Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

August 24, 2012 § 6 Comments

A new batch of test film via The Impossible Project!   This particular batch is PX-70, optimized for use in SX-70 cameras.  PX-70 is rated at 125 ASA, where as the PX-680 V4B I tested was rated about 640 ASA.  For these tests, I’ll be shooting in various lighting scenarios; in the shade, overcast day, sunny day, indoors, using flash etc.

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— The first image I shot was of our boxer, Maybelle.  She’s been catching/chewing up sticks & tennis balls in the backyard lately.  I shot this with a dark-slide protecting the image from direct light nearing sundown, however when I went back inside and removed the photo, I placed it right side up to develop.  I’m guessing, but it looks as if the anti-opacification juice has been ‘upped’ a little bit.   As stated on their website, this version of PX-70 does take 35-45 minutes to fully develop.

Impossible Project PX70-V4B Anti-Opacifiation Test Film - Polaroid SX-70

Impossible Project PX70-V4B Anti-Opacifiation Test Film – Polaroid SX-70

Off the bat, A HUGE IMPROVEMENT over the PX680 I tested a few weeks ago.  The colors that were in the scene are represented very well in this image.

— My wife and I had a portrait shoot in downtown Dallas.   While I was in the Arts District, I grabbed a quick photo of the new Museum Tower.  When the newsletter came out for this particular test film, Impossible stated that you should “shield from direct sunlight, with little stress if the sun hits it shortly”.  It was an overcast morning, and admittedly I was overcautious. I did shield this particular image and tucked it away in a box to develop.  I cranked the exposure all the way down and fired away.  I checked on it every minute or so for the first 15 minutes and then brought it out into the open light to watch it develop.

Museum Tower - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B - SX-70

Museum Tower – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B – SX-70

— Fair Park: For the following, the image was taken with the exposure dial cranked all the way down and the image was ejected into the open in the shade. The image was exposed to ambient light for about 5-10 seconds, while I flipped it over and tucked it away in a box.  There looks to be little difference in the sky, between the image shielded at the Museum Tower and the image of the Texas Star Ferris Wheel.

Fair Park - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B - SX-70

A peek at The Texas Star – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B – SX-70

— I had picked up some flowers for Synthia, so I decided to use them to test the color indoors.  I set them near the window and cranked the exposure dial down 2/3’rds of the way on the SX-70.  I’m weary of over-exposure; can you tell?  For this image, it was shot near a window indoors, without being shielded, and was developed out in the open.   To be honest, I would probably focus this a little differently if I had the chance to do it over.   In my hurried state of excitement, I just let the autofocus go where it wanted to.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— I went out later to a DART rail station by my house.  The sun had just set, so I went ahead and shot the image, cranked 2/3’rds of the way down & unshielded.  Once it ejected, I tucked it away in my bag.   When I got back to my car (after maybe 2 minutes), I pulled the image out and drove back home.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— Another image grabbed was at a Rangers game.  The last time I went to one, I had shot some with a Spectra & some PZ680.   This time around, I was happy to have the SX-70 loaded up with this test film 🙂  We had tickets alllllllll the way up top and I snapped an image of the viewpoint.   This was shot unshielded @ 2/3’rds dark and was tucked away into a box to develop seconds afterwards.

The Ballpark in Arlington - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

The Ballpark in Arlington – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Unfortunately, since it was an evening game, I didn’t get to shoot as much as I would have liked.   The ambient light faded quickly and I decided to NOT test fate on iffy exposures.

— I went up to Zak’s Donuts to snag a quick pic of a donut with sprinkles.   It would be a good test of the film’s sharpness.   I did the, now, normal routine of shooting it unshielded & tucked it away in the box.  I shot this @ 2/3’rds dark, near a window.   NOTE:  As as I’ve also seen some state online, this particular batch of PX-70 film needs a little more exposure than what you’re used to giving it.   I probably could have shot this at 1/2 – 1/3 dark and been OK.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

— A quick shot of Synthia at the park.   I used the Impossible flash bar by MINT @ 1/2 power and had the exposure dial set in the center.   Shot unshielded and tucked away.  It’s a little underexposed.   I’ll try full power and maybe 1/3’rd dark next time around at this distance.

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B w/ MINT flash bar at 1/2 power

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B w/ MINT flash bar at 1/2 power

— We ate at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Rockwall, TX.   I snagged this photo just outside the restaurant/bar that’s located in the marina.  Synthia suggested to shoot it upside-down.  It was a little tricky but not too bad.  This image was shot 2/3’rds dark and unshielded.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

The last example image shot was the one at the beginning of the article.  I used the Impossible Flash Bar at 1/2 power to fire 3 other flashes in a small studio setup.   I used two strip boxes and a SB-800 flash to help illuminate the scene.  Please excuse the flash stand haha … 

If you’ve never shot Impossible Film before, NOW IS THE TIME to get on the wagon.   Word on the street is that these versions of their films will be available THIS FALL.   Think about it.   Pick yourself up any type of Polaroid 600, Spectra, or SX-70 and you’ll be set!  Because the newer batches of film aren’t as sensitive to light, all you have to do is tuck the image away within a few seconds to develop, OR if you’re indoors, you can watch it develop!  Up until this point, the images have needed a high level of protection in order to keep them safe from ambient light when the initial stages of development had begun.  Shielding the film has been a necessity.   Very quickly, that level of protection is becoming less & less needed.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM HERE

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Using Impossible Project PZ film in a Polaroid 95A

August 17, 2012 § 7 Comments

A couple months ago, I shot a pictorial showing how to use Impossible Project film in a Mamiya RB67.   Ever since then, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of using instant film in various cameras.  The fact that you can use film in a camera it’s not intended for is so cool to me!  You can breathe life into old cameras.  This morning, I was looking at the size of PZ680 Spectra film, and I noticed a dusty old Polaroid 95A sitting on my shelf.  When I got this thing, it was basically useless.  Film for this camera hasn’t been made in a loooong time.

Polaroid 95A

Polaroid 95A

Would the back be big enough to fit a frame of Spectra film in?

PZ680 placed inside the back of a Polaroid 95A

PZ680 placed inside the back of a Polaroid 95A

Like a glove.  I did some quick research online about the camera; f/8.8 with shutter speeds from 1/12th – 1/100th & a bulb setting.  Using this technique, I extracted the photo from my Spectra and put it inside the 95A while in the darkroom,*my closet*.  NOTE: When closed, the 95A’s back holds the film in place perfectly.  Nothing extra is needed to keep the film flat & in place.  If you’re removing film from your camera in the darkroom/closet, you will need a darkslide to put over the top of the cartridge BEFORE inserting it back in the camera.  

– CLICK HERE for the Polaroid 95A Manual –

The camera has notches for focusing from 3.5 – 50ft.  To check its close focus, I snapped a quick photo inside my bathroom, with the lens roughly 21 inches away from the mirror.   I metered the scene; 1/4th,  f/8 @ 640.  I tripped the shutter at the #1 setting @ 1/12th.

EDIT: Once I shot the image, I took the camera into the darkroom/closet to extract the photo, slid it back into an empty cartridge, stuck the cartridge in the Spectra and it ejected the image to start development.

Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid 95A

Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid 95A – 1/12th

SWEET.   I went up the road to Archinal Camera and had Robert test the shutter speeds.   On the 95A I have, the average shutter speeds are …

1.  1/12th

2.  1/20th

3.  1/35th

4.  1/60th

5.  1/65th

6.  1/70th

7.  1/80th

8.  1/100th

When testing, the speeds were a little erratic.   They would jump around slightly, but for the most part, when I pressed the shutter release slowly, the results were fairly consistent.

NOTE: If this is something you are going to try, take in account that with the 95A you might have, there will be some variances to the shutter speeds because of aged mechanical parts.  Also, when using this method, because of the 95A’s limited range of functionality & Impossible’s film sensitivity, you will be restricted as to where and when you can shoot.  

I loaded up another image later on in the evening and shot a 1 second exposure of a reflection near my house focusing at 50 ft.   I used the bulb setting on the 95A and estimated the one second exposure.

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen - Polaroid 95A

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A – 1 second exposure

It’s a little overexposed (and not too great of an image) BUT at least I know for the things I’ll use this for, the focusing works.

Also, for close-ups at 3.5 ft, FRAMING IS DIFFICULT.   I took a quick picture of my neighbor Tom and as you can see, I wasn’t quite centered completely.  The viewfinder really doesn’t work for this distance, so you will have to try and position the lens where you think it should be for the composition.  Tom was really excited to have his picture taken.  His father used to take pics of him with a Polaroid 95A in the 50’s …

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen - Polaroid 95A - 1/35th

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A – 1/35th

Later on in the evening, I grabbed a picture of the South Side building near downtown Dallas.   NOTE: All images are reversed when shot through the 95A … 

South Side on Lamar - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen  - Polaroid 95A - 1/35

South Side on Lamar – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A

If you’ve got a Polaroid 95A just sitting on the shelf, like so many people do, it can still be used!  When/if you try this,  I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK!  As long as there are no light leaks and you gently handle the film when moving it from place to place, everything should be OK.  Granted, it’s not the easiest way to make an image, and there are a handful of extra variables, but who cares.   If you enjoy a roundabout creative process, pick yourself up some Spectra film and try it out!

Take your time and enjoy the fruits of your labor 😉

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT SPECTRA FILM HERE! 

Olympus XA: The Mini-Rangefinder

August 12, 2012 § 7 Comments

About 6 months ago, I was visiting my friend Robert at Archinal Camera; a repair shop/photography studio in Richardson. I’ve known the owner for a few years now and I regularly stop in to say hello. When I’m there, I usually look through the random assortment of items & cameras that he has around the shop. It can be a glimpse into the past; sort of a visual road map of where photography has come from. His family has been in the camera repair business since the 50’s, so as you would imagine, there is quite an array of assorted odds & ends. On this particular day, I was browsing through the display case up front. One camera had always caught my eye, yet I had never picked it up, nor had I ever asked about it. It was an Olympus camera with a weird looking flash attachment on its left side. I asked Robert “Hey, what’s this?” He chuckled, “That old thing? It’s a useless old Olympus rangefinder. They used to be really popular back in the 1980’s. You want it? Here!” He picked it up out of the display case and set it on the counter. “It’s yours!” he exclaimed. “That thing has been in there forever …”

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8 w/ A16 Flash Attachment

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8 w/ A16 Flash Attachment

Useless? I think not. It’s a mini-rangefinder!! After we visited a little while longer, I thanked him and made my way home. Once there, I proceeded to fiddle with the camera; looked through the viewfinder, checked how the focus worked, looked at the lens (35mm f/2.8-22), played around with the flash, screwed around with the apertures, etc.

– CLICK HERE for the Olympus XA Manual –

This thing is a rockin’ little camera. It can fit in your pocket, purse or wherever. When the flash attachment is removed, it easily fits in the palm of my hand. For film lovers, the XA is a great camera for snagging & sneaking images, of any subject you like, at any particular time.

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8

I took it with me to the drive-in movie theater near Ennis, TX. The Galaxy Theatre is a blast!  Well .. when it’s not 100 degrees at 9pm. Lucky for us, even though it was August, there was a storm front moving through, so we enjoyed the movie when the temps were in the 80’s.

Galaxy Movie Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Drive In Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Drive In Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

A few other snapshots from the Olympus XA …

f/22 @ 1/60th - Olympus XA - Delta 400 - D76

f/22 @ 1/60th – Olympus XA – Delta 400 – D76

Cavanaugh Flight Museum - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

You can bring this thing with you everywhere! It’s useful for many things, but I’ve found it’s particularly nice for grab-shots with family & friends. Because it’s so small & quiet, once you get out of the initial oh-you’ve-got-a-camera-and-you’re-taking-pictures-of-me stage, most of the time taking an image with it will go unnoticed. You can use the rangefinder to accurately focus, or if you like ‘shooting from the hip’, simply pick an aperture that will give you the right amount of depth-of-field, pre-focus the camera using the scale on top of the lens, and plink away snapshots.

Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Olympus XA - Kodak 35mm Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA - Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA - Kodak 35mm Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak 35mm Ektar

A quick test of the A16 flash. Ride ’em Jones!

Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800 w/ A16 Flash

Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800 w/ A16 Flash

Now this is definitely not the sharpest lens/camera option out there, but that’s not what I’m after when using this camera. When shooting with the XA, you go into it knowing there are optical concessions.

For those that enjoy film photography, this camera is nice to keep on hand, wherever you go. Because of its size and how it’s built, it can be the perfect film camera to stow away for quick candid grab shots and other photo opps that interest you.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

OLYMPUS XAs ON EBAY

Impossible Project PX-680 V4B Opacification Test Film

August 1, 2012 § 8 Comments

Impossible Project announced to their pioneers last week, that their chief chemist Martin Steinmeijer, had invented a brand new opacification molecule.   They said it’s designed to completely absorb light as the photograph exits the camera and remains colorless and transparent once the image has fully developed. TIP also stated “this new molecule is as powerful as the molecule used in the original Polaroid materials and for the first time will allow you to take your Impossible photographs without the need of immediate shielding.” THIS is what everyone has been waiting for.

I received the pioneer newsletter in my email one morning, and when I saw how fast the packs were going, I snagged two of them (limit of 4). I was going to wait, but I’m so glad I didn’t … they sold all 400 packs available in the states, in under 30 minutes.  When the film came in the mail a few days later, I was pretty excited.  This was the first time I’d been able to test a new batch of film … I ripped open the package.

Impossible Project PX680-V4B Test Film

Impossible Project PX680-V4B Test Film – SWEEEEET.

I didn’t have a Polaroid 680/690 to shoot this film with, nor did I have a ND4 filter to slap on the SX-70 .. but I did have a Polaroid One Step Flash that had been sitting on my shelf.  I figured I’d shoot a variety of subjects with the OneStepFlash, the RB67 and possibly the SX-70+ND2 lit by the mid-day sun, indoor on-camera flash, studio strobes, ambient light, long-exposures etc.

I loaded up the first pack of film and headed out with Synthia. We ended up going to the Design District Gallery Day to check out some new photographs that were at PDNB. I was going to snag some photos but it was 106 outdoors and nothing really looked worthy enough.  We ended up cruising up the road to one of my favorite overlooks of downtown.  Over the past couple of months, I had come here to snag two other impossible photos on an overcast day and in the evening.   I jumped out of the car, cranked the exposure down & fired off a shot with the OneStepFlash.  WITHOUT SHIELDING THE PHOTO, it ejected into the blazin’ sun when it was still 100+ degrees.  During the ride home, the photo developed out in the open & in my lap for about 30 minutes (at 80ish degrees I would imagine).

Dallas, TX - Polaroid OneStep Flash - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Dallas, TX – Polaroid OneStep Flash – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Regarding the color you’ll see in these images, TIP stated “these packs are not yet fully optimized for color performance .. it is still being worked on at this time .. the focus was on the opacification layer.”

My friend JV had met up with us to check out the gallery, so after we got back home, I set up a few lights and took a picture of him.  Don’t look too serious now buddy … 😉

Impossible Project PX-680-V4B Test Film - Mamiya RB67 - 105mm SF-C

Impossible Project PX-680-V4B Test Film – Mamiya RB67 – 105mm SF-C – Developed @ 75 degrees

I shot this particular impossible photo on the RB67.  After I shot it, I went to a dark closet to extract the photo, put it in an empty PX-70 pack and slid it fully inside the SX-70.  Then I brought the SX-70 out into a lit room, closed the front .. *camera ejects film* .. and BAM – opacification molecules doing their ‘thang’ in the light.  It sat on a table for 25 minutes developing in the office.

Later on in the weekend, I figured a test of the highlights, and how the film handled harsh on-camera-flash would be good to have.  I snapped a pic of Maybelle indoors (by enticing her with treats) and walked the exposed picture over to an area I had set up by the window.  I shot a stop-motion video sequence with the D700 so I could show how the picture developed. I snapped a photo every 5-10 seconds over a 25 minute period, but admittedly it was probably every 3-5 once the development started to kick in.  The image is about as good as I would expect from a OneStep indoors, with a bright blaring flash .. *poor Maybelle .. she got lots of love after being temporarily blinded*

Polaroid OneStep Flash - PX680-V4B - Even Exposure

Polaroid OneStep Flash – PX680-V4B – Even Exposure – Developed @ 80 degrees

The next day, I ended up experimenting a little bit and extracted a test photo *in the darkroom*, slid it inside an empty Spectra pack and loaded up my Spectra AF.  Why not?

I went up the road and snagged a quick photo of a donut shop.  The sun was probably a little behind me to my left and it was 4 o’clock.   I shot it with an even exposure.  When I got back home, I went back into the closet to do the impossible shuffle and again, brought the camera out to eject the photo into the light to test the new opacification molecule.

Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Developed @ 75 degrees

One thing I have noticed, is that the level of goopyness in the shadows isn’t as pronounced as it has been in the past.   In previous versions of their films, there were blobs and a splotchiness to the images (which honestly I liked) which is not prevalent in these test packs.

I liked the outcome of the first Spectra image, so I loaded up another shot and went out later to test a long exposure.   I ended up cruising to The Dog Stop; a place I ate at years ago with my wife one day.   I set the Spectra up on a tripod and bumped the exposure up 1/3rd of the way; it was about a second or two as I recall.   I drove back home and did the impossible shuffle yet again, so the image could develop in the light.

Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Developed 75 degrees

The following day, I stuck with the theme of ‘random-buildings-i-have-always-wanted-to-shoot-but-never-have’ around the area and snapped another photo with the Spectra.

Como Motel - Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Como Motel – Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Fully Underexposed – Developed 75 degrees

OK – Enough with the building photos ..

I loaded up the PX680-V4B in my SX-70 and swung by the lake.  The sun had just set and there was this incredible light on the lake (isn’t that always the case ;-)).  I cranked the exposure dial all the way down and hoped for the best …

White Rock Lake - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B - Polaroid SX-70 - Exposure Down

White Rock Lake – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Polaroid SX-70 – Exposure Down – Developed 90 degrees

Again, less goopy-ness in the shadows.  It does look like the overall quality of the highlights & shadows are improving.   It seems, like in this image, it’s getting a little less gunked up and is rendering smoother tonal gradations.  Now with that said, I love the gunk/funk of the old images.   That’s part of what makes those old-gen, 12/11, NIGO and other variations so cool.  I just like it gunky.

EDIT: One more from the RB …

Mamiya RB67 - 105mm SF-C - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Mamiya RB67 – 105mm SF-C – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Same thing.  Did the impossible shuffle to extract the photo and get it into the SX-70, however, after I ejected the photo in the light, I stowed it away, a few seconds afterwards, in a box for the duration of the development @ 75 degrees.

Overall, it looks to be a massive improvement in the way their films can handle direct ambient indoor light & outdoor light once the image has started its development.  The Impossible chemists have been trying to solve the opacification issue for a while.  Soon in the near future, as I did with these,  you WILL NOT HAVE TO SHIELD THE PHOTO as it ejects from the camera.  This is a HUGE step forward.  There will be no need to teach shielding techniques to new shooters, nor will there be a need to convince them that all the hassle is worth it.   For the average person, who might want something special beyond a digital snapshot,  this is a massive leap in their direction.   Convincing them to use Impossible Project film will be a hell of a lot easier, when shielding the film isn’t a necessity.  Bravo Impossible .. Bravo.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

CHECK OUT this discussion regarding the new opacification test film on Impossible’s Flickr page

TO BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM CLICK HERE

MY TOP TEN REASONS TO SHOOT IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM

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