Impossible Project’s line of black and white instant film hasn’t been updated since 2013, because honestly, it really didn’t need to be. IP’s last generation of black and white film was (and still is) excellent. However, Generation 2.0 is here along with a new opacifier and IP has improved on the best. The ease of use, image quality, and speed of development is fantastic, running circles around every other film chemistry the Impossible Project released, including even color generation 2.0.
The image quality of IP B&W for 600 gen 2.0 is absolutely fantastic. Blacks appear even deeper than on previous generations, and sharpness is top notch.
Going along with the increased sharpness, there also seems to be an increase of perceptible grain. In most pictures its rather fine and looks great, but in a few it is noticeable to the point of distraction. I have a feeling that this is the result of uneven chemistry in some frames, as I had about 1-2 frames of excessively grainy photos in a cartridge.
The black and white image is nearly perfectly gray, with only a few hints of brown occasionally showing up rarely. The days of IP’s black and white film having a deep sepia tone are long gone.
Build Quality and Durability
Like all modern Impossible Project films, there is no leakage of chemicals from the frame and the picture build quality is very high.
Impossible Project’s black and white lines have proven quite durable. Many of my last-gen B&W films still look great months and even years later. There is a tendency for some images to develop sepia spots, so be sure to scan within a week of initial exposure for the best image quality. I’ve found some sepia toned areas developing on pictures only a few days old, so when in doubt, scan earlier than later. The sepia spots won’t destroy the image and some of you may enjoy the imperfections, but it’s something to be aware of.
Usage and Development
The headlining improvement in generation 2.0 is a new opacifier that’s the fastest the Impossible Project has released yet. From the timers I’ve set, I’ve found that on average it takes about 3 minutes for film to develop almost completely. Additional development occurs for the next few hours before settling into a final image, but 95% of the image is there within a few short minutes. It truly feels instant in practice, especially when shot next to older generation IP color films that take nearly an hour to develop.
Because of this opacifier, this film can be safely shot without a dark slide or frog tongue adapter attached to the camera. The opacifier is a chemical that protects the image from light after it is initially exposed, and then quickly fades away to ‘reveal’ the image beneath.
Uneven development on the edges seems to have disappeared with 2.0. Whereas previous generation Impossible Project tended to show bands of light areas around frame edges, 2.0 develops perfectly all the way to the edge of the film. I also didn’t experience a single undeveloped patch either, which makes me hopeful that perhaps this generation will store better.
If you’re just getting started with Impossible Project film, this is the film for you. Robust, fun, and easy to use without accidentally blowing out a picture, it’s much user friendly than the sometimes temperamental color lines.
The Impossible Project has truly captured the ‘instant’ part of instant photography and I look forward to continuing to use this film. As I’ve said in my previous generation B&W review, it’d be a shame if people overlook this film for color. It’s a blast to use and achieves consistently great results.
Good luck and happy shooting!