Berlin - The Place To Be

PX 680 Color Shade Gold Frame Limited Edition on Polaroid SX-70

I took the train east to Berlin last weekend on the spur of the moment with my Polaroid camera in hand along with my trusty Lomo LC-W. I mainly visited some art shows, concept stores and of course the Martin-Gropius Bau art gallery for the Diane Arbus exhibition. I spent almost the whole day digging through the special archive they built filled with her writings and past works. I was totally immersed in the life, air, and spirit  that was and is still Berlin. I would live there if I could because everywhere I looked was just picturesque, no matter how dirty or dingy or boring it may be to others.

The Gold Frame limited edition film from The Impossible Project has got to be one of my favorites because I love how the gold borders make the pictures look somewhat regal both is color and black and white. This pack I have is from 2011 and has been exposed to extreme heat in the attic where I left my film packs over the summer (I know, smart…). My color pack came out pretty much monotone, leaning very strongly towards purple, but all in all the pack did good and it did capture Berlin the way I saw it and want to remember it.

Some technicalities: I used a pack of 600 film on my SX-70 utilizing a filmpack filter also from TIP which you can see in the second image above. (Somehow the filter was not firmly tucked into the film cartridge for that particular shot but went back in place for the others.) All images were shot with the darken/lighten ring set to 1/2 dark. Without the filter the images would be super blown out. I decided to crop the borders for some of the images as they look better squared as a whole.

I am going through a few packs of COOL film now and am loving the results, will share more soon.


The Impossible Project’s PX 70 Color Shade

The Impossible Project PX-70 Color Shade NIGO
(Exposure wheel at darkest setting shot under bright sunlight)

The Impossible Project PX-70 Color Shade 12/11
(Exposure wheel at lightest setting, shot under tungsten light)

So you can definitely tell that this new PX 70 color shade favors blue compared to their previous incarnations. Even the now sold out NIGO edition boasts their new improved “lucky” emulsion, similar to the 12/11 PX 70s and I’d say that their formula is much much more stable than what I’ve shot before. 

FYI, all NIGO shots were taken under bright bright sunlight, which might explain the slightly washed out look owing to some slight overexposure on my part. I did wind the exposure all the way to the darkest setting + appropriate shading with TIP’s SX-70 shade but as usual Malaysia is extremely hot etc etc…you get my point. 

The Impossible Project had also mentioned that the new Color Shade formula was a fast film, so instead of having a 125ISO, the correct ISO should be around 600 -allowing the film to be used in Polaroid 600 cameras with adjustments to the exposure wheel.

HOWEVER, I’d like to point out here that if you own the new TIP Flash Bar by Mint, designed to be used with both folding & box type SX-70s, shooting the NIGO & 12/11 PX 70 Color Shade films should be done with the ND Compensation mode (middle switch), instead of the normal mode (right sided switch), with the exposure turned to the lightest setting or 2/3 to light. 

Yes, I know that it’s recommended that if you use PX 70 films with production dates later than 12/11 you’re supposed to keep the exposure wheel at neutral and the flash bar switch pushed all the way to the right but that simply does not work! Your photos will just turn black! I’ve wasted two NIGO shots (green & white frame) & two 12/11 shots due to this hindsight.  That’s four frames worth MYR40! (USD13)

On a happier note, I’ve seen some wonderful shots taken by eleanorrigby236 using the 12/11 PX 70 film so stick around for that!

My latest baby, Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera Model 2, completely refurbished in handsome pebble grained brown leather!


Polaroid Fail!

The Impossible Project PX 70 Color Shade on Polaroid SX-70 One Step Rainbow

This is what you get when you buy The Impossible Project films from unscrupulous resellers who only care about making as much money as possible from unsuspecting individuals.

Yeah, the photos may look all funky but these are the only usable photos from 3 packs of PX 70 color shades! The edges were all overexposed with leaks all over the place (and I used their frog tongue!) with uneven distribution of the chemicals, probably heat damaged   and all dried up.

Well, I’m much wiser now so a word of advice: Buy your TIP films directly from their website! Or at least make sure the seller stores unopened films in a refrigerator and not in some fancy schmancy display unit to entice fashion forward hipsters!

Consider yourself warned.

p/s: Never had any problems with films bought off their website, 100% guaranteed or I’ll eat my shoe!

Edit: This doesn’t mean that all resellers are scammers, just be more vigilant before purchasing, most will probably highlight the fact that the films are optimally stored.


Gold vs Black or White?

PX 600 UV Silver Shade Gold Limited Edition on Polaroid SX-70

Took my SX-70 out to the bird park on a very sunny day with a pack of…ooops, 600 film. 600 film is a very fast film, in fact it is two stops faster causing over exposure when used in a SX-70 camera. To make it useable you would need either an ND filter placed over the electric eye of your camera or over the film pack. You could also just remember to dial the darken wheel all the way for every shot, but this is ultimately dependent on the lighting condition. delusiana also had her flash bar on her, which comes with a switchable ND-compensation mode so all was good.

My shots came out pretty nice, and I actually like the yellow hue that comes out looking crisp and golden thanks to the glimmering frames that outline the shots. I really like how the first shot of the foliage turned out almost infrared-like as the whole area was bathed in bright sun rays when I took the picture.

PX 600 Silver Shade Black Frame on Polaroid 600 Onestep Closeup PX Camera

Now here are some samples of 600 film shot on my Polaroid 600 camera. The black frames are no doubt sexy but I am not a fan of the orange tinge on the images so much, and in hot weather the orange continues to get darker and redder at a pretty fast rate. I unfortunately forgot to store these shots in a dry pack, which is highly recommended for all Impossible films to stop your picture from over-devoloping. On the official website it is stated that a 2 month storage is recommended. Just simply pop your polas in an air-tight bag will with some silica gel packs. Suffice to say the images, when not stored, can look pretty hideous. Perhaps one of these days I’ll scan a few so you know what you really don’t want to not do.

The weather when these were shot was hot and humid, which does influence the way the film develops over time. I can’t wait to try to shoot these again in a drier climate, in hopes of getting stronger blacks and whites on the image. 

PX 70 Color Shade (old stock) on Polaroid SX-70

Now, these were my test shots from when I first got the SX-70 camera and didn’t know that the PX70 Color Shade was in fact a faster film than stated on the box. The box clearly reads 125ASA, but upon browsing the website’s FAQ, I saw this; “…when using PX 70 film on Polaroid SX-70 cameras adjust your lighten/darken wheel to the darkest setting.”, which is the same warning you would get when using 600 film on a SX-70 camera. Thanks for the heads up on your website, which clearly should have been on your box or in the item description on your online store!!

But now that I know better, it’s good to know that I could also pop this film into my 600 camera without having to physically tweak anything. As much as I get frustrated by dry film packs and think about the money I just lost on said pack, I am loving the Polaroid experience. When it comes to The Impossible Project film I think it is contradicting to say I am dealing with instant photography as that is not the case at all (you usually want to let the film cook for at least 5-15 minutes depending on temperature before checking on your results.) but I salute their effort to keep Polaroid alive and I love the new recipes they keep tossing at us. I’m a fan for life ;)