UPDATE: As of late 2013, the Impossible Project has just discontinued selling this film off their site. However, this film has been around for some time, so you’ll be able to find it at stores and on eBay fairly easily.
PX 70 Color Protection is the little brother of the Impossible Project’s excellent PX 680 Color Protection, and is essentially the same film at a lower ISO. If anything, I’ve been getting consistently deeper and better color from PX 70 Color Protection when compared to PX 680 and PZ 680 Color Protection films. If you have an SX-70 camera and want to shoot color, this is the latest and greatest that Impossible Project has to offer.
The biggest new feature of the color protection series of color shade film is the opacifier, which temporarily protects the image as it pops out of the camera. Older Impossible Project films were still sensitive to light when they popped out and needed a dark slide or hand ready to cover them up as they popped out of the slot. I can only imagine how many complaints the Impossible Project got from people complaining that all their photos were blown out by the sun.
Photo by Dan Finnen
The new opacifier works great, but I wouldn’t depend on it entirely. Especially when outdoors, keep using a dark slide or frog tongue adapter to protect your images for the first few minutes after they pop out of the camera. I usually immediately throw new photos into a special pocket in my bag to protect them. If the images are exposed to bright light, they tend to fog up or become washed out entirely.
Image quality wise, this is some of the best stuff the Impossible Project has produced. Colors are just ever so slightly muted since the pre-opacifier generation, but they look great. The PX 70 in particular has deep, wonderful colors. Unlike PZ 680 and sometimes PX 680, there is no need to set exposure compensation to darken to prevent blowing out images.
I have noticed that the film struggles with the color green, shifting it towards a dark blue. If you look at the above image, the dress is actually green although it appears the same color blue as the water (which also had a lot more green to it than the photo suggests.) This isn’t a problem in practice, but something to keep in mind if you’re trying to get something specific. Personally, the weird color shifts are one of my favorite aspects of the film, keeping everything unpredictable and adding a surreal sheen to images.
All Impossible Project color film tends to turn blue as it ages, so I highly recommend scanning your PX 70 Color Protection images as soon as possible after development has completed. Beyond one week, you’re risking a blue tint. Humidity and temperature have a big impact on the speed of the ‘blue-ing’ of the picture, so storage conditions will affect how the photo changes over time.
If you’re shooting on SX-70 cameras and no longer have any expired Time Zero, this is a film I can recommend with no reservations. Colors are great, the opacifier protects your image, and there are no strange ‘alligator skin’ defects in the photo. If you’re just starting out and still haven’t picked up a camera, I recommend going with 600 or 1200 type cameras and film simply because they’re newer and more user friendly. SX-70 type films, including PX 70 Color Protection, require a ton of light for images to come out crisp and clear. But man, when they do, they’re fantastic.
Good luck and happy shooting!