SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film is a solid try, but this should have been a black and white film.
The SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film is a product that good ol’ Doc made to try to keep Peel Apart film alive. A few years ago, Fujifilm announced that they’d be killing that format. After that, Doc took to Kickstarter with SuperSense to create the One Instant Film pack. Like many who read this site, I bought it on Kickstarter. Mine arrived in September of 2019, and I only got time to test it this June when the conditions were right: it was warm, there was lots of light, and the industry isn’t erupting with one announcement after another. Unfortunately, my heart is broken by the two packs I bought–each with three shots. Supersense can save this by creating a low ISO black and white film. And if they do that, it would be pretty unique. But from my first experience with it, I’m not sure how I feel.
Pros and Cons
- Good attempt
- With the way it looks, they could easily make a black and white ISO 100 film
- You have to load it in a super dark area
- What’s the point of the paper
- Cleaning your rollers after each use sucks
- Sometimes you won’t get the emulsion going through the image correctly. That’s standard, but even pressing it down is difficult
- Why would someone pay for this?
- It’s possible to pull it through the rollers and get the positive and negative completely separated
- Darkslide comes out too easily
- A whole pack didn’t work.
- Fujifilm film that expired in 2017 and kept in the fridge works better than this
- The results would be forgivable if this were black and white.
- You can’t bleach the negative to get a full-sized film negative to scan
We tested the SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film with the Polaroid 180 Land Camera. (I bought this thing years ago and still love it.)
These tech specs are taken from the official website listing
- Film Speed: ISO 100
- Development time and temperature: This film yields best results between 20°C and 30°C at a development time of 2 minutes 30 seconds. From 10°C – 20°C it requires 3 minutes. When shooting outside in extreme cold film must be kept warm while developing for good results.
- Balanced for average daylight (5500 °K)
- Negative non-bleachable
- Finish: Glossy
- Paper size: 85 x 120 mm
- Image size: 75 x 100 mm
- Availability: end of 2019
- Regular price: 29,- EUR, Pre-order price: 28,- EUR
- Works with all cameras that are using Polaroid or Fuji type 100 peel-apart film. For 4×5″ cameras and type 100, you can either use a Polaroid 405 holder, or a Fuji PA-145. *The holders that do NOT WORK with One Instant are the Polaroid 545, Polaroid 550, and the Fuji PA-45.!!”
When you open the box, you get treated to a bag. I can only describe it as an all-black glorified coffee bag with none of the smell of a cup of java. If that already sounds like sadness to you, you can stop right here. For the rest of us, inside of this bag, you’ll see a piece of paper wrapped around the three cartridges. Each of these cartridges contains a single shot. Each of the cartridges is made of paper.
Here’s roughly what one of those cartridges looks like. It has a darkslide and a pull tab. The image above is what one looks like when you put it back together. I didn’t shoot one beforehand, because, well, you’ll see when we get to the ease of use section.
The One Instant film cartridges are made of a black construction paper that resembles something a smart kindergartner could make with a bit of help. This is much unlike the old school Fujifilm packs, which were plastic and had a full paper darkslide that was well constructed. Instead, we’ve come to working with paper. This is very typical of something that’s a product of Doc. When the Impossible Project first came around, everything was lacking in quality when it came to chemicals. But they didn’t use paper cassettes. The paper cassettes cause a host of problems that make people who buy these feel like their money was totally wasted.
Ease of Use
Above is a video of how to load the One Instant into a camera. This is pretty straightforward once you watch the video super carefully and actually do it. But there is one major problem that can ruin the entire process. They’re telling you to load the camera in a dark place for a good reason–and it has to do with the shoddy construction of the cartridge (which I’ll also call a cassette). SuperSense does little to nothing to hold the darkslide in place. So, even if you’re extra cautious, you can still move it out of the way. If that happens, your entire shot is gone. There’s no saving it. Go ahead and throw it away. That won’t happen if you do this in a changing bag or a very low light area. In practice, though, this becomes super annoying. It means you have to go inside, turn off almost all the lights, load the camera, go outside, set up, shoot, pull the photo, and then get your picture. When and if you want to shoot again, you need to repeat the process. It’s annoying.
To give you some background, the old Fujifilm cassettes held 10 images per pack. That’s 10x more than what Supersense gives you. So you could shoot, pull, shoot, pull, etc. until the pack was all done. It was great. And if you still have some in your fridge, you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.
Image Quality (Vs. Fujifilm Type 100 Expired 2017)
Before I tested this, I made sure my Polaroid 180 was in good condition. I haven’t used it in a few years, and I rarely pull my Pack film out of my fridge. But the camera works just fine. It’s best with the UV filter and the lens hood attached. In my tests, the SuperSense film has a look that’s very much a beautiful mess. But it would be forgivable if it were in black and white. In fact, I’d be in awe if this were black and white instead of just plain angry.
For curiosity’s sake, I decided to try a Fujifilm Pack film that had expired in 2017. I kept it and a lot of other films in my fridge. Here are the results:
The SuperSense film has a very low contrast look. At least my packs did. This was pretty difficult because an entire pack of my film didn’t work. It was crazy annoying.
Fujifilm Expired 2017
The Fujifilm Pack film renders images a bit darker, but you have to expect that when the film is expired. As it is, I often underexposed it a bit anyway. Considering that this film expired in 2017, it’s doing an incredible job. At least with this pack, I can use the negative, bleach it, and develop it.
SuperSense could and should make this in black and white. They could do that with their years in this business. And black and white in a low ISO option were available at one point. Black and white would hide the flaws a lot better. And, it would just be so much more fun to play with. But at the moment, I’m torn. I want to tell you to spend some money and help fund a company that will create something cool (only for it to be bought by a larger trust fund that will ultimately kill its soul). That’s pretty much what happened with the Impossible Project: we haven’t heard from them in a while. But I also want to tell you not to waste your money in a global recession. Ultimately, I’ll let you make the decision. But personally, I’m probably not going to buy this again. I’m better off with the stuff in my fridge.