Meet the evil twin of the Polaroid SX-70: the Polaroid SLR 680, a legend among the legends!
image from ricohmatic
It all started a year ago when I was looking around for a decent Polaroid camera to play around with. My friend actually got me interested in the famous SX-70 foldies, but at that point of time, the Time Zero films are already out of production and modifications have to be done to the SX-70 to shoot 600 films.
While I was researching on the internet about the SX-70s, i chance upon a website(can’t remember which already!) that introduced the SLR 680. What caught my eye is the similarities it has with the SX-70s and most importantly, it shoots 600 film natively! This would mean that I do not have to modify anything(and break anything) to shoot a Polaroid!
So i started hunting around for a decent SLR 680(or SLR 690) from my local used camera shops all the way to eBay! Well.. it took me 8 eBay auctions before I manage to get my hands on it. And thank goodness it works perfectly well(it was an AI-IS item).
The SLR 680 is similar to the SX-70 Sonar model, which featured a function sonar(the golden round thingy in the middle), which is capable of very accurately measure the distance between the Polaroid and the subject. (It probably only don’t work if u are cam-whoring yourself using a mirror). And the best part of the SLR 680 is, it has it’s own built-in flash, something that most SX-70 models do not have. The flash is pretty accurate as it will adjust the level of flash based on the distance that was read off the sonar, giving me a proper exposure for every shot.
My SLR 680 got me amazed by the types of shots that a Polaroid can produce. One of the effect that shocked me bad was the bokeh effect that it is capable of doing. I never knew that Polaroids can do it back then and when the shot came out, I was pretty amazed. It kinda made me love my SLR 680 more!
The other amazing effect that the SLR 680 can do, is a short 5 second long exposure. But for this effect, it’s more or less a love-hate relationship because the metering will not be really accurate and once in a while, if it’s too dark, i do get blanks or really underexposed shot.
There are quite a number of SLR 680 popping up in auctions and estate sales if you wish to get one but it is probably more uncommon than the SX-70, therefore, finding one might be a little harder as compared to the SX-70s. And it’s a pity that 600 films are also dead(for the time being). If not, it will probably be the best Polaroid(for me) that was ever made.