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I will preface this by saying that this post will make me no friends, especially among those in the various flickr groups I am a part of. But still, I will be the gadfly, even at some cost to my sanity.

I just want to add, as an addendum to my Leica post, that I know another company that is perhaps the logical extreme of the marketing-overrunning-the-company phenomenon – The Impossible Project (TIP).  For those who don’t know, TIP is a company that revived instant film (read: Polaroids), bringing much-needed reprieve for the long-suffering Polaroid fans the world over.  And thank TIP for that!  I don’t want to take anything away from the good folks at the company.

A picture I love very much of my French press suffers from the 'Killer Crystals' curse

What annoys me slightly is how they try to package everything as a product – including fairly obviously defective ones.  I leave the reader to decide for him/herself if my words are justified.  I am merely stating my personal opinion.  I see these special editions, and my blood just boil a little.  To give you an idea, a pack of 8 exposures costs ~USD24, which works out to around 3 bucks per exposure.  This is a premium, if ever there was one.  Which is okay, if the product works like the old stuff.  Except it doesn’t.  My gripes include the following:

  1. Translucency of opacifier layer – the film remains light-sensitive after ejection;
  2. Long development time – it takes hours for my color emulsions to reach some sort of steady state;
  3. Excessive sensitivity of film – the SX-70 film is at least 2 stops too fast, yet the film packs are sold as something different from the 600 films.  This is a failed attempt, and should be sold accordingly.  Instead, at the time of writing,  it commands a $1.50 premium on top of the (already expensive) 600 film.  Color accuracy across the board also leaves much to be desired;
  4. Instability of exposed frames – the monochrome film develop what is called ‘Killer Crystals’ (click on the picture above, and you can see the actual grain of the killer crystals!).  Like the ad campaign says (paraphrased – can’t seem to find the ad), “if you have a name for it, you probably see it too often”.

Fanboys/girls will no doubt point their hippy little fingers at me and call me a hater.  I know that TIP has limited resources, and they need to milk this cow as much as they can (this could be a fad).  But put some thought into it, and with some foresight, this could turn into something permanent.  I mean, they have a virtual monopoly now, so why not capitalize on the huge market constructed over decades by Polaroid Corp.?  So, call me what you want, but I think it is time to get this out there.

Respect the founder of Polaroid, Dr. Edwin Land, and his endless pursuit of perfection (not unlike Steve Jobs).

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