How to get the most out of Impossible Film

To get the most of Impossible film, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. Below is a quick-reference list. Further below is a more detailed explanation of each of the list items.

  • Correct storage of the film packs
  • Use film within 12 months of the production date
  • Ensure camera rollers are clean
  • Adjust the lighten/darken slider
  • Shoot and develop pictures at the right temperature
  • Shield from light during development process
  • Correct storage of developed photos
  • Bonus: How to recycle your empty film pack



  • Correct storage of the Impossible film packs

The proper storage of Impossible film will ensure that the film chemistry remains stable and that your photos retain the best color, contrast and detail as possible.

Ideally, Impossible film packs should be stored in their unopened (light sealed) packaging in a cool and dry environment. We recommend to store Impossible films flat, in a fridge at a constant temperature between 4 to 18°C / 41°F - 65°F (do not freeze!)

Importantly, Impossible film will not perform to specifications at cooler temperatures and therefore it must be allowed to return to room temperature before use (we recommend at least one hour).


Read more about how to store Impossible film packs


  • Use film within 12 months of the production date

Chemical changes occur as Impossible film ages. These changes will eventually affect how well the film performs. The expiration date marks the point in this process after which it is unlikely that the film will produce images that meet Impossible’s standards of quality. While you will still get some variety of result from expired film, there may be artefacts or defects for which we accept no warranty claims. 

Use Impossible film within 12 months of the production date or before the ‘Best before’ date stamped on the packaging. 


Read more about the date stamped on the packaging


  • Ensure Camera Rollers are Clean

In order to spread the chemistry between the negative and positive part of the photo, the picture goes through the rollers. If they are dirty, the chemistry won’t be spread correctly. 

Make sure that the rollers of your camera are clean. They are accessible by opening the film compartment. You can easily clean them with a soft cloth, dampened with clean water. We recommend that you to check the rollers of your camera after each pack of film you use to ensure best results.


  • Adjusting the lighten/darken slider


Impossible’s current generation of films are slightly higher ASA/ISO than their traditional Polaroid counterparts. This means that Impossible film is more sensitive to light, or 'faster'. We recommend that you adjust the exposure wheel or slide on your Polaroid camera 1/3 to the dark setting when shooting in bright light conditions.

If you are shooting using your camera’s built-in flash, make sure that the lighten/darken wheel or slider of your camera is adjusted to the middle position. Keep in mind that the built-in flash on Polaroid cameras are usually only effective in a range of 1 to 2.5 meters (3.3 – 8.2 ft).



Read more about shooting with the flash.


  • Shooting and developing of the picture at the right temperature

Impossible films work best in temperatures between 13 and 28° C (55 – 82° F). Temperatures significantly outside that range can affect Impossible instant film in terms of development time and color. Below 13° C (55° F) pictures tend to emerge over-exposed, lacking color contrast and with a cyan tint. When shooting at temperatures of over 28°C (82°F) color photos will have a tendency to develop with a yellowish/ reddish tint.

When shooting at lower temperatures let your images develop in the inside pocket of your jacket or close to your body. We also recommend you carry your camera close to your body to keep the film pack and pictures at operational temperature.

When shooting at higher temperatures, cool the films in the fridge before taking them outside. You can minimize the heat by letting the photo process in cooler surroundings, like an air-conditioned room, an insulated bag, or beneath a cold beverage can (be careful to avoid moisture!).



  • Shielding your image from light



Impossible films are sensitive to light, especially during the development process. Immediately shield the photo from light as it is ejected from the camera. The first 10 seconds are especially crucial, otherwise photos will emerge overexposed and lacking contrast. 

There is a simple way to perfectly protect your photos from light: the Impossible Film Shield. Whether you have a standard 'box type’ 600 or SX-70 camera, an Image/Spectra camera or a folding SX-70 or SLR 680, you can buy an Impossible Film Shield to match. Once fitted to your camera, the Film Shield uncurls over the top of each photo as it ejects from the camera, shielding it from light.

As an alternative to a Film Shield, you can also use the film dark-slide (the black cover that ejects first when you insert a new film pack into your camera) to cover the photos immediately after they eject from your camera. 

Leave the photo face-down, shielded from direct light for the entire development process (10 minutes for Impossible B&W films, up to 30 minutes for Impossible Color films.)


  • Correct storage of developed photos

After shooting outside, keep your Impossible photos in your bag, out of direct sun and at a medium temperature.


  • Recycling empty film pack

 Unfortunately we cannot reuse or recycle the empty film cartridges and batteries, and we had to stop our Battery Recycling Program due to safety issues.

However, we encourage you to recycle the film cartridge and the battery by dismantling the cartridge into its 3 components (metal spring, plastic cassette and battery). Be careful while handling the metal spring.


Read more about recycling empty pack.


The vast majority of image problems are caused by incorrect processing, improper storage of film, defective film or camera or dirty film rollers. If your pictures show some defects, you will be able to identify the cause of the problem by following our guide.


Read more about how to identify an image problem.

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