November 04, 2022
MILWAUKEE — Retrospekt, the only licensed source for restored vintage Polaroid cameras, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Polaroid SX-70 format with the release of the Polaroid 50th Anniversary Edition Gold SX-70 Instant Film Camera. Each anniversary camera is built using components from vintage Polaroid SX-70 cameras that have been completely deconstructed and restored. To bring the shine to this “golden” anniversary, each exterior is plated in 24k gold and individually numbered as part of an extremely limited run of 50 fully-restored, fully-functioning instant film cameras.
From their workshop in Milwaukee, WI, the team at Retrospekt has restored more vintage SX-70 cameras than anyone, both for their own customers and for Polaroid itself. That kind of exposure has created a special bond — not to mention lots of hands-on knowhow — with this icon of instant photography. To create these very special, limited edition pieces, vintage Polaroid SX-70 cameras have been completely disassembled, cleaned, stripped of their original chrome plating and plated in 24k gold. The cameras are then reassembled with the freshly refurbished internals and finished with the application of new, genuine leather coverings embossed with the anniversary emblem and individual unit number. After being calibrated to ensure their functionality for another lifetime of use, they are encased in special 50th Anniversary Edition packaging.
While the team at Retrospekt has been working on this new release for most of 2022, the story behind this golden camera is 50 years in the making. On stage at Polaroid Corporation’s annual company meeting in 1972, founder Edwin H. Land pulled a folded SX-70 camera from his suit pocket, opened it up and took five pictures in ten seconds. This was the world’s first introduction to instant photography as we know it today. While Polaroid had been making instant cameras and film for decades prior to the release of the SX-70 camera, the new device was an engineering marvel at the time of its release. It was a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, it automatically ejected photos and it folded down allowing it to fit into the inner pocket of a suit coat — all firsts for instant photography. It was also the first to use integral instant film. Development was completely self-contained within the photo’s white border; the same white border now considered the quintessential icon of instant photography.
The camera quickly sold out in test markets after its launch in 1972. By 1973 it was in space, brought by NASA astronauts for use on the Skylab space station. The SX-70 camera was a mainstay of Polaroid’s instant photography offerings for decades and remains in high demand today. Its collapsible body, focusing system and exposure adjustment options give it the perfect blend of form and precision still sought by photographers more than 50 years later.
A small amount of gold-plated Polaroid SX-70 cameras already exist in the world, as they were occasionally given out as gifts to Polaroid employees for milestone work anniversaries. Their extremely low production quantities have made these models highly desirable to collectors.
The Polaroid 50th Anniversary Edition Gold SX-70 Instant Film Camera will be available online directly from Retrospekt.com [link active beginning 11/4 at 12pm CST] for $999 starting November 4, 2022. The cameras use Polaroid SX-70 film (sold separately) and are powered by the fresh batteries built into each film pack.
Retrospekt refurbishes instant film cameras, offering restored vintage models and launching new custom collaborations with both national and international brands — all released as official Polaroid products. Since 2008, they have pursued vintage electronics and the delight of analog technology, breathing new life into Polaroid and 35mm cameras, portable cassette players and classic gaming consoles from their home base in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the last decade, their team has saved over 300,000 devices from the landfill with a comprehensive refurbishment process that faithfully restores each item to perform like it did the day it was originally manufactured.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, it can be easy for digital convenience to become digital overload. Retrospekt hopes the items they offer will provide people an opportunity to slow down, step back and enjoy a more tactile and intentional experience. Visit Retrospekt.com for more information on Retrospekt and its offerings.
Polaroid was founded by Edwin Land in 1937 as an icon of innovation and engineering. The company first produced ski goggles and 3D glasses for the US Army and Navy. It wasn’t until 1943 when Land’s daughter asked why she couldn’t see a photograph of herself immediately that the idea for the instant camera was born. In 1947 it became a reality with the first-ever instant camera.
It was the introduction of the breakthrough Polaroid SX-70 camera in 1972 that launched instant photography as we know it today, followed by landmark innovations such as the original OneStep, instant color film; and the Polaroid 600 and Spectra cameras and film formats.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the swift rise of digital technology eclipsed instant photography and Polaroid announced the end of instant film production in 2008. But that was short-lived; a dedicated group of instant photography fans under the name ‘The Impossible Project’ saved the last Polaroid factory in the Netherlands. Since then, they have been the only people in the world making film for vintage Polaroid cameras.
In 2017, The Impossible Project relaunched as Polaroid Originals: a brand dedicated exclusively to Polaroid’s original analog instant photography products. Bringing analog instant photography back under the Polaroid umbrella was a significant milestone, but it was not the end of the journey. In March 2020, Polaroid took the next step and became one brand, with one name: Polaroid.
For more information, contact:
Kori Fuerst, email@example.com
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