What is openSX70?
It is many things at once, but simply put, openSX70 is an open source (hardware and software) project that aims to take the SX70 beyond what is possible now in a cheap and non destructive way.
Its main project at the moment is to make an Arduino-based replacement PCB (ECM in Polaroid lingo), and corresponding Arduino code to gain manual camera control, allow for double exposures, auto 600 and 100 exposures and much more. At the same time the project aims to be a hub of all things SX70 related, with documents concerning tips, repairs or hacks, like the electronic modification of your camera to accept 600-ISO film. There are other web pages about the SX70, but most seem to be abandoned. We would like to compile as many as possible resources.
What does an openSX70 camera that a regular SX70 doesn’t?
In a nutshell: manual control of the camera:
- Manual shutter speed control. Within the limits of the camera (around 1/175th)
- Double/Multiple exposures.
- B (Bulb) mode.
- T mode.
- PC flash connector.
- f.8 (maximum aperture) flash operation.
- Optional delayed mirror operation (to avoid vibrations).
- Built-in optional light meter.
Where is openSX70?
But, hasn’t this already been done?
Yes… and no. There are at least two awesome commercial projects that accomplish something quite similar. I recommend them both. But this is the first open source project.
So openSX70 is a product?
Again, yes and no, since it is an open project anyone will be able to make his own pcb (as long as it has no commercial purpose). Since we recognize that disassembling an SX70 and replacing the board is not for the faint of heart, if the project is successful and there is interest we might set up a network of associates that will do it for you. That would help us gain economies of scale, and, cover operating costs. Once the pcb is in the camera you will be able to reprogram it fairly easily as many times as you want.
Ok, I like it, how can I get one?
Please bear in mind that openSX70 is not a product as such, and will probably never be. Think of it as an ever improving experimental platform. As an open project, it is basically free as long as you use for non commercial purposes under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)” Since the process of replacement of the SX70 board is not trivial, you need special tools, and you can damage the camera in the process, parts as such will probably never be sold to general public. The board replacement is non-destructive but has to be done carefully. See previous question about openSX70 as as product.
So then… how “far” ahead is the project now?
We are quite ahead in development. We have successfully designed and manufactured several iteractions SX70-sized PCB that works (well not at first). These prototypes, nicknamed “Chocolate”, “Aladdin”, “Len’s & Bellows” have PCBs professionally manufactured, and I hand build and tested. Then Len’s & Bellows was professionally assembled by SeeedStudio Fusion PCBA. Unfortunatelly there was a mistake in the assembly. Now thanks to SeeedStudio we will manufacture again a new design “Pathfinder” soon. The test PCBs are on the way. Once we test the new PCB we will manufacture ten test boards professionally assembled. This had led to a few prototype cameras that work great (except for the light sensor). Few selected are receiving kits to test the openSX70 on their cameras!
We are also trying to replicate and make more affordable some of the special tools needed to open and fix the SX70, and find replacements and alternatives of critical parts.
Can I help?
YES! We need your help, join us! We want YOU to join us on the openSX70 project in any capacity that you wish, we need your help, we have to set up the openSX70 portal, we need arduino and microcontroller programmers, we need help designing the PCB, and above all, we need enthusiasts to join and build a community to propagate the project!
We want to encourage and support for similar commercial products and services already on the market, but specially the dedicated people that repair and improve these amazing cameras. All for the love of the SX70 camera.
If you have a skill, or maybe a repair manual, a tool, a picture of a tool, and, in general anything that might be of interest related to the original Polaroid/SX70, and are willing to help please contact us, if you want to keep it confidential. We will honor your wishes, but keep in mind that we need to keep these cameras alive.
What Open Source license do you use?
As a legal reminder please note that the code and files is under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)” is free and open for hobbyist NON-COMMERCIAL USE.
How can I contact you?
Tags: #openSX70 #SX70 #Polaroid #Arduino #TIP #ImpossibleProject #InstantFilm #DIY #OriginalPolaroids