A couple weeks ago, I saw an ad from A&A Studios in Chicago promoting an upcoming event they are having demoing Impossible’s 8×10 film. Stated near the bottom of the ad was “Bonus! Learn how to expose 35mm on 8×10 instant film!” My wheels started turning.
I’ve been experimenting lately at my friend’s studio, MakeShift Photography, in Deep Ellum on various projects/ideas. Steve has a darkroom and I’ve been messing around with traditional black & white prints over the past few weeks along with some other things. When I saw A&A’s flyer, I assumed that they must be using an enlarger to expose the negatives onto the 8×10′s. If you guys are reading this and you’re using another method, please email me or comment below. I’d love to know what you’re doing.
I had a few packs of Impossible’s PZ-680 9/11 expired film laying around so I decided to use some of it for experimentation. If I used a B&W negative, I would expose a negative image onto the expired Spectra film, so I chose to use some slides (positives) I had laying around. One was a Kodachrome image from a trip I took back in 2010 to visit Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas and others were images that I shot in Turks & Caicos the same year.
Once I had the image inside the carrier, I put inside the enlarger and flipped on the light. I used a test image that was shot a few days earlier to orientate where the image would be exposed and could focus at the proper distance on the enlarger.
I used a piece of cardboard butted up against the left side of the frame to hold it in place.
The challenge when exposing slide film onto instant film, is that while you are extracting the image from the camera, placing it underneath the enlarger, fliping the timer to expose it, sliding it back into the film cartridge and inserting it back into the camera, there can be NO lights on during this process. You must be working completely in the dark. Unlike when you’re exposing paper in a darkroom, the negative is sensitive to all spectrums of light and will be accidentally exposed if you have the safe lights on.
After a couple of test images, it was apparent that the output from the enlarger needed to be VERY low when exposing this film. I actually had to go back and retry it once I had picked up a ND4 filter from my house the following day.
When I got back to the studio and set everything back up, I cranked the output all the way down on the enlarger, stopped the 50mm Nikon enlarger lens down to f/16 and exposed the film for 1 second.
I held the ND4 filter in front of the lens to reduce the amount of light that was hitting the negative material. When you’re doing this, you’ll notice that the output of light that is hitting the film is VERY LOW. It’s surprisingly low. You might not think anything has been exposed, but within 10-20 minutes it’s apparent that it actually did expose the film.
I tested out a couple more frames while I was in the studio. One on the expired PZ-680 film I had been using (top image in post) and another on some PX-70 COOL film that I happened to have loaded in my SX-70. The COOL film turned out pretty orange (the image directly above) which I kind of like.
Now with this method, it’s apparent that you’re not going to replicate the color & saturation that you see on your slides, however it does work. It also needs to be noted, that I tested this out with expired film. This would probably work better with Impossible’s CP film.
If you have any questions or comments about this method please post a comment or send me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading.