Review: Impossible Project Instant Lab Universal
I've been so excited to get my hands on this. If you've been following my Instagram, you'd know my immense love of photography. My newest obsession though is instant photography. There's this amazing feeling of not knowing exactly how your image will look whenever you take it. I also love the nostalgic look of polaroids – there's nothing like it. Using this medium also makes you more thoughtful of the image you're taking, and personally, I find this makes me a better photographer. However, with the Impossible Project's Instant Lab Universal now you have a lot more control over how your images will look.
One thing that really sold me with the Impossible Instant Lab Universal is the fact that you can choose what image you want to expose beforehand! Isn't that amazing? In this review, I'll go over what I enjoyed about the lab as well as a very succinct overview.
Pictured above is what you'll receive in your kit and all you'll need to make all the polaroids your heart desires. You may need to charge the kit before use. Using the kit can take a small bit of research before you jump in, but I'll try to give you a quick and easy walk through.
1. Before you get started: buy film!
Please know that you will need to buy film beforehand to use with your lab. You can buy a kit with three packs of film included directly from Impossible project online, in stores or at another online retailer. I purchased my film from Urban Outfitters in store just because I needed it now and didn't want to wait. I wouldn't necessary recommend this because you can find cheaper ways to buy film online. Impossible Project seldomly has sales on film so be sure to look out for that as well.
2. Load the film into the camera
3. Make sure you eject the dark slide. Now you can begin exposing your film!
4. Lift the lab all the way up until you hear multiple clicks. You'll know when it's
5. Blending old with new: Download The Impossible Project app
Another thing I appreciate the way Impossible Project handled this product is the integration with smart phones for the exposure. It's just so darn cool. Your smartphone is essentially the vessel for exposing the images – think of your phone's screen as the "contact sheet" and the lab being the enlarger. You'll also need to download the Impossible Project app on your smartphone to complete your exposure process. Apple products including iPads, Google, Android, Samsung, HTC and even Sony phones should work (Sorry Windows users). You also need to make sure you're updated to at least iOS 7 or Android 4.0. Your device should also have at least a four inch screen with a 300ppi resolution to work. The app will instruct you step-by-step with the enticing voiceover of Werner Herzog (oh, la, la).
6. Remove the Universal Cradle
If you have an iPhone 6 or above, you'll remove the cradle. If you have an older model, you will use the cradle attachment and leave it on the lab. Now you have the lens exposed.
Now here comes the fun part! You'll use your phone's screen to expose the film, thus creating your gorgeous polaroid. Line your phone up on top of the lab. You'll hear a success sound if you have correct. You'll also need to pull out the metal shutter slide in the back immediately to let the light in (pictured below). The app also has a scanning function, but I haven't tried that out yet, so I won't include it in this review.
>> IMPORTANT <<
Be sure that you only pull this slide out as soon as you hear the success sound from your phone. This insures that you actually expose the light to the film. You'll hear the "click/shutter" sound when the phone's screen exposes the film. I believe you only have five seconds to do this after you choose your image and place your phone on top of the lab. I made the mistake of waiting too long and getting a black image on my first try. :(
8. Enjoy your image. :)
Now all you have to do is press the eject button to eject your precious piece of instant art. The frog tongue will protect your image for the first couple of seconds, but make sure you place the image face down and keep it away from light. It will take at least 35 minutes for the image to fully develop.
Here's the final product. :)
The Impossible Project's Instant Lab Universal makes creating stunning polaroids so easy. It's relatively easy to use and makes turning your digital photos into shots that you can keep with you. If you're looking to take a dive into instant photography for the first time I'd say that this is probably not a good start for you. I'd recommend this for current instant shooters who want a little more control and refinement of their overall image quality. That being said, some may argue that it's a tad overpriced, but true lovers of instant photography will get it anyway.
The price of the film is also nothing to snuff at as well. I personally cant get enough of this device. It’s nice to be able to hang your favorite snaps, or frame them for ease. It makes them more memorable and in turn, makes you cherish them more. If you're a true lover of instant photography, there's so much to love here. The possibilities are up to your imagination. Have fun!
4 out of 5