UPDATE: Polaroid 1200 Soft Tone film was the last expired Polaroid film that the Impossible Project sold. Because of its unique nature and the fact that it doesn’t work on common 600 type cameras, IP was still selling the stuff well into 2012. I got a few packs early on and quickly fell in love with the film. When the film went on sale, I amassed a stockpile of the stuff. For the past few years, I’ve shot at least a pack of Polaroid Soft Tone on every major shoot I’ve done. However, as of the end of 2013 I’m facing the last of my stockpile. As I shoot my last three packs, it feels like the end of an era. I’m finally going to have to face the reality that Polaroid is truly gone.
Below is the review I wrote when I first got a chance to try out this amazing film. To date, I’ve shot at least 20 packs of the stuff, and can confidently recommend it. Because IP was selling it so recently, there’s a good chance you can still find some of this on eBay.
The Impossible Project recently had a little promotion where they briefly released some Polaroid Image Soft tone edge cut film for a measly ten dollars. I couldn’t resist, so I picked up three packs for my trusty Spectra camera. I wasn’t sure to expect, there wasn’t any solid information on why Soft tone was any different than regular Image film.
Strangely enough, I think the Impossible Project just sent me normal, non-edge cut Soft tone, as I haven’t had a single picture with an edge-cut line appear. There isn’t even an edge cut sticker on the packaging. I guess I got lucky. Thanks IP!
After using two packs of Soft tone, the main difference seems to be lower contrast and muted colors. Combined with the fact that it’s expired, the film has a great vintage look that normal Polaroids take some time to acquire. Similar to using a Holga, the film instantly dates your image and gives it a unique atmosphere. If you look incredibly closely at a scan, you’ll see a bunch of yellow dots that give the image a yellow hue.
As always with genuine Polaroid, durability and usability is fantastic. You don’t have to worry about shielding your images from the sun and it won’t deteriorate in humid environments.
Remember, this is a type 1200 film, which means it will only work in Spectra, Image, or Polaroid Type 1200 cameras. These cameras are much rarer than your typical SX-70 or 600 camera, but I can’t recommend them enough due to their generally superior quality. Many of these cameras were made for professional use in police departments and such. I got mine for less than the price of a pack of film on eBay and it works great.
For ten bucks this is an absolute steal if you can get some edge cut. The non edge cut version costs the same as regular expired Polaroid image. IP still hasn’t come anywhere close with their color shade, so either option is some of the best stuff out there. If you’re trying to decide between traditional and soft tone, it will depend on what you’re trying to shoot. For most people I would recommend traditional for its strong colors, but soft tone works amazing when you’re trying for warm, retro tones.
Good luck and happy shooting!