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Impossible Project’s New Instant Film 2.0 | Faster, Sharper, Better, With Polaroid Blood

By Kishore Sawh on March 24th 2015


Often when a person asks for a tissue, they ask for a Kleenex, regardless of the brand at hand. To have your brand become the associated name with a genre is tremendously difficult, and even more rare, so it’s always sad when one of those brands dies. If you think about this sort of thing in photography, perhaps the most obvious example would be Polaroid. Any manner of instant film shots are generally referred to as Polaroids even when they’re not, and the wide-spread popularity of Fuji Instax cameras proves that.

But Polaroids were something special, both in product and in history, and it’s nice that both are appreciated by the younger generation who either didn’t grow up with it. And perhaps there’s a chance some will – at least to a degree – thanks to The Impossible Project.

impossible-project-BW-polaroid-2.0-photography-instant-slrlounge-2 impossible-project-BW-polaroid-2.0-photography-instant-slrlounge-1

When Polaroid decided to dismantle their company and liquidate much of it, Impossible acquired for itself some Polaroid manufacturing machines and actually leased an old Polaroid production plant, all in an effort to keep the instant film type from being dashed on the shorelines of history. The concept was great and simple enough, but the production proved more difficult, and it wasn’t until after much trial and error that in 2010 Impossible shared their first set of rebranded and reformulated instant film. Except it was to some disappointment.

The development time of the film was significantly longer than the Polaroid originals, and the quality was unpredictable, if not poor. Adding insult to injury, there were accounts that even with a package of 8 shots, only around 4 or 5 may turn out, and at around $23 per pack, that was equating to about a $4 per shot cost. Much more than most wanted to pay.


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The upside was that the looks of the images were rather unique, and now Impossible is launching 2.0, which is said to be faster, sharper, and more predictable. The initial offering of Gen 2.0 will be of the black and white 600 line, and is said to develop in only 20 seconds. That even bests what Polaroid was offering, so it begs the question, how did they revamp in such a drastic manner? Well, this time around, it was developed under the rather expert supervision of none other than Polaroid’s Chief Technical officer, Stephen Herchen, whose passion can be seen in the one minute flick below.

So has that got your attention? It has mine. And B&W 600 is available today from their online store, with Gen 2.0 of the Spectra and SX-70 arriving in just over a month, in May.

Source: Imaging Resource

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter Nord

    Still have my old 4×5 Polaroid back waiting on a shelf with half a box of long outdated color. Still develops if you don’t mind some funny color shifts.

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  2. Peter McWade

    We used our polaroid a whole bunch. I used it, my sisters used and my brother and cousins used it. Never faltered and we loved the pictures we could take. Id be game to try it again for fun.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      Even with Impossible’s first run of film, as inconsistent as it could be, it was still fun. It had been years since I’d shot with a Polaroid and when that first photo popped out, I was thrilled! They really are fun cameras to shoot with.

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  3. Bogdan Roman

    I would love to get my hands on one of those

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  4. Steven Pellegrino

    I’ll give the new version a try. I’ve shot a couple of packs of the original and as the article states it’s not consistent. That would be fine if it were a lot less expensive, but at that price and the long develop time, it wasn’t worth shooting on a regular basis.

    Just an FYI for anyone wanting to try shooting with an old Polaroid. They are inexpensive. Look around locally first, thrift stores, antique stores, places like that. I was able to pick up a couple of Polaroid 600 Business Edition cameras for about $10 each.

    There’s not much to these cameras, the magic is in the film pack, so even old cameras are more than likely to still function perfectly. Look through the view finder and make sure it’s clear. 9 time out 10 an old film pack is in the camera. That’s perfect because there’s your battery. Open up your camera and then open up the door where the film pack goes. If it’s there, pull it out and push it back in again. You should hear some noises. That’s the camera powering up and it’s a good sign that your camera is ready to go.

    If you get hooked on these and want to pick up more cameras, just bring an old film pack with you and you’ll be able to test out any Polaroid camera that accepts that film pack.

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  5. Graham Curran

    I once won a Polaroid camera as 4th prize in a Readers Digest Spot-The-Ball competition. I think I managed 2 film packs before it went to the back of a cupboard.

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  6. Dave Haynie

    That’s kind of cool… my Mom had an SX-70 back in the, well, 1970s… a really good upgrade to her old Instamatic. That was close to a $200 camera back then, but kinda classy — leather covering, folding, and it was actually a fixed-lens SLR. I remember it was kind of hard to judge focus. The lens was long focal length, thanks to the size of the film, but the lens was round f/8.

    Each film pack also contained a flat battery — I used to get those leftovers and take them apart, keeping the batteries for nefarious experimentation. Makes it understandable, though, why it might be a little tricky to get film back in production. Guess it’s fitting that the company’s name is “Impossible”.

    These also used this wacky “Flash Bar” – a row of bulbs, which would fire one after the other — shoot five shots, then flip the bar over for the next five. You can apparently still find these for sale online… Impossible Project has some. There’s also an electronic flash unit that sits in place of the flash bar.

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    • Derek Schwartz

      I found a flashbar-connector-to-PC and flashbar-hotshoe when I owned my SX-70…ended up selling it when I got a Hasselblad with a Polaroid back.

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    • Dave Haynie

      I have seen these at yard sales now and then, but didn’t bother, since I figured the film was long-gone. I’m going to keep an eye out for one this season, might be fun, definitely nostalgic, for the right price.

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