Thursday, July 22, 2010

Impossible’s PX film for Polaroid cameras

When Polaroid announced that they were discontinuing production of their film for SX-70 and 600 cameras, a group of independent entrepreneurs calling themselves The Impossible Project purchased the defunct Polaroid factory in The Netherlands and started producing new monochrome film for the millions of Polaroid cameras still in the world. The first film PX 100 (for SX-70 cameras) and PX 600 (for Polaroid 600 cameras) was released earlier this year.

Polaroid SX-70 Alpha camera / Impossible Project PX 100 Silver Shade (First Flush)

Today I received a Flickr-Mail from Ryan, a Film Photography Podcast listener in St. Charles, Missouri USA asking about the PX film.

“Yesterday I got a couple of Polaroid OneSteps from a thrift store, and I'm looking at PX-600 film from Impossible. I'm trying to decide which version of the film to buy, since the First Flush is super cheap. However, the Internet says that First Flush (and even later editions) are ridiculously unstable, and I wanted to know what your experience with it has been. Obviously they look great coming out of the camera, but I'm interested in displaying the actual prints. Have your PX-600 shots been devoured by these crystals that come with humidity? Have they completely faded away like some people are talking about?

The Internet is filled with so much hyperbole in general that I wanted to get a more level-headed assessment from someone I can trust. Thanks!”

Yours in analog,
Ryan Croson

pictured: James Jankiewicz
Polaroid SX-70 Alpha camera / Impossible Project PX 100 Silver Shade (First Flush)

PX 600 Silver Shade
pictured: Joe Kolbek
Polaroid One600 camera / Impossible Project PX 600 Silver Shade (First Flush)


I've boxed most of my PX 100 and PX 600 shots from earlier this year so I'm not sure if there are any fading issues (I guess I should take a look at them)

I consider the Impossible film to be experimental and therefore, any quirks with the emulsion is part of the charm (killer crystals and all).

Impossible PX 100 Silver Shade - Film Test
pictured: B-Movie star Ruby LaRocca
Polaroid One Step 1000 camera / Impossible Project PX 100 Silver Shade (First Flush)

My experience has been a real mixed bag but I have always achieved an image and have always been pleased with the results.

Sometimes I feel that all the whiney Impossible complainers on-line should just go buy a digital camera (laugh)! The Impossible Project has always been very upfront about the nature of their films. The PX film is an artist's medium, period.

If you're looking to save a few bucks, go with the First Flush. I’ve had nothing but fun shooting with it.

Here are some images from my limited experience:

Thanks for writing and listening to the show. Hope to hear from you soon.

Michael Raso


The Film Photography Podcast

Ryan’s Flickr Photostream

The Impossible Project

Ruby LaRocca

Note back from Ryan:

"Hey man,

Thanks for the quick insight. I think I'll roll the dice on first flush. I love the way the material looks and I'm on board with the unpredictability of it. I'll probably hang my prints in front of my dehumidifier to dry them out and hope for the best. Regardless, I'm super stoked to try it out. I've dabbled with instant stuff in the past, but I haven't been particularly taken with it until I saw the stuff that Impossible was doing. Now I can't wait to get my hands on it!

RE: Impossible/new Polaroid haters: I tend to take internet whining with a grain of salt; the people with an axe to grind are always more vocal and visible than satisfied customers, so it can be impossible to tell how many people are legitimately having problems with something."

Rocking and rolling,

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