So last week I was in Goodwill in Vinton, pretty much just killing time. Any time I go in there (or any Goodwill store) I make a bee-line for the electronics section to see what unwanted gems might have shown up since last time I was in.
Typically I’m interested in their motley of computer odds and ends and more recently any cameras they happen to have. Vinton’s Goodwill tends to have a rapid turnaround of cameras; last time I was in they had a matching pair of Polaroid JoyCams, before that they had a couple of 35mm point and shoot zoom cameras.
I’d sort of been hoping they’d have still had the two JoyCams; earlier I’d been listening to an episode of the Inside Analog Photo podcast where they talked about 3D photography and my fevered imagination had those two matching lenses sitting side-by-side in a homemade camera designed to put a stereo pair of 6×6 images onto 120 slide film. Probably for the best that the JoyCams were gone.
In their place were a couple of other Polaroid cameras, a One Step 600 and an earlier type which I can’t recall the model name of. The older camera was pretty beat up looking and the lens had some nasty gouges in it, but the OneStep was in excellent condition and found it’s way home with me, along with the most plasticy camera I’ve ever seen, a VistaView 35 XL, with fixed focus, fixed aperture and fixed shutter speed. About the only metal part is the hotshoe (which after some remedial work, turned out to be a real, live hotshoe capable of firing a flash). Putting film in it doubles the weight and quadruples the value of the camera.
It’s funny really, I never quite “got” the reasoning behind shooting Polaroid or plastic, toy cameras, yet in one fell swoop, I ended up covering both of those bases and am looking forward to trying them out with a level of anticipation that’s clearly on the wrong side of lunacy (and no, I haven’t been drinking Rodinal or anything to get into that state).
I’ve already run a half dozen frames through the VistaView as a test, before rewinding and reloading the film in my Canon. I’ll see how they go but I can see this being a fun wee thing loaded up with cheap store brand 200 film, or maybe some of that inexpensive Arista Premium rebranded Tri-X from Freestyle Photo. Or maybe I’ll have 8 inches of blank, fogged nothingness. Who knows, until the film is souped…?
As for the Polaroid, I have options for obtaining film stock. There’s eBay, where you’ll sometimes find a seller who hasn’t been overdoing it on the hillbilly heroin and prices their expired 600 film within the bounds of sanity. There is also, of course, the Impossible Project and their new, experimental PX600 variants. Best of all though, the new, rebuilt Polaroid themselves are planning a comeback for the 600 cameras and film.