Polaroid SLR 680 SE instant camera, $6.

If this Polaroid 680 looks familiar, it may be because it looks almost exactly like the legendary Polaroid SX-70 instant camera that I cover in another gallery entry. The SX-70 was made from 1972 until around 1977, and the 680 was made from 1982 until 1987.

As you're probably already aware, the SX-70 camera can easily sell for well over $100 on eBay. The 680 is listed here because it can match or exceed what the SX-70 sells for. Although the 680 it's not as common a find as the SX-70, it certainly is worth keeping an eye out for.

If you're familiar with the SX-70, you know that one of its most noticeable characteristics is its unusual long, thin shape when folded up. The sonar-operated autofocus system used on the 680 makes this camera a couple of inches longer than the SX-70 when folded up, making it look even more unusual. As you can imagine, once you know the profile of the folding Polaroid camera, there's little problem spotting an SX-70 or a 680 on a yard sale table.

Thanks to the weird shape these cameras assume when closed, it's often just as easy to spot them when they're in their cases. This particular camera was actually inside its soft black leather case when I spotted it, and the first thing that caught my eye was the bag's unusual dimensions. These folding cameras came with both hard cases as well as soft cases, so if you learn to keep an eye out for the shape of their cases, you'll be well rewarded.

As with the SX-70 camera, the battery for the 680 is contained in the film pack. This means that if there's still film in the camera, you may be able to test the camera by just shooting a photo. But if there's no film in the camera, there's not really much you can do to test it other than open it and close it and look for anything broken or bent.

This camera still had a pack of film in it, so I was able to take a photo to prove to my eBay bidders that it actually works. Finding one of these old SX-70 or 680 cameras nowadays that still has film in it is becoming more of a rarity because film has been getting harder to come by in recent years. And since Polaroid officially stopped production of the film in early 2006, you can bet that prices for existing supplies will go nowhere but up.

This Polaroid SLR 680 SE sold on eBay for $183.

Photo of Polaroid 680 instant camera