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Object Timeline

1972

  • Work on this object began.

1999

2012

2014

2017

  • You found it!

SX-70 Camera And Case, 1972

This is a Camera and case. It was designed by James M. Conner and Henry Dreyfuss and manufactured by Polaroid Corporation. It is dated 1972 and we acquired it in 1999. Its medium is polysulfone plastic with a layer of copper-nickel-chromium alloy, applied leather. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The SX-70 was the first camera to achieve one-step photography. Introduced in 1972 by Edwin H. Land, co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, this single-lens reflex camera revolutionized instant photography long before smartphones and Instagram, today’s global photo sharing app. Polaroid manufactured cameras as early as 1947, but the SX-70 embodied major innovations in both form and function. Unlike previous cameras, this camera required the photographer to merely point, focus, and click—then wait three minutes for the snapshot to develop. The first to employ an instant film pack that included a built-in battery, the SX-70 ejected pictures automatically, without the chemical residues of previous models. Sleek and compact when folded flat, the camera is encased in a stylish brushed-chrome and leather shell, enhancing its appeal as a desirable accessory. It achieved a cult following upon its release, used by photographers including Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and Andy Warhol.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Communicate: Instant Photography Before the Internet .

This object was purchased from Carole Krohn and donated by Neil Sellin. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Neil Sellin.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Lytro Camera, 2012
  • silicone rubber, ultra-light anodized aluminum, glass, plastic, li-ion....
  • Gift of Lytro, Inc..
  • 2013-13-1

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (a: open): 12.5 x 10.5 x 17.7 cm (4 15/16 x 4 1/8 x 6 15/16 in.) (a: closed): 4.4 cm (1 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

SX-70 Camera And Case, 1972; Designed by Henry Dreyfuss and James M. Conner; USA; polysulfone plastic with a layer of copper-nickel-chromium alloy, applied leather; H x W x D (a: open): 12.5 x 10.5 x 17.7 cm (4 15/16 x 4 1/8 x 6 15/16 in.) (a: closed): 4.4 cm (1 3/4 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Neil Sellin; 1999-2-2-a,b

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18667965/ |title=SX-70 Camera And Case, 1972 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 October 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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