Polaroid 600 Green Duochrome Film Review

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Polaroid (600) Black & Green Duochrome Edition film is one of the latest emulsions released by the company that features wild, contrasty results that are guaranteed to make the heads turn — if used correctly.

Green 600 is a finicky film that’s easy to get wrong. This review will show you some ideas for getting the best results and help you decide whether it’s worth a try.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the film appears to be gone from most places. I’ve contacted Polaroid to see if they plan to re-stock it and will be updating the links if they do. And so, unless it’s back at their shop, I’ll be pointing you to eBay which has some packs available. The downside is the price; the upside is the variety of discontinued Duochrome colours (not just the green ones).

A Polaroid film primer.

We almost lost Polaroid film forever, if not for a team of devoted instant film photographers who bought the last factory and named their product The Impossible Project. But even with the right tools at their disposal, it took years of research and persistence to restore the process — which notably had never measured up to the original Polaroid quality and consistency.

Modern Polaroid film is prone to problems, blemishes, long development times, and narrow dynamic range. Nevertheless, it is still an incredible product loved by many; whenever it fails, some say that it fails beautifully.

I spoke in length about the key properties of the modern Polaroid film in my review of the SX-70 colour film packs. The most important takeaways are: Polaroid film expires much faster than any other kind of emulsion, and it’s a challenge to shoot. However, the results you may get with it are unlike anything else.

For this review, I’ve shot two Duochrome packs while on a trip to Vancouver Island in my unmodified Polaroid SX-70 camera using the backlighting exposure technique.

The “Duochrome” look.

Polaroid Duochrome films appear darker than you’d expect. There’s no whitepoint — all results appear dusky and moody. Without the appropriate amount of contrast, it’ll be difficult to discern objects and people; the best photos tend to feature scenes with lots of strong shadows and bright highlights.

Interestingly, though the colour green is present throughout every bit of every photograph, it’s not overbearing as the eye learns quickly that it’s the brightest part of an image. And the black frame directs the eye toward the middle of the shot while setting the expectations for the dusky palette.

Dynamic range.

The absence of a whitepoint gives this film an appearance of a reduced dynamic range. Though based on the monochrome emulsion, which presumably shows less contrast than Polaroid colour films, Duochrome film renders gradients so timidly that it might as well have none.

In short, Duochrome film exposures are challenging to get right, and even when nailed perfectly, gradient transitions may be difficult to notice. Therefore, I recommend picking scenes with strong contrast to create silhouettes as the primary means to convey visual information.

Development times and image quality.

Duochrome films develop as fast as black and white Polaroid films, which is quicker than colour films. Images can become recognizable after about 30 seconds and fully form after 10 minutes. However, it’s important to keep the frames relatively warm — I placed mine in my inside jacket pocket immediately after exposing.

As you can see from the samples in this article, Duochrome exposures are never perfect. My packs were bought recently and stored properly in a fridge. However, the cool weather (~7℃/44℉) wouldn’t let the chemicals spread completely evenly while other minor defects added to the overall flawed look. I like to think of it as part of the appeal — within reason, of course.

Where to buy Polaroid Duochrome film.

As of this writing, Duochrome film is out of stock on the Polaroid website. But a few packs are still floating around eBay (I will update the links if the situation changes).

I recommend buying the freshest packs available; I wouldn’t risk anything over three years past the expiration date — even less. Also, this film should never be stored in a freezer; a fridge is the best place to keep it.

One more thing to keep in mind: this is an ISO 600 film that typically doesn’t work with unmodified SX-70 cameras — unless you employ the backlighting exposure technique or use a MiNT Flash Bar 2.

❤ By the way: Please consider making your Polaroid (600) Black & Green Duochrome Edition film purchase using this link so that this website may get a small percentage of that sale — at no extra charge for you — thanks!