First, let me state unequivocally, the process, given its experimental nature, is a resounding up. Sure, there are downs… but these films are ground breaking given the task at hand. The Impossible Project is not simply recreating what Polaroid film was. It is important to understand they are re-inventing the film creating new formulas and starting from the ground up. Getting instant and integral film back to where it was when Polaroid ceased production still has a way to go. However, I'm extremely pleased to report, the PX 600 UV+ film has moves us a giant step forward. Make no mistake, PX Silver Shade Film is still experimental and may or may not produce changing results depending on light conditions and temperature. So, buyer beware.
Either way, color me impressed.
PX 600 UV+ is part of The Impossible Project's Silver Shade line. The Silver Shade films are monochromatic… read; black and white… but more accurately, they have a bit of sepia tone. As you will see, the sepia seems to be influenced by warmer temperatures. It's pleasing none-the-less.
In the gallery I've combined successful (subjective) images from all five packs.
You'll note a few anomalies in the films surface. I don't know if they're from chemicals not spreading evenly or maybe residual grittiness within the chemicals… I really don't know. But they're visible and you can see them in the scans.
You still need to shield the film as it ejects from the camera. This is VERY important if you want consistent results. The first 10-30 seconds are critical. You must shield the image from the light while the chemicals begin to go to work.
I have also noticed that getting the correct exposure seems to pay double dividends. One being you get the right light balance to your image, and two, you get the right color value… closer to black and white. If you’re under exposed the image tends to report a brown deeper sepia shade. If you’re over exposed the image goes more to the pink/peach side of the spectrum. Get it right and detail, sharpness and color (more gray) really snap into place.
While the developer chemicals are self terminating, the image does appear to improve overnight. This isn’t a particularly new thing with instant films, I still notice the black point come up after a few days even on original Polaroid film… even the peel-apart stuff. But the new Impossible Project film seems to improve in the short term. And, as before, we won’t know what the long term impact will be.
The shot of the horse fountain sculpture and the ivy covered courtyard were shot downtown in Old Naples, Florida. It was a pretty warm day with temperatures pushing 90 degrees. You can see the "extra" sepia / reddish brown coloring the film inherited. I “peeled” these image for preservation and effect. Peeling stops the chemicals dead in their tracks. Peeling can be “interesting” in the “artistic” sense. :)
At the suggestion of The Impossible Project I conducted an experiment of storing the new PX 600 UV+ film in the refrigerator before shooting with it. They suggested that the Florida temperatures were having an impact on the overall tone of the film’s color. It was their observation that my images have been exhibiting more sepia than their own samples.
From the color standpoint, the experiment was a huge success. The monochrome color turned out very, very nice. I did incur some other issues though. There are white “water spots” in some of the areas. I think this might be attributed to the film being too cold coming out of the refrigerator.
Finally I was able to conduct a fairly successful experiment in cooler temperatures. I think storing the film in the refrigerator might have been a bit too extreme.
We experienced a bit of a cold snap here in Florida seeing temperatures in the high 60’s during the day. So, I left a pack of film outside. Later in the day I shot it in the SX-70 and the results… at least the color and sharpness, were fantastic. Unfortunately, I did inherit some issues with the developer at the top of the frame, though I’m fairly certain that didn’t have anything to do with the temperature experiment. The important thing is that the film produced more monochrome (nearly black and white) tones. It’s safe to say that warm temperatures push the film into the sepia tones. The warmer it is, the redder it gets.
One note about using the PX 600 film in an SX-70; you need to use an ND filter over the lens and turn the darkness wheel down between 1 and 2 ticks.
As with all The Impossible Project films, expect your results to be varied and a bit unpredictable. It’s our lot in life as The Impossible Project works feverishly to re-invent the instant films for use in Polaroid cameras. They are all over this stuff… and the race is on to deliver stable films. I personally appreciate the effort they’re putting into the endeavor and have a lot of confidence that sometime in the near future we’ll be happily shooting instant films without fear of a dwindling supply.
To be fair though, we’re still a long way from simply banging out great looking “Polaroids” just for the fun of it and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the current films are frustrating under the best of conditions. There is still a lot of work to be done so don’t expect to throw a pack in and have your old Polaroid start spitting out colorful snapshots of happy shiny people. We’re not there yet. But after five packs of PX 600 UV+ I'm encouraged.