How to use the Instant Lab

Please note that there are two versions of the Instant Lab, with different devices compatibility. This tutorial is only dedicated to the very first version of the device, simply called « Instant Lab ». This first version of the Instant Lab works only with iPhone 4/4S & 5/5S and Ipod Touch 4th&5th generation. 


Read more about the difference between the Instant Lab and the Instant Lab Universal

Read more about devices does the Instant Lab work with




Before using the Instant Lab



To use your iPhone/iPod Touch with the Instant Lab, you first need to install the free Impossible Project App. The Impossible Project App will allow your iPhone to interact with the Instant Lab and will guide you through the entire process. 

Always make sure that the App is updated before using the Instant Lab. The App will ask you to choose which version of the Instant Lab you are using (Instant Lab or Instant Lab Universal).


Read more about the difference between the Instant Lab and the Instant Lab Universal


The Instant Lab app for iOS requires at least iOS version 7.0 and can be downloaded from the iTunes store


Read more about the Impossible Project App



Please charge your Instant Lab fully before first use. Plug the USB Charger G into the Power Connector H on the Instant Lab and the USB plug into your iPhone charger or computer. Charging usually takes 1–2 hours. The red LED F switches off as soon as the battery is fully charged. 


Read more about charging the Instant Lab



All Impossible square-format films (600, SX-70 and films for Impossible Cameras) are compatible with the Instant Lab. 


Read more about which film to use with the Instant Lab

Read more about Impossible films


To insert a film in the Instant Lab, slide the Film Door Latch D to open the Film Door I. With the pull-tab facing away from the unit and the film darkslide (the black cardboard that protects the film from light) facing up, insert the film pack firmly, all the way into the compartment and then close the door. 



Every pack of film comes with a black darkslide on top to protect the film from light. If you have just loaded a new pack of film into the Instant Lab, this darkslide will need to be ejected before you can expose your film. Press and hold down the Eject Button J for 1 second to eject the darkslide. 

Note: Do this only once each time after inserting a new film pack. 



To use the Instant Lab, the Tower C must first be fully extended. Grasp the Cradle B at its sides and pull it straight up until all 5 sections of the tower have clicked firmly into place. 

The Instant Lab’s underlying glass lens is protected by a Cradle Cover A which shields it from dust and damage when not in use. You must remove this cover before using the Instant Lab. Before using the Instant Lab, and especially if you have moved it from a cold place to a warmer environment, make sure that the lens doesn’t have condensation on it.



Make sure to remove any protective case you have on your iPhone. The cradle is designed to fit the iPhone snugly so as to ensure no light leaks onto the film below. 


Using the Instant Lab



Step 0 Make sure you have selected ‘Instant Lab’ in the « Which version of the Instant Lab are you using? » screen (wheel on the top right hand corner).

Step 1 Choose ‘Instant Lab’ from the menu. Select an image from your iPhone library, your Instagram feed or shoot a new one. 

Step 2 Pinch to enlarge or reduce, and drag the image around within the crop frame until you are happy with your selection. Then press the ‘crop’ button. 

Step 3 Select the film type loaded in your Instant Lab. Make sure that the film you select on the App matches the film inserted in the Instant Lab. The App will adjust and control the exposure time depending on the ASA of the film. 

The App will ask you to choose between the films listed below:



• COLOR 600

• B&W 600


• B&W SX-70 


Read more about which film to use with the Instant Lab


Step 4 Tap the subject of your photo to optimize exposure timing. We recommend to tap one area of the image that is not too bright and not too dark in order for the App to calculate precisely the optimum exposure time of the image.

More: The “custom” selection allows you to create your own exposure setting by typing in an exposure time in milliseconds. The App also allows you to change the settings to calibrate contrast, hue and gamma. After changing the settings, always come back to Step 4.

Step 5 Validate your settings by clicking on the button on the bottom right of the screen.



After reading the final instructions from the App, place your iPhone on the cradle with the screen facing down. 

Be sure to align your iPhone in line with the cradle. You will know whether you have oriented the iPhone properly when both the embossed Impossible logo N in the cradle and the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone read in the same direction. 

Note: The iPhone 5 will fill the whole cradle, while the base of the iPhone 4 and 4S will need to rest on the bottom of the cradle with the top being held by two prongs. 

Once the iPhone is placed in the cradle with the screen facing down, it will start the process automatically. 

When you hear the confirmation sound, immediately pull the Shutter Slide L out all the way. Your device will now expose the image through the lens and onto the film inserted in the Instant Lab.



Once the exposure is done, you will hear a camera sound. When you hear that sound, close the Shutter Slide L all the way back in. After the Shutter Slide L has been fully pushed in, it is safe to remove your phone at any point. 



The exposure is complete. You can now eject your photo by pressing down the Eject Button J for 1 second. The photo will eject beneath the Film Shield E

The photo is sensitive to light starting the moment it is ejected from the Instant Lab. Therefore, the photo is automatically shielded from light by the Film Shield E as it ejects from the Instant Lab. Remove the photo after 5–10 seconds, and be sure not to expose it to direct light, place it face down on a flat surface. Leave it shielded from direct light for at least 5 minutes. Do not shake or bend the photo during development, and make sure that the photo develops at room temperature - between 13 and 28° C (55 – 82° F). Please check film packaging for development time and details. 


Read more about Impossible films

Read more about image problems with the Instant Lab


After using the Instant Lab


If you haven’t already, remove your iPhone from the Instant Lab. To collapse the Instant Lab tower after use, press the Tabs M on each Tower Section inward, starting from the top. Release each section and press it down gently until the Cradle B sits flat against the top of the FPU K. Be sure to replace the Cradle Cover A afterwards to protect the lens. 

We recommend leaving the cover on the Instant Lab whenever its not in use – especially in dusty conditions or when the Instant Lab is exposed to direct sunlight. Store the Instant Lab in its protective bag. 


Cleaning the Instant Lab


Always unplug the Instant Lab from the power adapter before cleaning. 

Exterior: Wipe gently with a soft cloth. If the Instant Lab is very dirty, soak the cloth in mild soapy water and wring well before use. Wipe the Instant Lab with the damp cloth and then dry it with a dry cloth. 

Roller System: When cleaning the rollers use a moist cotton swab or cloth. Do not use a paper tissue as this could get stuck between the rollers. Using a small amount of either warm water or alcohol, press the swab gently onto the rollers and press the eject button, which will turn the rollers. Do not turn the rollers forcibly by hand! Repeat several times until clean. Do not use an excess amount of water or alcohol as fluid may drip onto the electronics and damage them. 

Lens: Dust can be removed with a blower brush. Finger prints can be removed by breathing on the lens and then wiping it with a lens cloth or tissue. Persistent dirt can be removed by applying lens cleaning fluid to the cloth. Mold may form on the lens surface if the lens is left dirty. 

Charger: Wipe gently with a soft, dry cloth. 

Note: Do not use strong solvents such as benzene or alcohol or a chemically treated cloth on parts other than the metal rollers. 


Storing the Instant Lab 

Do not leave the Instant Lab in an environment with high temperatures (40°C/104°F or more) or low temperatures (-10°C / 14°F or less.) Failure to do so may impact the battery life. 

Before using the Instant Lab, and especially if you have moved it from a cold place to a warmer environment, make sure that the lens doesn’t have condensation on it.

Do not use the Instant Lab in the rain or allow water to enter the device. Do not pour water over the Instant Lab. 

When storing the Instant Lab for extended periods, keep it in a cool, dry place that is well ventilated. The battery will lose its power, within a period of several months. It is recommended that you recharge the battery every 3–5 months to extend the battery life. 

Note: Never store the Instant Lab in direct sunlight, in hot vehicles or near heat sources. Avoid leaving the device in places where chemical products are handled  as this may result in corrosion. 


Recycling empty film pack


Once the 8 photos have been shot, the film inserted in the Instant Lab is empty.


Unfortunately we cannot reuse or recycle the empty film cartridges and batteries. However, we would encourage you to recycle the film cartridge and the battery by dismantling the cartridge in its 3 components (metal spring, plastic cassette and battery). Be careful while handling the metal spring.


Read more about recycling empty pack.


 Note: If you own an Instant Lab Universal, you have to follow a different tutorial to use it. The Instant Lab Universal is the second iteration of the Instant Lab. It has been introduced in the first quarter of 2015 and is currently sold on our website. link: Instant Lab page and at other selected retailers worldwide.

Read more about how to use the Instant Lab Universal

Read more about devices compatibility



If you need more information, please contact our customer service at and attach images showing your issue with the Instant Lab. Please also specify the serial number of your Instant Lab (on the label on the back of device) and your order ID if you have ordered on our online shop.


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