Silver Shade PX100 Impossible Project Review

It’s been a while since I bought the box of Px100 at Prophot, but I had just put a cartridge of 600 film in the old SX-70 so I wasn’t in a hurry to use them up.  I don’t believe in using a filter for the 600 film, so I stick to cloudy overcast days when the film over-exposes, but doesn’t blow out completely (as it does on sunny days).  I like the look that it gives, some would call it “vintage”.  This PX100 is Silver Shade, and not the “first flush” variety sold earlier on.

After reading up on the Impossible website all the do’s and don’ts for this film, I was ready to take some shots.  While I think it’s fantastic that this film has been produced, it’s interesting that it’s far from perfect, and even seems to be in more of a development stage, with us the customers being the guinea pigs (at our expense too!).  So although you may have already read this, after taking the shot you need to immediately cover the exiting polaroid with your hand (or some other object) to keep the light from striking it.  It then needs to develop in a dark location.  On top of this, the film needs to be used between 17-24 degrees celsius.  Finally, they are now mentioning some “crystal” problems where you get funny marks on the edges of the pictures, they advise using a desiccant, and in fact now provide it with new boxes of the film.

Here for comparison are (from left to right) : first shot with PX100, shot with expired 600, and second shot with PX100.  When I left the apartment, the temperature was only 15 degrees, however the film and camera had been stored in the apartment which was in the low 20’s, and I kept the camera in my bag until I was ready to shoot.  I immediately covered the shot with my hand on both and then put it in my messenger bag while it developed.  The picture is a bit hard to see, however you’ll notice that although it is a black and white photo, it does have a slight sepia tone, and that there is very little contrast.  The photos are also not very sharp. My wife mentioned that it looked very “vintage”.

I liked the pictures, and was happy they turned out as it seems some have had far less luck than I have, however I would have liked more contrast.  So later in the day I took a yellow filter from my Bessa R and held it in front of the camera while I took the shot.  To be fair, I did not compensate with the brightness dial, however as you can see in the picture above, it did nothing to increase contrast, in fact it might have actually reduced it.  The photo also got even more of a toned look.  I would have thought that on a bright sunny day the yellow filter would have helped things out, but apparently not.  I would have liked to experiment more, but the film costs about 2 euros/shot, so I’m not game to waste anymore film.

Looking back at one of the photos later in the day (8 hrs.) I noticed these strange marks on the side of the picture. They look similar to the “killer crystals” that they talk about on the Impossible website that are due to humidity, but I find that hard to believe that this was caused by humidity as it’s fairly dry around here right now.  I’m hoping this doesn’t spread further across the photo, but only time will tell.

So in summary, it’s great to have more film to use with my SX-70, but the quality isn’t all that great (not too sharp an image, low contrast).  The lack of sharpness isn’t a whole lot different from the old 600 film, so this could be related to the camera I guess.  The fact that the film is so finicky, and that the early adopters are paying for Impossible’s research and development, I can’t say I’m over the moon pleased with the product.  Finally I feel the price is reasonable, however the shipping charges can be astronomical depending where you live (I as lucky to get it in a store).

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