Impossible Project Color 3.0 Film Test | Rochester NY Instant Photography

Being a frequent shooter of instant "polaroid" film (yes, they still make it!), I had an opportunity to try out Impossible Project's new version 3 color film. I bought a pack and received it in the mail this week, and finally had a chance to test it out today. In this post, I am offering my review and impressions of this new formulation. I shot the pack on a Mamiya Universal Press camera, with a 100/2.8 Sekor lens, and the film loaded in a modded CB-70 back.

In all cases, an image started to appear within 5 minutes, which is an improvement over the Color 2.0 film. The development was "90%" complete in my estimation by about 20 minutes. Only after a good hour or so were the colors and contrast fully set. These scans are all after 1 hour of shooting. Exposure to light during development did not seem to matter. Temperature did, however, with respect to color tone.

All photos were scanned on my Epson v700 flatbed scanner, with the Epson Scan software, and the automatic white balance. The colors and contrast represented are accurate to the prints. All photos except the outside ones were shot at f/2.8.

The first image I shot in natural daylight conditions and held the photo in my armpit immediately after ejecting, for about 10 minutes. This image rendered very warm.


I had a little camera shake on this one (1/30 sec), and underexposed by maybe 1/2 stop. Same room as the first photo. I let this one develop next to a space heater (not as aggressive as my armpit though)


This one was also natural daylight, but I left it in the ambient room temperature (about 68-70F / ~20C). The room also happens to be blue, but the colors are rendered a little on the cool, green side.


Outside on a moderately cloudy January day in Rochester, NY. It was about 35F / 2C outside, and I brought this immediately inside to the room temp (68-70F / ~20C). The unexposed film never cooled to the outside temp, as I went outside, shot and came back in within 2-3 minutes. Highlights are yellowed a bit and the shadows have that greenish tint still. Shot at f/11.


Same conditions as #4 above.


This photo of my lovely wife trying out her new hoodie, with our almost-2-year-old baby toddler Elliott in her Tula carrier was overexposed about 1 stop, and warmed in my armpit. Same really warm, yellow tones all around.


My son Jacob here was posed in the same spot as above, but for this photo (now properly exposed), I set it next to a cool window to develop (maybe about 60F / 15-16C). Notice the green tint in the shadows. The spots on the photo are dust from the scanner, not defects in the print itself.


For this last shot, I used a Nikon SB-28 flash bounced on the ceiling, triggered with the PC cord. All of the light was provided by the flash, which is daylight balanced. I warmed this one in my armpit as well, yielding that same warm tonality. For reference, the couch is a basic tan color, and my son's shirt is neutral grey.


Overall, I feel as though this new film did improve on what it was set out to do-- the development time. Specifically the improvements when compared to Color 2.0 are:

  • Development time (I'd ballpark it at a 40% reduction)
  • The physical durability of the emulsion; 2.0 film would show fingerprints or cracks if it was pressed or bent in the first few minutes of development.

The drawbacks compared to color 2.0 are:

  • Color tonality is a step backward from the color 2.0 formulation. The older film had a nicer, neutral balance (when developed in a sufficiently warm spot) and more vibrant reds. Color 3.0 moved further away from what the original Polaroid film looked like
  • This film is still temperature sensitive, and also unlike 2.0 film, shifted color when it was warmer. The 2.0 film had color shifts when developed in cool weather, but was consistent once it was above 70F/20C (my pants pocket or table in my home was sufficient).

I hope IP tweaks the color tonality to be more like the 2.0 film-- then I'll be happy to buy a large batch of it :)

-- Andrew