If you’re anything like many of the photographers that I know, you’ll have plenty of cameras that sit on a shelf purely for aesthetic purposes and that never actually get used for anything.

Lots of people these days – rightly or wrongly – have old film cameras gathering dust on said shelves purely for the look, which never actually do what they were intended to do.

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to just cut out the middle part and have an ornament on your shelf that looks – certainly from a distance – like the “real” thing, but is in fact anything but. When it’s made out of LEGO you also have the added bonus of the time well-spent putting it together too.

The LEGO OneStep SX-70 – At A Glance

  • 516 pieces
  • Age 18+
  • Camera, film box and prints included
  • Real ejection mechanism
  • Price: £69.99
  • lego.com

Step forward the LEGO Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Camera, which is one of two LEGO cameras launched in January 2024 – the other being the Retro Camera 3-in-1 build which also has plenty of old school vibes but is considerably cheaper, so is also worth considering (if you’re like me, you’ll have ended up with both of course).

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

Some of the pieces for the LEGO Polaroid SX-70. Image credit: Amy Davies

The Polaroid set is designated as one of LEGO’s “18+” sets, with its primary audience being adults – known as AFOLs – Adult Fans of LEGO – in the LEGO community. This is also reflected in the price point, which at £69.99 is not super cheap and is likely to appeal mostly to camera and photography aficionados who also occupy the central space of the Venn diagram with LEGO enthusiasts (somewhere I sit firmly).

This set is also an “IDEAS” set, which means that the original idea came from a fan, rather than a LEGO employee. Ideas can be voted on by the public and those which are popular can be properly designed and put into production. There’s been lots of such IDEAS sets in the past, with many of them being LEGO recreations of real objects – such as a typewriter.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The LEGO Polaroid OneStep SX-70. Image credit: Amy Davies

An interesting one that is currently available to vote on is a Leica M6. There’s nearly a year left to run on the idea, but it already has several hundred supporters – it’ll need to get to 10,000 before LEGO will consider turning it into a real set. Fingers crossed it makes it across the line as I’d love to add it to my shelf next to the OneStep SX-70.

The Polaroid OneStep SX-70 was posted on the Ideas page in early 2022, reaching the magic 10,000 in less than two months and being approved by LEGO in the same year. Looking at the finished build next to the original idea reveals that it’s very similar – as you would expect it to be as it’s essentially aiming to emulate, as closely as possible, a real object.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The box of for the LEGO Polaroid OneStep. Image credit: Amy Davies

It has been designed by Marc Corfmat (known as Minibrick Productions), who, as we learn from the included instruction manual, is a mechanical engineering student – go figure.

I’m a reasonably experienced LEGO builder, but I tried to approach this set as if I was picking it up for the first time, perhaps since childhood. If I had to guess, a lot of our readers may be tempted in by this set having not put together a set for some time. I’ve also built the 3-in-1 Retro Camera too – look out for a review soon.

LEGO Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Camera: Build Quality

This is the first LEGO set I’ve encountered which uses paper bags for the packaging of the bricks inside the box – paper has been promised to replace the plastic for a while, so it’s good to see it finally starting to happen, helping to give the product more sustainably – and I think it also adds to the “classiness” of the set, something which you might expect or hope for considering its price point.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The paper packaging inside the box is a step away from unsustainable plastic (though there is still some as you can see). Image credit: Amy Davies

As well as the brick packets, there’s also the fairly hefty instruction manual. Inside it you’ll of course learn how to put together the OneStep SX-70, but you’ll also learn some interesting facts about the build design, its designer, and even the history of the Polaroid, too – all excellent touches and again reflective of the high price point.

The bricks are separated into four different packages, which you approach in order as you move through the instruction manual. Personally I find this is a good way to “portion out” my LEGO builds, if for example my time is restricted or I know I need to do something else in between – I know I can complete a bag or two and save the rest for another time.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The starting instructions for the LEGO Polaroid SX-70. Image credit: Amy Davies

I was able to complete the set in a couple of sessions of about an hour each – as mentioned, I’m a reasonably experienced LEGO builder, so the time may vary. There’s no rush though – and naturally a lot of the enjoyment of LEGO is the build process so why not take your time to enjoy putting it together.

If you’ve put together any LEGO recently, you’ll be familiar with how the instructions work – everything is pictorial and fairly obvious to follow for the most part. This is a set designated as “18+”, so you can expect some trickier parts than you might find in something designed for kids.

This is particularly true for the mechanism which ejects the film, which makes use of some slightly fiddly construction elements, which you need to make sure you build correctly – follow the instructions as carefully as you can and don’t be afraid to go back to double check you’ve put all the pieces exactly where they should be. I’ll admit here that I asked my husband for help as the mechanism wasn’t working properly – he’s an even more experienced AFOL and I knew he’d be able to spot the problem far quicker than I. It was something which was entirely my fault however, but it’s worth remembering to check and double check those instructions.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The SX-70 Film Pack. Image credit: Amy Davies

A nice touch is that the camera comes with a film “pack” to store the “prints” in. Here we’ve got some actual printed pieces, whereas elsewhere in the set stickers are used. Actual printed pieces invariably look better, but of course cost LEGO more to put into production – so it’s nice to see them included on a set at this price.

For the actual camera, you have the choice to affix a sticker which says OneStep or a sticker which says “1000” – this is because the OneStep SX-740 was called the Polaroid 1000 in Europe, so you may feel inclined to use this sticker instead if you remember it that way.

Another sticker is used for the exposure dial on the front of the camera. This looks pretty good, but already the sticker is starting to come away – so again, a real printed piece would have been better if possible. One of the big problems with attaching stickers is that they’re so small, it can be fiddly to get them aligned well. A pro tip here is to use the brick separator that comes with the kit – stick the edge of the sticker on the tip of the separator, using it to line up where you want it exactly before placing it down permanently. That extra bit of dexterity can really come in handy, rather than relying on one’s own fat fingers alone.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The SX-70 about half way through the building process. Image credit: Amy Davies

Another nice touch of this set is that the viewfinder is “real” – as in you can look through it. It’s a clever touch, that means you can play with the camera as if it actually is a genuine OneStep. The film slot at the front can be accessed by folding down a door at the front – here you can insert the fake prints supplied with the set, then (assuming you’ve built it correctly, gulp), press the shutter button on the front and watch with amazement as a real print pops out of the slot. That’s a really neat play feature which helps elevate the set above pure “ornament” and explains why it commands a high price.

The “prints” that are included show Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid, a picture of LEGO HQ, and in a cute touch, a picture of the designer’s sister. The prints have a special coating on and feel as if they would withstand quite a lot of insertion and ejection from the slot – certainly more than enough before you get bored of showing it off. In theory I guess you could also make your own prints to insert here too. I haven’t tried it with any “real” Polaroid prints, but, even if the size is the same, the LEGO prints are much stiffer, so I don’t think real prints would work here in quite the same way, or withstand the mechanism.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

Interior view of the shutter release mechanism – as you can see there are some slightly fiddly pieces to contend with at this point, but be patient and thorough and you’ll get there. Image credit: Amy Davies

Unlike with the Retro Camera 3-in-1 set, the “lens” on the front of the set contains no clear plastic elements. The large black pieces that make up this element however looks pretty convincing from a distance, giving a great overall impression of the real thing.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

A rear view of the SX-70 – showing the viewfinder, which you can actually look through, neat. Image credit: Amy Davies

LEGO Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Camera: Verdict

Overall, this is a wonderfully designed set and certainly looks striking on a shelf. Indeed, it looks like the real thing – definitely from a short distance away.

The build itself is enjoyable – if a little fiddly at times (you might say that’s part of the fun though, figuring it out) – and is a great way to spend an afternoon putting it together.

LEGO Polaroid camera OneStep SX70

The SX-70 with the film pack and prints. Image credit: Amy Davies

Is it worth the £69.99 price point? Although quite a high price, the play features, including the film ejection and the working viewfinder, make it feel like reasonably good value – as well as the fact that it looks so close to the original real deal. I’d perhaps value it at closer to the £50-£60 mark, but you always do expect to pay a slightly higher price for these “Ideas” sets, especially those not intended for quite such a mass market as other sets.

We might see some discounts, depending on how well the set is selling – but it’s equally true that it might be difficult to get hold of if it finds itself a favourable audience. If you’ve got your heart set on owning this, I probably wouldn’t wait too long, but if you’re on the fence, waiting to see if it comes down in price might be worth the gamble.

That said, I can see this being a very popular set with both LEGO and Polaroid / general photography enthusiasts, and had it been available at Christmas time, being top of the “best gifts for photographers” type lists you see populating the internet in November/December – you can surely expect to see it on the Christmas 2024 buying guides.

Amateur Photographer Recommended 4.5 stars

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