Impossible Tutorial Tuesday: Troubleshooting The Cause Of An Image Problem

Welcome to another Impossible Tutorial Tuesday summary! Thanks to the folks at Impossible, who have been hosting these weekly Twitter chats. If you’re new to Impossible film, hopefully you have found these chats useful. For those of you that have been shooting Impossible film for a while, we thank you for your continued support and always being so helpful to new photographers. Regardless of how long you’ve been shooting instant film, we know it’s so important to support companies like Impossible, that work hard to continually provide us with fresh stock of film.



This week, Impossible’s Tutorial Tuesday topic is: Troubleshooting The Cause Of An Image Problem. We’ve all been there before s0 read on below to see how you can troubleshoot image problems. Click on the images to be linked to Impossible’s Support pages and learn more.


Some of us love what we’d call ‘divots,’ but sometimes, they take away from the photo that we originally envisioned. So, what causes these undeveloped patches? Uneven spreading of the emulsion.

This problem can be caused by roller pressure in folding type cameras, which varies from camera to camera and the viscosity of the film emulsion.

To avoid this problem with folding type Polaroid cameras (SX-70 or SLR-680), you can add slight downward pressure to the latch of the film compartment of your camera while the image gets ejected from the camera. This slightly increases the roller pressure and ensures even and complete spreading of the film emulsion.


Vertical Stripes – what causes them?

These vertical stripes on the image are connected to the three white pods (bags) that you will find on the back and at the bottom of your Impossible photo. These pods contain the emulsion paste that gets spread between the positive and the negative part when the photo ejects the camera.

This problem occurs when a film hasn’t been stored properly or used within 12 months after production. In those cases, parts of the emulsion paste will evaporate, causing these undesired stripes.

To avoid these, make sure to properly store your film (how to do so has been covered here).


Although they might look pretty, dots on a photo are caused by camera rollers.

In order to spread the chemistry between the negative and positive part of the photo, the picture goes through the rollers. If they are dirty, the chemistry won’t be spread correctly and these marks will appear.

In order to avoid this issue, make sure that the rollers of your camera are clean. How can you clean them? Simply use a soft cloth and water.



Have you experienced blurry photos? This is caused by a relatively long shutter speed at low light levels and not using a flash. Also note film for SX70 cameras has a lower sensitivity than film for 600 camera’s. In general film for SX70 cameras needs 4 times more light than film for 600 cameras. Indoor light levels are generally low, so it’s recommended that if you use SX70 film indoors, use a flash or rest the camera on a sturdy surface or tripod.



Dark photos could be a result of underexposure, however a totally black photo can be a result of a defective camera.

Your Polaroid camera has an built-in photocell that will calculate the exposure time.

Make sure to shoot with your main light source behind or beside yourself and not directly into the light. If you are shooting with the flash, make sure that the lighten/darken wheel or slider of your camera is adjusted to the middle position.


If your photos have turned out too light or white, there may be four factors causing this issue:

  • shooting at a very low temperature
  • photos hasn’t been shielded properly during development
  • the lighten/darken slider of the camera was on « light »
  • if using a flash, the subject was shot too close, as the built-in-flash will only be effective at a range from 1 to 2,5 meters (3,3 to 8,2 ft).


Have you ever noticed strange marks, artifacts, discoloration or spots on your image? Bending or shaking your photo might result in those spots or strange artifacts that may look like fingerprints or a leaf. The areas where the chemistry has been bended might also result in a change in the color. Click on the photo to read more on how to handle and store your film and photos.

Next week, How To Correctly Exposure Your Photos! See you all then!





  1. Hi there. Here’s what I don’t understand about the the vertical stripes. Why does the middle pod behave differently from the side pods? Don’t they all contain the same chemicals?

    • After talking to Impossible about this question, this is the response from them.

      “The customer is correct that the developer paste chemical formulation is the same in all three pod compartments but sometimes there can be some phase separation that occurs near one or both of the compartment seals so that the developer paste is not completely homogeneous there. This can lead to visual differences in that part of the image.”

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