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

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Recreating a Classic Polaroid Ad on Impossible Project Film

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

About a month ago, I was browsing the internet and came across Paul Giambarba’s website.  Giambarba, is the graphic designer that created Polaroid’s iconic product identity.  I read an article about the integral role he played in the branding of Polaroid and after reading it, I was so inspired by the designs he created, I rummaged around the house for materials and recreated one.

Recreating Paul Giambarba's design on Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Paul Giambarba’s design on Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Since I’ve been back from our recent trip to Aspen, I’ve been pondering what to photograph and have had the itch to use the RB67 with some Impossible film.   I picked up some PX-70 NIGO this month, and had a few images left from a pack I shot at the ranch. With the NIGO film, I’ve been carefully sneaking peeks at the colors as I’ve been shooting it, and I knew that an orange-framed photo about to surface.

I started to look through old Polaroid ads online and came across a strikingly simple image of a folded-up SX-70 partially pulled out of its case.  A couple months ago, I picked up a first model SX-70 w/ case at an estate sale and knew that I had the equipment to recreate this image.  The lighting aspect of it is quite simple.   You only need one flash/strobe & a snoot w/ grids to light the subject.

Flash w/ Snoot & Grid

Flash w/ Snoot & Grid

Setup

I snapped this a little while after I took the photo, but you get the gist of the setup.

I put together a quick studio setup and placed the camera on a piece of black foam core board.  I boomed up a flash with a homemade snoot/grid and I dialed in the exposure with the D700.  Once I had the light just right, I went to position the RB, but it turned out to be a little tricky.  Of course when viewing the image, it was reversed.  But even more challenging, because I was shooting vertically, the camera/subject was actually upside down when I was looking at it.

Reversed image in the Mamiya RB67

Reversed image in the Mamiya RB67

It took some time before I was ready to pull the trigger, but when I finally was, I did the Impossible/RB67 shuffle and created this image.

Mamiya RB67 - 150mm SF-C - Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO

Mamiya RB67 – 150mm SF-C – Impossible Project PX-70 NIGO

It seemed it wasn’t complete without text, so I photoshopped a scan from something Impossible I had in my house and overlaid it in CS.  You can see the image here.

From my limited experience with TIP & flash, I am enjoying the level of control you have over the highlights in a ‘studio setting’.  Metering scenes and knowing exactly how much juice I’m giving the negative always makes for a more consistent outcome.    I look forward to the day that Impossible creates their own analog camera and I really hope it has manual settings and flash-sync capability …

Thanks for reading.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

Using Impossible Project Film in a Mamiya RB67 aka “The Patrick Clarke Method”

June 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

In my previous blog post, I touched briefly on Impossible’s viewfinder article on Patrick Clarke regarding his use of a Mamiya RB67 with Impossible Project film.    The article did a great job of explaining how it works and for photography-minded individuals nothing further is needed.  However, for people just getting into instant film or photography in general, a pictorial on the subject would clear up any potential guesswork that has be done.

Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70

Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70

This method (not what’s pictured above ;-)) works with Impossible’s SX-70 & 600 series film.  When I first read about this, I was stoked because I knew I had the gear to try this out.  It’s a pretty backwards way of taking a photo, BUT the fact that you’re able to do it, is really cool.  Clarke touched on the RB67’s qualities in the article  “… amazed at how technically perfect the camera and its lenses were. I could control the depth of field, the shutter speed and aperture exactly like I wanted. My exposures were dead on, and the images were sharp as I could want” .. I couldn’t agree more.   The fact that you can utilize these qualities with Impossible film is awesome.

Now the how to’s ..

First, from this point forward, **anything inside asterisks MUST BE DONE in complete darkness (in a dark room, light-tight bag, dark closet etc.)**  Dealing with undeveloped film, because it’s so sensitive to light,  has to be kept in the dark until it’s developed.  This particular method, extracting film from a cartridge for use in another camera, needs a certain level of care in order to keep the image undeveloped until you’re ready.

If you don’t have access to a darkroom or a really dark closet, you will need to insert a dark slide into the cartridge to protect the film from light before removing it.

Release the lock to swing down the rollers ...

Release the lock and swing down the rollers …

Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit ...

Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit …

Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge

Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge

There’s a great video on Impossible’s website that teaches you how to swap film packs between cameras that talks about these first steps if you’re interested.

Push the dark slide all the way in ..

Push the dark slide all the way in ..

Pull the film cartridge ....

Pull the film cartridge ….

Out of the camera ...

Out of the camera …

Gently press down and push the dark slide all the way up ...

Gently press down with your thumbs and push the dark slide up … NOTE: Do this in a dark area so light doesn’t leak onto the top of the image. 

Voila! Happy unexposed film ...

Voila! Happy unexposed film …

Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 ...

Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 …

At this point, you need to put the Polaroid back & the freshly removed film cartridge in a changing bag (a light tight bag used to extract film) or your darkroom ;-).   In total darkness you will need to …

Open the back ...

**Open the back and remove the empty film cartridge**

Place the unexposed photo face down in the film back.  Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.

**Remove & place an unexposed photo face down in the film back** Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.

Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.  Make sure the photo doesn't move when you push down the cartridge ...

**Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.**Make sure the photo doesn’t move when you push down the cartridge …

Remount the Polaroid back to the RB67 and take your photo!

**Close it up** and remount the Polaroid back to the RB67.

Go take a picture of something!

The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..

For reference: The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..

Once you have shot your image, remove the Polaroid back and put it back in the changing bag with the Impossible film cartridge & a SX-70/600 series camera (or go to a darkroom if you’re so lucky ;-)).  Remove the exposed image from the Polaroid back and …

Pull the plastic light seal down and squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo

**Move the plastic light seal down. Squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo**

Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge

**Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge …**

**Push it all the way into the cartridge**

**

**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**

**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**

**Push it in and close the front ... the photo ejects and starts to develop**

**Push it in and close the front … the photo will eject and start to develop**

At this point, I normally slide an empty PX70 box inside the changing bag to store & remove the exposed image.

EXAMPLE:  Note the reversed image when shooting this way … 

Impossible Project PX-70 + Mamiya RB67 + 90mm f/3.8

*

7702447828_2de9915d4f 8269155974_e182df1704

That’s about it!  Now this method will work with any NPC back that uses FP-100C film.   The only question will be how much ‘real estate’ is being exposed on the negative.

Thanks for reading and thanks to this blog post for the inspiration!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM HERE!!!

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