Tag Archives: polaroid

[Video] Unboxing the Impossible Lens Set for SX-70 by Mint

For some reason, this didn’t get published back in December. Oh joy! Here it goes!

On Cyber Monday, The Impossible Project offered a whopping 20% off its entire online store. That was the perfect opportunity for me to purchase a Lens set that I’ve been focused on for quite a while (pun intended) …

This video is actually my first post-narrated one! I’ve tried to make it sound a little better by using the iMovie “more bass” equalizer on the narration track, please let me know how you like it! 😀

(UPDATED June 25) A detailed look at the Impossible I-1 camera

UPDATE: You can now watch a recording of the Impossible I-1 camera keynote on Vimeo (embedded below). I have also added many interesting details about the camera to this post, including detailed specifications that were just posted on the I-1 website.

Bloomberg Design Conference 2016: Oskar Smolokowski from Impossible on Vimeo.

Sections (roughly): 00:00 to 10:00 (about Impossible and why they made the camera), 10:40 (first look at the camera), 13:30 (flash), 15:00 (app), 17:00 (example photos taken with the I-1), 17:20 to end (live demo).

As you have probably already heard, Impossible unveiled their IP-1 I-1 camera at the Bloomberg Businessweek Design Conference on April 11th. I promised you to write a post after the announcement to cover all the details that were unveiled. Here we are, 12 days later, and it’s not like I forgot to write or something. The problem is that there‘s was not much to report until now: Impossible annoyingly chose to postpone any info outside of some basic points of interest until May 10th, when the camera goes on sale. Luckily, the BW keynote video is now public, meaning I was able to add tons of info to the post. Enjoy!

As expected, the camera looks a lot like the ugly child of a Polaroid Land Camera 1000, an Impossible Instant Lab and a rotary phone:

I-1 parody
(images sourced from etsy, photojojo, gporetro, terapeak, fenix/soldiersystems)

Yeah, I was kidding. Not: Continue reading (UPDATED June 25) A detailed look at the Impossible I-1 camera

Analyzing the upcoming Impossible instant camera

As you know, I have a passion for instant photography and the cameras connected to it. I have personally tried nearly every format of Polaroid films that has existed (except the pocket, 500 and 80-type films) and played with cameras from most formats. Impossible has been teasing their upcoming instant camera on Twitter for a few days:

Also, ICYMI, Impossible now has a new website, located at impossible-project.com. This is what it looks like: big teaser image of i-type camera That’s right, the first thing you’ll see on their website is a giant teaser for their camera that is “coming soon…”. Coming tomorrow actually, so it’s about time to get excited and get the rumor-mill going! Continue reading Analyzing the upcoming Impossible instant camera

Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks Part Three: Preserving the moment

Welcome back to the final part in the “Polaroid shooting Tips’n Tricks” series! This time, I’m going to explain different things that you can do to protect your image after taking it.
In case you haven’t read the previous posts in the series, make sure to check those out as they include tips on choosing the right camera & film combo as well as setting things up to achieve a great looking photograph.

Previous posts:

Part One: Choosing camera + film
Part Two: Capturing the moment

Let’s assume you have set things up and taken the image. Before we go into detail on post-shooting techniques, it’s good to know… Continue reading Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks Part Three: Preserving the moment

Summertime is Polaroid time!

In case you were wondering what I was doing the past weeks, here’s your answer: I was out and about to take some summertime Polaroid pictures!

For your enjoyment: my latest Polaroid series,
“Summertime is Polaroid time!”
(taken on Impossible B&W factory seconds)

 As  you might have noticed, there are only six photos in this series even though every Impossible film pack contains eight images. That’s true!
The first image that’s not included here shows my sister (1.5 y old) and her friend, the neighbour’s daughter (2 y) playing together. I gave this image to our neighbours.
The second shot shows a woman making huge soap bubbles. She loved it, so I decided to give it to her!

What do you think of these pictures? I’ll meet you down in the comments!

Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks Part Two: Capturing the moment

Welcome back to another iteration of Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks!
This is a series full of tips for getting the most out of your Polaroid camera! Part one was about choosing the right camera and film for yourself to use.
Part two is about pre- and mid-shooting techniques. It also features some of the lastest Polaroids that I took during the past two weeks! Part three is about “Preserving the moment”.
Enjoy! 🙂

Choosing the subject – without remorse

Pigeon Double Exposure
Can you spot the pigeon? Yep, that’s 2,5€ down the drain.

Taking Polaroids these days would be less of a hassle if the images weren’t so expensive. The average Polaroid photo on Impossible film costs about 2,5€ for normal and 1,25€ for Factory Seconds packs (excl. shipping and discounts). This is why getting the shot right seems to be more important than ever. However, don’t let that ruin the experience of instant photography! If you see something worth capturing, go for it! (See Impossible’s #nowornever campaign)

Not everything looks good on Polaroid, though. The following kinds of images are probably not going to come out right using instant cameras:

  • Scenes with very bright and dark areas
    Most Polaroid cameras have relatively basic optics in them. Unless you’re shooting with an SLR 680, don’t expect the images to look perfect. Especially light / dark contrasts in images are a challenge for single-element fixed-focus plastic lenses, take this image as an example. More examples below!
  • Moving subjects
    If you want to capture something in motion, your best option is to attempt and follow the subject with the camera, taking the image somewhere during the sweep. This can yield a reasonably sharp subject with blurred background (but might also give a completely shaky / blurry image). You’re probably better off taking the image with your smartphone or digital camera and using an Instant Lab to capture it on Polaroid.
  • Close-Ups (esp. AF cameras)
    If you’re using a CL (close lens) equipped camera, those are just fine for closeups. However, with an autofocus or fixed-focus camera, closeups won’t be a lot of fun. I’ve had extremely mixed results ranging from great to terribly out of focus when shooting with my AF 660.  🙁
    See the gallery right below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Framing the shot

Unlike most of today’s analog and digital pictures, Polaroid 600 and SX-70 images are (obviously) square. In addition, because classic Polaroid cameras were made mainly for portrait photography, focus is sharpest in the center of the image and autofocus cameras will always attempt to focus on the center of the image.  This means that most photographic rules of thumb that you might know don’t necessarily apply on Polaroid format.
However, the following two basic framing techniques can be applied to Polaroid photography:

  • Rule of Thirds

The bend of the path was consciously placed exactly at the interseciton of the left and bottom thirds in this image:

Hiking was fun, but these ghostly images make you feel more like turning around and running downhill again.
“Hiking was fun, but these ghostly images make you feel more like turning around and running downhill again.”
  • Center the subject

This one might seem like no technique at all because it’s so basic, but placing the subject of your Polaroid image in the center is actually a good idea for many reasons:
– The center of the image will always be the sharpest spot.
– There is a slight vignette effect at the edge of many Polaroids.
– Classic Polaroid cameras were made for Portrait photography with the subject in the middle.
– AF cameras will always focus on the center of the image.

Things to note when framing the shot:
– Polaroid photos are quitte narrow in comparison to standard 4×3 images. Take care while framing the shot in order not to position things at the very edge of the photo, they’ll seem unimportant and be slightly out of focus! (remember, AF cameras focus in the middle)
– Be careful not to cut anything off by incorrect framing! On all non-SLR Polaroid cameras, the actual image the camera will capture is slightly to the right of what you see in the viewfinder!!

Setting things up

Depending on when and where you’re taking the photo, different settings should be used on your camera. Impossible has some good support documents detailing what settings to use in which situations and with which model of camera:
“Explanation of dark & light settings”
– How to use the flash: “My photo are over or under-exposed with the flash”

When you’re arranging the subject(s), take some extra time and take some quick digital test images (LOL! Back in the 70s, Polaroids were used for test images!) to check wether the scene looks right. This will also help you with remembering when and where you took the Polaroid image. It’s no shame to rearrange chairs and people for your image since the print will cost an instant 2,5€ (no pun intended).
The following shot took about five minutes of preparation and involved lots of sticky tape to keep everything in place!

How to press the shutter

With everything set up and ready to go, it’s time to press that shutter button! On 600 cameras, use the small black tab under the red button to take the image without flash.

That’s it for this part of “Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks”! To read the third and last part, click here.

To stay up to date with posts on CONATH.me, either follow me on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for the email newsletter. Please share any additional tips and thoughts in the comments below!

Polaroid shooting Tips ‘n Tricks Part One: Choosing camera + film

Hey, y’all, and how’s it going?
As I promised earlier, here’s a series full of tips for getting the most out of your Polaroid camera! Part one is about choosing the right camera and film for yourself to use.

Part Two: Capturing the moment
Part Three: Preserving the moment

Choosing the right camera

As you might already know, there are four kinds of classic Polaroid cameras distinguished mainly by the film they work with: SX-70, 600, Image/Spectra and 8×10. As selecting the camera is a very important task, I have compiled a list of scenarios and a corresponding camera recommendation for you:

  • You are an amateur / new to the world of Polaroid photography
    Your best choice: a 600 box-type camera. Any model in good condition will do, but cameras with CL (close lens) or AF (autofocus) features can take sharper images.
  • You have some experience with Polaroid cameras and photography
    It might be time to upgrade to a more professional camera. If you don’t already have one, you should now get a CL or AF-equipped camera. For even better image quality, consider getting an SX-70 camera. The film speed is slower on those but also shows more detail than 600 and Image/Spectra images. If you’re looking for one of the most iconic Polaroid cameras, have a look at the SX-70 Sonar Land Camera (not at the price tag tho…).If you’re looking to change things up a bit, why not try an Image / Spectra camera? The images are slightly wider than normal Polaroids and share film characteristics with the 600 film (see below).
  • You’re an experienced Polaroid photographer looking for the ultimate shooting experience
    8×10 cameras / film are the perfect fit for you. This format allows for advanced shooting techniques and uses some of the best cameras.

What camera I use, you ask? I am using a Polaroid Autofocus 660 camera because it’s robust and produces very sharp images – even sharper than my previous camera, the 600 CL.

Choosing the right film (for the right task)

After choosing your camera, the range of suitable films will be limited to the type of camera: SX-70, 600, Image/Spectra or 8×10 film.

  • SX-70 film has a film speed of ASA/ISO 150. This gives for a big amount of detail while reducing the chance of overexposed images e. g. when shooting outside as the film is generally less sensitive to light than 600 or Image / Spectra film. This, however, is also a downside of SX-70 film, as slower film speeds require longer shutter speeds in order to achieve bright images. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can try using an Neutral Density filter plus 600 film in your SX-70 camera.
    Tldr; hold your camera steady and you can get impressive results!
  • 600 film: Images taken with this film (ASA/ISO 640) boast bright and vivid images even at low light at the cost of image quality compared to SX-70 film. The chance of blurred images is reduced thanks to faster shutter speeds. 600 cameras are also newer than SX-70 cameras and their mechanics and automatic exposure can be more reliable. (Why is the image quality worse? You could say that the resolution of the image is lower because the chemical “pixels” are bigger. This allows them to capture more light in the same amount of time.)
    Image/Spectra film is chemically identical to 600 and therefore shares characteristics and film speed. The image area is slightly wider on this film, producing wide-format rectangular results. Great for capturing a landscape in a single shot.
  • 8×10 Film is the only choice if you’re using an 8×10 camera.
    The film speed is about 600 ASA/ISO.

Color or Black-and-White?

In my opinion, this is one of the most difficult pre-shooting decisions.
It depends on the motif you’re planning on shooting. If you’re going to take pictures of very structural subjects like buildings and abstractly looking scenery, black and white film can help to direct the viewer’s attention to shapes instead of colors. B&W images can also have a darker atmosphere and tend to look more old-fashioned than colored ones. On the other hand, taking a picture of the colorful flowers in your garden doesn’t necessarily make sense on b&w film. You get the idea.

That’s it for part one of this series of Polaroid shooting Tips and Tricks. Check out the other posts in this series: part two “Capturing the moment” (pre-shooting and mid-shooting techniques) as well as part three “Preserving the moment” (post-shooting tips including development, modification and storage of the images).
Got tips to share with everyone? Feel free to do so in the comment section below!

Please make sure to have a look at my previous posts and follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get notified when new ones arrive!

Polaralps – Hiking with my 600 CL

Last weekend, my family and I travelled to Kitzbühel, a town in the Austrian Alps. As teased earlier on Twitter, I took my Polaroid 600 CL camera and Impossible black-and-white instant film with me.
Here’s a gallery with the surprisingly mystically beautiful results.

To view the images, just click on any of the thumbnails here. You can then read the story behing the image and click it to get to the next one.

As always, if you like what you’re seeing, please take a moment to share this post with your friends. You can also leave a comment below or catch up with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Thank you!