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Using Impossible Project Film in a Mamiya RB67 aka “The Patrick Clarke Method”

On my other blog, I touched briefly on Impossible’s viewfinder article on Patrick Clarke regarding his use of a Mamiya RB67 with Impossible Project film.    The article did a great job of explaining how it works and for photography-minded individuals nothing further is needed.  However, for people just getting into instant film or photography in general, a pictorial on the subject would clear up any potential guesswork that has be done.

Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70
Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70

This method (not what’s pictured above ;-) ) works with Impossible’s SX-70 & 600 series film.  When I first read about this, I was stoked because I knew I had the gear to try this out.  It’s a pretty backwards way of taking a photo, BUT the fact that you’re able to do it, is really cool.  Clarke touched on the RB67′s qualities in the article  ”… amazed at how technically perfect the camera and its lenses were. I could control the depth of field, the shutter speed and aperture exactly like I wanted. My exposures were dead on, and the images were sharp as I could want” .. I couldn’t agree more.   The fact that you can utilize these qualities with Impossible film is awesome.

Now the how to’s ..

First, from this point forward, **anything inside asterisks MUST BE DONE in complete darkness (in a dark room, light-tight bag, dark closet etc.)**  Dealing with undeveloped film, because it’s so sensitive to light,  has to be kept in the dark until it’s developed.  This particular method, extracting film from a cartridge for use in another camera, needs a certain level of care in order to keep the image undeveloped until you’re ready.

If you don’t have access to a darkroom or a really dark closet, you will need to insert a dark slide into the cartridge to protect the film from light before removing it.

Release the lock to swing down the rollers ...
Release the lock and swing down the rollers …
Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit ...
Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit …
Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge
Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge

There’s a great video on Impossible’s website that teaches you how to swap film packs between cameras that talks about these first steps if you’re interested.

Push the dark slide all the way in ..
Push the dark slide all the way in ..
Pull the film cartridge ....
Pull the film cartridge ….
Out of the camera ...
Out of the camera …
Gently press down and push the dark slide all the way up ...
Gently press down with your thumbs and push the dark slide up … NOTE: Do this in a dark area so light doesn’t leak onto the top of the image. 
Voila! Happy unexposed film ...
Voila! Happy unexposed film …
Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 ...
Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 …

At this point, you need to put the Polaroid back & the freshly removed film cartridge in a changing bag (a light tight bag used to extract film) or your darkroom ;-) .   In total darkness you will need to …

Open the back ...
**Open the back and remove the empty film cartridge**
Place the unexposed photo face down in the film back.  Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.
**Remove & place an unexposed photo face down in the film back** Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.
Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.  Make sure the photo doesn't move when you push down the cartridge ...
**Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.**Make sure the photo doesn’t move when you push down the cartridge …
Remount the Polaroid back to the RB67 and take your photo!
**Close it up** and remount the Polaroid back to the RB67.

Go take a picture of something!

The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..
For reference: The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..

Once you have shot your image, remove the Polaroid back and put it back in the changing bag with the Impossible film cartridge & a SX-70/600 series camera (or go to a darkroom if you’re so lucky ;-) ).  Remove the exposed image from the Polaroid back and …

Pull the plastic light seal down and squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo
**Move the plastic light seal down. Squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo**
Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge
**Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge …**
**Push it all the way into the cartridge**
**
**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**
**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**
**Push it in and close the front ... the photo ejects and starts to develop**
**Push it in and close the front … the photo will eject and start to develop**

At this point, I normally slide an empty PX70 box inside the changing bag to store & remove the exposed image.

EXAMPLE:  Note the reversed image when shooting this way … 

Impossible Project PX-70 + Mamiya RB67 + 90mm f/3.8

7702447828_2de9915d4f 8269155974_e182df1704

That’s about it!  Now this method will work with any NPC back that uses FP-100C film.   The only question will be how much ‘real estate’ is being exposed on the negative.

Thanks for reading and thanks to this blog post for the inspiration!

-Justin

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