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.
- Proper Storage (Undeveloped Film)
- Observe Expiration Date
- Camera Roller Maintenance
- Exposure Compensation
- Shield It!
- Proper Storage (Developed Film)
- Bonus: How-to Recycle
1. Proper Storage (Undeveloped / Unused Film)
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 inside a fridge at a constant temperature between 4 to 18°C / 41°F - 65°F (do not freeze!).
Impossible film will not perform to specifications at cooler temperatures and therefore it must be allowed to return to room temperature before use (recommended: at least 1 hour at ambient temperature).
2. Observe Expiration Date
All Impossible film must be used 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 (stamped on the bottom of the film package).
- What is the date stamped on bottom of my Impossible film package?
- What is the number stamped directly on the back of my Impossible photo?
3. Camera Roller Maintenance
In order to spread the chemistry between the negative and positive part of the photo, the picture goes through the two rollers found on the film door. If they are dirty, the chemistry will not be spread evenly.
Make sure that the rollers of your camera are clean. They are accessible by opening the film door compartment of the camera. You can easily clean them with a soft cloth, dampened with clean water. We recommend that you to check and clean the rollers of your camera after each pack of film you use to ensure best results.
4. Exposure Compensation
Impossible’s current generation of SX-70 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.
All other film types (Spectra, 600, I-type, 8x10) should have the correct / original ASA and do not require exposure compensation.
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).
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!).
6. Shield It!
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.)
7. Proper Storage (Developed Film)
After shooting Impossible film, keep the photos out of direct sun and at a medium temperature. For long-term storage, we recommend that the photos are not compressed for the first 30 days, to enable the photos to completely dry-out. After 30 days, storing photos in an album or similar fashion is acceptable. Storing your photos in a dry, dark environment protected from UV radiation is always best practice.
8. Bonus: How-To Recycle Empty Film Cartridges
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.
We do however encourage you to recycle the film cartridge and the battery by dismantling the cartridge into its 3 components (metal spring, plastic cassette and battery) and disposing of each component in its individual and appropriate method. Be careful while handling the metal spring, it can be very sharp.
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 are showing a specific and consistent defect, you will can identify the cause of the problem by following our guide. Read more about how to identify common film/image problems. Alternatively, you can write to us directly and we will assist you; firstname.lastname@example.org