Polaroid Round Frame Film Review

Creative Composition and Better Scans

3 min read by

Earlier this year, Polaroid began shipping its 600 film in the Round Frame Edition. This isn’t a totally new product as they used to ship round frames back when they were called Impossible.

While some expressed understandable skepticism over a product that offered a smaller image area with little or no change to actual chemistry, I decided to spend some extra cash on shipping from the US and get the film when it came out. Actually, it was sold out almost as soon as it was announced, but I was lucky to have gotten my hands on the second batch.

To shoot this film, I used my unmodified SX-70 camera with MiNT flash set to “low” to get the exposure right on a higher ISO film. I’ve also shot a frame without a flash but with the exposure set to the darkest setting in the harsh shadows — an image of my dog which I’ve consequently turned into an emulsion lift.

The fact that emulsion lifts are possible with this film is fantastic news for those who enjoy this technique, as it doesn’t work with all Polaroid films, especially if it’s colour and isn’t freshly shot. I waited three days to lift my image, which I suppose would’ve been much easier if done within the hour of pressing the shutter. Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with the result, which ended up looking like an old round mirror of some sort. Notice how you can see the chemicals being distributed at various densities across the frame in the unexposed corners — despite the image looking even throughout.

Newton rings are the scourge of Polaroid film scans. It looks like puddles of thin lines around the places where the film touches the scanner glass. Thankfully, this nasty distortion is much less common on the round frames as they tend to be straighter and are less likely to touch the glass as a big portion of them is the white textured aluminum foil that makes up the border.

The green tint in this photo is from a filter applied ot the MiNT camera flash.

While it may not seem like a big deal to some, I found the round frame to be a fantastic catalyst for creativity and just great fun to shoot. And it certainly helps to have an easier time with the scanner with most of the nasty Newton rings out of the way.