Testing: Polaroid Softtone Film (Expired 2009)

Whilst searching around for a cheap supplier of Impossible Project PZ680 film for my 365 Project, I found a seller who has a heap of expired Polaroid Softtone film in stock. I haven’t really been up to date with the happenings involving instant film, but my understanding is that this was a batch of old stock that was located when Impossible Project bought an old factory off Polaroid when the latter stopped producing integral films. After testing and so on Impossible Project released it for sale, with a revised used by date. Anyway, the seller in question had this film for sale at a significantly lower price than the new Impossible PZ680, so I thought it’d be worth giving it a shot to save money. So here’s 10 shots on expired Polaroid Softtone film through my Minolta Instant PRO:

The Jeep, which features pretty heavily in all of my test shots. Shot on Polaroid Softtone film that I'm testing as a potentially cheaper film for my Polaroid-A-Day project.

The Jeep, which features pretty heavily in all of my test shots.

Killing two birds with one stone here. In addition to trying the Polaroid Softtone, this shot is also a test of the Instant PRO's multi exposure setting. This is two separate exposures facing in opposite directions standing on the street just up from our house. Worked quite well I think. Shot on Polaroid Softtone

Killing two birds with one stone here. In addition to trying the Polaroid Softtone, this shot is also a test of the Instant PRO’s multi exposure setting. This is two separate exposures facing in opposite directions standing on the street just up from our house. Worked quite well I think.

My happy little buddy. Although it looks like the flash freaked him out a little bit. Shot on Polaroid Softtone.

My happy little buddy. Although it looks like the flash freaked him out a little bit.

The little guy again. He is getting so close to crawling now it's a little worrying. The camera had him intrigued, but he wasn't scared of it. Shot on Polaroid Softtone.

The little guy again. He is getting so close to crawling now it’s a little worrying (mostly because our house is still full of random stuff). The camera had him intrigued, but he wasn’t scared of it.

So there's a lot of photos of the little buddy in this batch. Shot on expired Polaroid Softtone.

So there’s a lot of photos of the little buddy in this batch.

Our newest hibiscus plant. Shot in afternoon sunlight to get an idea of how the colours would come out. Shot on expired Polaroid Softtone.

Our newest hibiscus plant. Shot in afternoon sunlight to get an idea of how the colours would come out. The flowers are a bright yellow colour with an intense burgundy centre. The leaves are also quite green IRL because we’re watering them often. As this photo shows, colour accuracy is not a strong point of this film (although that’s to be expected, given that it’s expired).

I had to laugh at the recent news about Instagram's changes to how other apps interact with it, specifically the idea that you can't use "Insta". As if a company that only started up recently can lay claim to that when Kodak's Instamatic camera's have been around for so long. Here's a shot of one of my Kodak Instamatic 33 cameras, which I'm in the process of doing a post about. Shot on expired Polaroid Softtone.

Off topic for a moment, but I had to laugh at the recent news about Instagram’s changes to how other apps interact with it, specifically the idea that you can’t use “Insta”. As if a company that only started up recently can lay claim to that when Kodak’s Instamatic camera’s have been around for so long. Here’s a shot of one of my Kodak Instamatic 33 cameras, which I’m in the middle of doing a post about.

My Nanna's Polaroid 1000. Shot on Polaroid Softone (Sheet C41)

My Nanna’s Polaroid 1000, which sadly I don’t think works properly (shot 8 shots through it, every single one was overexposed, no matter what steps I took).

Little Ivan playing with his towel just after his bath. Dressing the little guy is a challenge now that he's learnt to roll. Shot on expired Polaroid Softtone.

Little Ivan playing with his towel just after his bath. Dressing the little guy is a challenge now that he’s learnt to roll.

As you've possibly noticed, our bearded dragons also feature pretty heavily in images taken to test gear/film. Shot on expired Polaroid Softtone.

As you’ve possibly noticed, our bearded dragons also feature pretty heavily in images taken to test gear/film. This is our big central, and she was not amused at being pulled of her basking rock for this shot.

All in all, the film performed better than I expected, however, truth be told I wasn’t expecting much. The colours are pretty muted and I’m not really a huge fan of the yellow colour cast that the shots all take on no matter what the lighting conditions. This would be a pretty good film if you were specifically after that “dated Polaroid” look, but for my photo-a-day project, that’s not really what I’m after. Also, considering how much better the Impossible PZ680 is for general usage, I don’t think I’ll be using this Softtone that much. Which is a pity, because it is a lot cheaper. I’ll probably grab a few more packs for experimentation though.

Shannon Walters

An amateur photographer who also spends time making chainmaille and doing too many other things to mention.

3 Comments:

  1. hey nice stuff! i love this film but can’t find it any more. i was wondering where you found it?

    • Hi, firstly my apologies, I only just noticed this comment had been marked as spam by mistake and I’ve been on holidays without reliable internet access, so it’s taken me this long to correct it. I sourced the Softtone film used in this post as a 3-pack from http://filmneverdie.com.au/ but it appears he’s run out of stock since I last checked, so I’m not sure where to look now. About the only thing I could recommend is contacting him through his site to see if he has any suppliers that still have stock.

    • You can still find it on the Film Photography Project store: filmphotogrphyproject.com. They’re down to their last few packs though.

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