A few years ago I bought a Polaroid ProCam from The Impossible Project. Actually, to be correct I bought a ProCam from Polapremium, as they had yet to assume the name. Because the Enschede factory made the Spectra film as well as the square formats for SX70 and 600 cameras, I thought it a good idea to have a go.

The ProCam is strangely shaped (it opens from the side), and I tended to find it somewhat unergonomic to use – it felt to me like holding a loaf of bread in front of my face. Not entirely for me, but I’d persist.

Firstly I had some Image film for it.

Love - Hope

Very nice, but it didn’t pluck at my heart the way ‘real’ (SX-70) Polaroid shots did. They just seemed a bit normal in tone. Like ‘normal’ film photos. I guess the non-square aspect added to that feeling.

Well let’s try some mystery white box film that they found at the factory…



Hmm. Still not quite doing it for me. I’m not keen on the way the expired 600-type films turned yellow and faded. Grumble grumble.

At last! The Impossible Project started to produce Silver Shade PZ600 film

Charing Cross Road

That’s the most success I had. I wasn’t terribly happy with any of the shots I took with the ProCam, so eventually I decided to sell it, and put the whole Spectra thing behind me.

And then a few weeks ago I found a regular Spectra camera for cheap in a charity shop. How could I resist? My thinking was “if it doesn’t work, I’ve not broken the bank. If I don’t like it, I can give it back to the shop for someone who will like it”. I ordered some PZ680 Color Protection film.

I like it.



Floral Street/James Street

I think it’s a combination of the ergonomics and the wonderful new film. I’m won over. In fact, I think I may take just this camera to France with me next month, rather than pack the SX-70. Funny how things turn out…


On the edge of space…

Travelled to France today to visit the parents. Also, my eldest sister has moved out here for a year with her husband and two daughters, so time will be spent being an uncle as well as a son.

Fuji X100 is loyally in my hand, and my SX-70 over my shoulder with some new PX70 Colour Protection film. Expect pictures!

Newton’s Rings


Way back in the mists of time I blogged about whether one should crop a Polaroid (no Impossible film then) shot to correct the framing. Looks like that old entry has fallen down the back of the sofa in one of the many moves. Anyway, I think the general conclusion was yes, why not/no, absolutely never. The main issue I was confronting was whether to crop into the shot. If you look at my flickr stream you’ll see that I usually crop away the Polaroid frames: this is for both artistic and pragmatic reasons. Artistic, because I’m not so worried about the frame itself, mainly about the image. Sure the frame is there on the real image, but once it’s been scanned, it’s not the real thing any more, and my focus is on the picture.

But sometimes the frame is part of the image, particularly with films such as PX600 Black Frame. And I’ve generally avoided scanning the whole frame because my scans suffer terribly from dreaded Newton Rings. Those rings are hateful rainbow interference patterns caused by contact between the shiny surface of the print and the shiny surface of the scanner. My solution has been to pop the print back into an empty cartridge and scan, thus raising the print just above the surface of the glass. But inevitable that covers up most of the frame. Sigh.

But sigh no more! The magnificent Dave Bias, Impossible America’s Vice President, founding member of Save Polaroid, designer of the original website for my favourite band in the universe, Medeski Martin and Wood (design since sadly replaced), wearer of hats and beard, has come up with a solution, which has been manufactured, bought by me, and it works!

The Impossible Project Scan Adapter

Really simple and straightforward, and as you can see from Neptune above, no rings.

So, thank you Dave!

Like Father, Like Son


My father and I are very serious men. Many a solemn hour is spent discussing important things. Frivolity is frowned upon. In fact most things are frowned upon. Except frowning. 

Or not. 

I bought my dad a Polaroid EE100 as a Christmas present and when I was out in France in early April he was trying it out, taking a couple of portraits of me to get the feel of it. I don’t often take portraits, but I was in the mood, so I got my 600SE with Chocolate film. Camera as prop, father deploying stern, serious expression. Exposure measure with the fab Pocket Light Meter iPhone app. 


Pull out the film, wait, start peeling. Oh right, as I often do, I forgot to take out the dark slide. I need something which pops up in the viewfinder with the word “idiot” if I press the button with the slide in. Swearing and laughing ensued. 

Try again, and success. 

Next day we went for a matching shot, father at the camera. Me in stylish attire. 


Dark slide in. 

Sigh. Laugh. 

Try again. 


Lens cap on. 

Third time lucky. Successful serious face despite the terrible giggles. 

I’m very keen on this pair of pictures. I’ve kept the one of him, he the one of me. Perhaps I should do more portraits.