The Polaroid Folding SX-70 on Steroids: A Review of MiNT Camera’s SLR670-S

The MiNT SLR670-S (right) and the original Polaroid Alpha 1 (left)

One of the frustrations of working with the Polaroid SX-70 camera is its fully automatic exposure system. As a well-seasoned photographer, I am accustomed to being in full control of setting aperture f-stops and shutter speeds to determine the correct exposure for my pictures. For Polaroid cameras—including the sophisticated folding SX-70 camera of the 1970s and 80s—the sole user control is the uncalibrated exposure compensation dial allowing the exposure to be adjusted lighter or darker by some unknown factor. Getting a good photo on the first try is unlikely and, on occasion, I have used an entire film pack to get one decently exposed image.

There is but one way to gain some semblance of exposure control on an SX-70 camera and that is to buy a specially modified version.

Enter MiNT Camera, a Hong Kong-based company that refurbishes vintage folding SX-70 cameras, installs new electronics and a new electric eye, reclads the camera with black or brown leather and adds a small exposure control module—something they call the Time Machine—that attaches to the camera’s flash socket. MiNT produces three versions of its camera: the SLR670m has the Time Machine, works with SX-70 and 600 films manually and with SX-70 in Auto mode or with the Time Machine detached; the SLR670-S adds an Auto mode for 600 film and the camera natively shoots Polaroid 600 film with the Time Machine detached; the SLR670-X adds external flash sync and metal cladding instead of the regular leather cladding. There is also a SLR670-S Classic model but it appears to use a pre-Alpha 1 version of the SX-70 camera and does not have a tripod socket—which I consider essential—or neck strap loops.

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Mobile Backup Choices: RavPower FileHub vs. Verbatim MediaShare Wireless

You may recall my quest for the perfect mobile backup strategy for photographs taken while on a long walk. 

First there was the Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2, a nice, compact, lightweight means of transferring image files from my SD cards to flash drives. Unfortunately, the backups have proven to be unreliable with the MobileLite often stalling or freezing mid-transfer. 

That led to the MediaShare Wireless by Verbatim (about CDN $32), also compact and lightweight and successful in backing up my camera cards to flash drives. My review was quite glowing. But I became frustrated with the software. First, it took far too long for Verbatim to upgrade the software to iOS 11. And once it did, I could not get the app to upload photos from my SD card to my iPad. That led to a two month long email debacle with Verbatim support that, in the end, provided no answer.                                                  

That frustration led me to the FileHub RP-WD03 by RavPower (about CDN $50). It’s very similar to the Verbatim unit. It has a slot for USB flash drives or hard drives and another for an SD card. It connects by wifi with an iPad, iPhone or Android device and a dedicated app. Verbatim has its MediaShare app and RavPower has the FileHub Plus app. Continue reading

What’s In My Camera Bag, Part Two (The Other Stuff)

My last post dug into the camera bag slung over my shoulder. Cameras. Lenses. Filters. My creative tools.

As I mentioned in that post, my kit is tailored to the needs of long distance walking where weight and volume are as important as image quality. 

But there is another collection of photographic ephemera, the less glamorous bag of technical bits and pieces required to keep my equipment working, to write blogs, to edit photos. It’s the stuff that gets tucked into my backpack, waiting for the day’s walk to be over and an evening of charging and editing and blogging to begin. Continue reading

What’s in my Camera Bag, 2018 Edition

It’s fair to say my technical approach to photography has shifted. Gone are the days of lugging eight pounds of Nikon bodies and lenses across Europe. Or backpacks loaded down with Cirkut panoramic cameras. Or car trunks filled with 4×5 view cameras, massive tripods and film holders.

No, my gear kit is decidedly minimal these days. With my new emphasis on photographing my walking experiences—let’s call it street photography with velocity—too much equipment simply gets in the way. And it kills my back. Continue reading