Having written about the somewhat difficult combination of a Polaroid Spirit 600 and Impossible PX70 Colour Shade, it’s now time to discuss the results of the monochrome product from the Impossible Project – PX600 Silver Shade. In what in retrospect was the wrong way around I ordered three packs of PX70 (mainly due to the 3-for-2 offer) and only one of PX600, so I only had 8 shots to play with and I lost one of those due to a sticky darkslide and my own carelessness when I loaded it.
However, I had a much more positive experience shooting the remaining seven exposures than in shooting the PX70. Rather than the drab, low contrast images from the colour material, the PX600 gives lively sepia toned pictures. The main difference here is that PX600 – as the name suggests – is rated at 600 ASA and was designed from the outset for use in 600 cameras. The slow plastic lens on the Spirit 600 is still a bit of a hindrance when it’s gloomy, but on the whole exposures are short enough to avoid shakiness. It also doesn’t seem to have the odd crinkling that was a feature of some PX70 photos. Given that it’s a different cocktail of chemicals, I guess perhaps it’s easier to run through the rollers. On the whole when I took a photograph on PX600 it came out pretty much as I had imagined, within the limits of the camera.
It’s still very much a film under development though. The version I has was the 6th version of PX600 produced by Impossible and still required shooting into a light tight bag to avoid fogging. The shadows seem to suffer from, or maybe just show up more, a strange webby sort of effect. This can intrude a little, but in some cases it works with rather than against the photo, much like any other random Polaroid defect. The main problem is the image stability over time. There’s a known problem with some of these early batches with white crystals forming under the mylar film as the film ages, which gradually obliterates the image. There are ways to stop this happening but clearly I haven’t managed it, as some of mine are already affected.
Unlike the PX70 I’m going to try this stuff again sooner rather than later. There’s a new version available called PX600 Silver Shade UV+, which is said to be more resistant to exposure to light while developing. The samples seem less sepia and more black and white, and is supposedly more stable. We’ll see and hopefully it’ll be fun finding out.