Josh Gross, a managing partner at design and development studio Planetary, has published a writeup detailing the conversion of an old defunct Polaroid SX-70 into a fully functional digital camera. The finished product retains the same external design as the original, but the innards have been heavily modified to include a Raspberry Pi Zero W and CCD sensor.

Gross details the rebuild in a blog post on his website, where he explains the project's trickiest aspect was fitting the CCD and lens camera assembly into the Polaroid's head. The original focus wheel and exposure wheels stayed intact, as well as most external components.

Moving on from the lens assembly, Gross says he removed the Polaroid camera's Fresnel mirror and replaced it with a small 6.3cm (2.5in) screen in order to provide a live image preview. The screen assembly and battery were mounted within the camera's film storage area, and the rest of the components were added.

One of the final images captured with the finished product.

Gross used OpenCV and Python on the software side for processing and displaying images. Size constraints required the use of a fisheye lens, so Gross used software to remove the fisheye effect for more authentic final images. Overall, he explains the project took 8 months of ‘on-and-off’ work to complete. Below is a full gallery of images shared with permission from Gross:

‘Was there a point to it? Absolutely not,’ Gross says in his writeup. ‘Was it fun? Hell yeah.’