Inside Impossible: A Factory Tour

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Top Floor: The Lab

Betsy the Fashion Dummy. Like many, she's been working here for years.

We reach the top floor once again where Kees introduces me to Marie (or Betsy, whatever she’s called on any given day). How exciting!

She’s a mannequin who sits under controlled lighting conditions, with a Polaroid 600 Barbie Camera sitting in front of her. Her only companion is a colour test card – but she still has that intoxicating smile on her lips (read: creepy).

This is where Impossible conduct material tests: take 10 pictures of them same scene with the same exposure, then develop each picture under different ambient conditions (temperature and light mainly).

Impossible Test Batches: lots of them

They also store unexposed batches of film under different conditions and check how this effects the material.

One of the main difficulties here is to get the developer paste absolutely right, so they have small quantities of it which are injected into single pictures before it’s being used for mass production. They do this with special open pods which are created there and then in a dark room.

In it is another exotic machine which can expose one Polaroid picture with a test card. This makes it easy to measure the resulting picture which contains plenty of known colour and gray values – like an IT8 card. Crucial to improve the Impossible material on a day to day basis.

On the wall that covers Betsy’s Lair and the exotic dark room are the complete Darkslide Collections. I doubt I can complete my own collection anytime soon.

Impossible Darkslide Collections

Next Stop: Meeting with a 20×24″ camera

Our tour ends in a meeting room which features a huge 20×24″ camera – and can you believe one of those was actually in operation recently at a festival? Kees tells us there are about 3 on the planet and currently no material is for sale. It’s basically a mechanism where two rolls of film that pass though two rollers which spread the paste. You need to apply it yourself and then cut the film.

On the wall straight ahead there are some examples of 20x24" Impossible pictures

If I understood correctly Impossible are not going into this market any time soon – this is more like a museum piece.

Before we went back to the canteen and a final chat with Andre, we pass a long floor of offices – and on one desk sits another Golden SX 70! And speaking of it, there may be a surprise for Christmas with a PX 600 Gold Edition. We’ve seen the packaging, but Andre says it’s a surprise, and we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll post a picture if I get my hands on a pack of course.

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1 thought on “Inside Impossible: A Factory Tour”

  1. i just stumbled upon your write up! Thanks for sharing yor experience at the impossible factory with us (and congratulations on winning that gold sx-70).


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