If you were ever in search of a camera with manual controls and one that shot the larger Impossible Project film, then you most likely know your best option was the Impossible Project’s I-1. All the weird caveats aside, it will do the job. But if you wanted to use the popular SX-70 style of cameras, there weren’t a lot. However, Mint camera manufactures the SLR670-s camera and makes a little device for it called the Time Machine. What this does is gives you control over the shutter speeds while the aperture stays at f8.
It isn’t perfect, but it’s probably one of the best options on the market at the moment. If anything, it’s the single best option shooting Impossible Project film.
Pros and Cons
- The absolute best image quality I’ve seen from any Instant film camera anywhere. Even a bit better than using a Polaroid Land 185 and Fujifilm’s 100 pack film.
- Incredibly bright viewfinder
- Compact folding body
- Time machine is small
- Simple to use
- Folks love being in front of a camera like this.
- Really wish that the time machine had an audio jack for a studio strobe.
- While I know it’s tough to do, f5.6 would be nicer than f8.
You’re best off finding all this info out on the Mint Camera website. But you can also watch our video above to get a better idea.
The Time Machine for the SLR670-s is a little piece that sits right above the main controls: which are exposure compensation and focusing. It’s just like an SX-70. It plugs into the port on the camera and works with it. The camera itself is essentially an SX-70 but more modernized to allow it to be used with various peripherals, a better lens, etc.
On top, you can see a lot of the controls the Time Machine offers. Those are mostly shutter speeds, though you can shoot it in bulb mode and auto mode with ISO 100 or 600 film. The former is very difficult to get your hands on.
Otherwise, you’ll be manually focusing through the incredibly bright viewfinder or using the exposure compensation.
When you’re all done, the SLR670 folds down into a compact package just like the original SX-70. Toting it around feels like you’re holding a book.
The camera in and of itself works a lot like other SX-70 cameras. The viewfinder is pretty bright, and with my glasses on I find it very easy to focus. This is an issue I have with most DSLRs though when you get up to the medium format world, it becomes easier to work with in regards to optical viewfinders. Indeed, this viewfinder is the brightest through the lens viewfinder I’ve seen for an instant film camera.
The Time Machine is a piece of plastic with some metal in it. The package is built pretty darn well though and I’m very sure it will be able to last a while through use.
Ease of Use
Ever use an SX-70? It’s very similar. With the SLR-70 you open the camera up, focus, set the exposure compensation, and shoot. But this time around, you’re shooting manually, so you need to bring out a light meter, set the parameters, and then shoot according to what the meter says.
If you want to shoot automatically, you can simply just use the camera with Time Machine set to an auto mode with one of the two film settings.
As far as image quality goes, this is honestly the best you’re going to get from the Impossible Project film. The lenses in the SLR670 are very sharp, detailed, have nice bokeh, and are capable of some really beautiful images. It truly shows off what the film is capable of delivering.
Of course their film still has slight issues, but they’re workable! For an image this large I’m really in love with the results you can get. In fact, I’m sure most professional photographers would be too.
While what I still really want is an Instant film camera with full manual controls, studio strobe control, and high quality glass optics, I really like what’s possible with the SLR-670 camera from Mint. I also really like what the Time Machine allows me to do. In all truthfulness, I feel you will as well. Granted, the camera is $300 and that doesn’t even include the Time Machine, but it’s well worth it and photography is an expensive hobby to begin with.
The Mint Camera SLR670-s with Time Machine wins five out of five stars. More importantly, it renews my belief that Instant Film can really, really do incredible things in the hands of skilled photographers.