looking forward to trying out this new camera and also creating a darkroom for my new enlarger.
2020 is going to be another exciting year for my film photography and I look forward to blogging about all my new adventures!
Recently, I decided to book a last minute holiday to Tenerife to get some winter sun before Christmas.
I had never taken my SX-70 camera abroad with me before, and since discovering the use of the ND (Neutral Density) filters that I can add to the Polaroid 600 film instead of having the extra bulk of adding the mint flash to the camera, I decided it would be good to take it with me on this trip.
For anybody not familiar with the ND filters, here is a picture of them and they can be purchased direct from Polaroid:
The reason I use the ND Filters is because I prefer using the Polaroid 600 film in my SX-70 camera. This is because I like the different variety of frames you get from that film. The SX-70 film tends to have only white frames which I personally find quite dull.
These were the three Polaroid film packs I took with me:
I took the camera and film in my hand luggage and asked at Gatwick airport if the film needed to be handed over rather than go through the x-ray machine.
I was fortunate enough to speak to a young male employee at Gatwick Security who was a keen film photographer himself and he explained that any film up to ISO 1000 was fine to go through their x-ray machines. Although on this occasion, the film was carried through for me without going through their machines.
I made the mistake of not taking the SX-70 camera out of my bag and somebody different was checking the x-ray machine so they had to do a search through my bag as they thought the camera was an electrical device.
I also had the same issue with the camera through Tenerife security so my advice would be to take your polaroid camera out of your bag (like you would your laptop etc) when going through x-ray at security.
These particular polaroid films had been sitting in my film stash for sometime (since last year!) as I had planned to use them at some point in the summertime but for whatever reason, this never happened either last year or this year.
I had written in a previous blog post about using up my current film stash when I had recently done a film inventory and I knew this was the perfect time to start using up my polaroid film which I’d accumulated over the past two years.
When I got to Tenerife, I realised that all the films I had taken with me had either expired last year or earlier this year.
They had all been stored in the Fridge but I know how temperamental polaroid film can be so prepared myself that I may not get great results with these films.
I decided to first use the Tropical film since that had the most summertime feel to me and it certainly was nice and sunny in Tenerife:
The photos came out fairly well considering the film expired last year. I had to do an initial test shot which I found takes a good 10-15mins to properly develop (oh how I miss the original polaroid film!). This was frustrating when wanting to take further photos because I had to wait since I didn’t want to waste film if exposure wasn’t quite correct.
Thankfully, I found that the film worked fine with normal exposure and and I didn’t need to amend the exposure dial on the camera.
There were streaks on some of the photos but I expected this since it was an expired film.
On the next day of my holiday, I visited a little fishing port close to where I was staying in San Blas and decided to use the summer type coloured frames:
The photos exposed again quite nicely without having to amend the exposure dial on the camera. However, some of the photos were streaky and there was even a ‘lightning bolt’ effect across one of the photos of the fishing boats which looked quite cool but I can imagine some people would be annoyed by this and view it as ruining their photo.
On the following day I decided to use up the primary coloured frame film but the battery that is built into the film pack didn’t work to eject the actual photos so I couldn’t use them at all!
If the film had been in date, I could have returned it back to Polaroid and got a refund or a replacement. However, since it had expired several months ago, I was unable to do this.
One lesson I have learnt from this is that I’ve realised I need to use the Polaroid film within the expiry date if I want to try and get the best image possible.
I’ve got some more expired Polaroid film in my film stash so I plan to use this asap before purchasing anymore.
Lastly, I just wanted to mention that I have an instagram page @natalie_smart_photography where I had posted photos of my trip before writing this post, for anybody that doesn’t currently follow me who may want to.
Since I wrote my blog about the Polaroid 600 camera, I have been completely obsessed with taking photos on a Polaroid camera.
The main reason is because I love the size of polaroid film. I feel the detail that comes from the photo is much greater than what I ever got on a mini instax film.
I was using my Polaroid 600 box camera quite a bit but quickly found myself getting frustrated with it. This was due to it being quite boxy which I struggled with taking out and about everyday with me unless I took a larger bag. I also quickly realised that I didn’t have much control on the focusing, which is fine if I’m taking a picture from a long distance but on shorter distances the photos were hit and miss.
I really love the design of the SX-70 folding camera and particularly loved the chrome and tan detail of some of the models so I knew that this was ultimately the Polaroid camera I would really love to have.
There are different types of the SX-70 folding camera but thanks to the Polaroid book by Rhiannon Adam I was able to decide that I would like to own the SX-70 Alpha 1 which came out around 1977.
The key differences that the Alpha 1 model has to the earlier SX-70s is that they have a built-in tripod socket, a guaranteed split-focus viewfinder, neck strap lugs and a fill flash capability where the flash isn’t limited to just being fired in low light conditions.
I had already decided if I was going to purchase one of these then I would need to pay a fairly high price for one if I wanted it in great condition. On eBay they are extremely popular and can go for quite a bit of money if several people get into a bidding war. There are some that come up cheap on eBay but they are often untested which I feel personally, you could end up paying even more to then get it refurbished. Also, I found that the Alpha 1 models don’t seem to come up as often for sale as the earlier models.
After much research I ended up purchasing my camera from a company called Revival Studio who are based on London. They sell refurbished polaroid cameras and they also come with a 6 month warranty.
The camera was immaculate and beautifully restored. Since the Alpha 1 model has the neck strap lugs, I was able to attach an original strap to the camera which makes it great for carrying around over my shoulder.
I’ve not been disappointed by this camera. I absolutely love it. The folding option makes it quite compact so I can also put it in an everyday handbag.
What’s also great is that I can use 600 Polaroid film in the camera if I use the Mint Flash Bar. I do tend to use the 600 film more than the SX-70 film because of the wider range of editions Polaroid Originals do. The cheapest place I’ve found the flash bar for sale is at Mr Porter where it costs £60 instead of around £80 which seems to be the usual price. You can also use the flash bar for the SX-70 film if taking photos indoors.
Another great accessory for this camera is the Mint SX-70 Lens set which can also be purchased from Mr Porter for £60 so again is cheaper than other websites that sell it for around £85.99. I was pleased to buy mine from there and delivery in the UK was really quick.
I purchased the camera back in September but wanted to experiment with it for a while before I blogged about it.
Since the camera is very transportable I do use it several times a week and I’m beginning to get a real feel for how it works and the best ways to take photos and when to use the light and darken switch depending on the film I’m using in the camera.
I’m at the early stages of experimenting with this camera and currently have tried both the Blue and Pink 600 Duochrome film, SX70 Colour film, 600 colour and black and white films and also expired films which have produced some interesting results!
I’m going to be blogging about the different film types and filters I’ve currently been using with the camera and some of the actual photos over the next week.
Whilst getting some photos developed in my local lab, I bought some Polaroid 600 colour film from them as I was keen to see how the photos would look when taken with my (new to me) vintage Polaroid 600 camera.
This was the first photo I took:
As you can see the photo has streak marks on it and my initial reaction was that there was possibly something wrong with my camera (since I had bought it in good faith on eBay). I also wondered if it was because it had been taken indoors.
I decided to take some more photos outside:
Yet again, more streaks! At this point I wondered was it my camera or was it the film? I struggled to believe it was the film because I had bought it recently from a reputable camera shop in Brighton and not on eBay.
I was reluctant to put some more film in the camera in case it was the camera that was the issue so didn’t want to waste another £18.99.
I therefore decided the best thing to do was contact Polaroid Originals and submit copies of these images and ask their opinion on what they thought the issue was.
I was surprised to get such a quick response within 15 minutes of my initial email explaining to me that they thought the film was at fault. They asked me for the serial number of the film (which is on the back at the bottom of each photo) and upon further investigation they confirmed to me that this film was manufactured by them in January 2018 but the reason for the streaks was most likely incorrect storage and the fact the film was several months old.
I’ve read in the past that the new Polaroid film can have issues with developing correctly but as time progresses and further research is carried out by Polaroid Originals, I think the film quality is improving.
I was relieved to know it wasn’t the camera that was the issue so armed with this information I went back to my local shop to let them know in case they still had any of this particular batch of film left. They informed me that it had all since been sold so I pre-warned them that they may get some other customers coming back to them confirming the same issues with the film.
Whilst I don’t doubt that my local cameral shop had stored the film correctly, I can only put the issue down to the fact that we recently had a mini heatwave in Brighton and perhaps the heat had affected the film whilst on their shelf or if refrigerated and only recently put out after the heatwave, perhaps it was just a dodgy batch of film supplied to them (we’ll never know).
I didn’t expect a refund as quite frankly I had used up all the film, plus the owner of the shop wasn’t there so I understood that an employee may not be in a position to make a decision on whether they were able to do this.
However, whilst I’m extremely pro supporting local businesses, in this instance, I think I’ll be buying a majority of my polaroid film direct from Polaroid Originals.
There is no difference in cost of the film (except for added postage and also the film is discounted if bought in bulk) and Polaroid Originals assured me that if I ever receive a pack of film I’m unhappy with from them, they’ll either provide me with a replacement pack or a complete refund. For this reason I’m happy to pay a few extra pounds for postage.
I’ve since purchased some colour and black and white film from Polaroid Originals which arrived within a few days of ordering and can see that the film has been freshly manufactured in July which is encouraging.
I’ve been extremely impressed with Polaroid Originals as a company. Their customer service is great and I would highly recommend anybody to contact them if they ever have an issue with their Polaroid Camera or film as they are really helpful.
On a final note, for all this particular films faults, I have to admit that I do really like the effect of the middle picture of the West Pier in Brighton as I feel the streaks give the photo an atmospheric, horror look. I think this works quite well with the decaying pier.