Instructions for a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera

Written by len harris
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Instructions for a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera
Polaroid SX-70 images can be manipulated into abstract art. (Polaroid abstract image by Vonora from

The Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera was the first single lens reflex (SLR) Polaroid camera made. Released in 1972, it brought the advantages of SLR camera photography to the Polaroid world and found a place in many a photo studio and in the bags of many amateur photographers. It captured photos in colour that seemed peculiar to it, and its photos were often manipulated by many into artistic renderings. Polaroid improved the SX-70 over time, eventually releasing models such as the Alpha and the Sonar Autofocusing SX-70.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Hold the camera in one hand and with the other, grasp the sides of the raised section at the rear and pull straight up until it latches.

  2. 2

    Push down the latch on the right side of the camera when viewing from the back. This will open the film door. Remove the film pack from its package, grasp the entire pack by the sides and push it into the film slot with the film tab to the front and at the bottom.

  3. 3

    Close the film door. The camera will whirr and eject the film cover.

  4. 4

    Hold the camera in your left hand behind the hinge. Bring it up to your eye and look through the viewfinder. You should see all four sides of the black frame inside.

  5. 5

    Turn the focusing wheel, on the top deck, just above and to the right of the lens, so that a vertical edge that is at the distance you want to be sharp meets in both halves of the split image focusing circle. Roll the focusing wheel in both directions until you achieve optimum focus.

  6. 6

    Compose the picture within the black frame of the viewfinder. Hold the camera steady. Squeeze the shutter release, found on the front panel to the right of the lens, with you finger on the button and thumb of the right hand at the back of the front panel, until the picture exits the camera.

  7. 7

    Push the cover support strut, on the left side of the camera bellows, to the rear and push down on the viewfinder cap until it latches to close the camera.

Tips and warnings

  • All models of the SX-70 take Polaroid Time Zero SX-70 film. There are 10 pictures in a pack. After taking 10 pictures, open the film door and remove the film pack by pulling on the tab.
  • When holding the camera, no fingers should block the film exit slot.
  • The Sonar models provide autofocus using sonar technology. Just frame and press the shutter until the photo ejects.
  • The SX-70 Model 3 is not a single lens reflex and must be focused by estimating the distance and setting the focus manually.
  • The SX-70 was designed to use flash bars for indoor photography, but flash bars are no longer made. Some flash manufacturers, however, have produced flash adaptors for the SX-70 while others have produced dedicated flashes for the camera.
  • SX-70 Time Zero film is no longer made by Polaroid but Polaroid 600 film can be adapted to the SX-70 and can be found online.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.