How to scan Impossible films Using flatbat scanner and iphone

Why digitize Impossible prints?

Polaroid SX-70 with new Impossible film "V3".

It is lovely to make the analog Impossible prints with your camera. I make mine with a Polaroid SX-70 and the new Impossible I-1 camera. You can just be perfectly happy with the final printed and developed result, but sometime's you just want to change the appearance, style or mood of the picture. And finally share it with others who or not near you to hand over the prints. As it happens the Impossible prints have a great flexibility to change / improve them.

How to digitize Impossible prints?

This is the Impossible Scan Adapter which takes 4 prints at a time.

Using your mobile phone or tablet

The easiest and fastest way to get your analog Impossible prints digital, is to use the camera in your mobile phone or tablet. The good thing is that you then can edit the pictures with photo apps on your device. Here are some tips to help you started:

  • Install the Impossible I-1 app on your device and use the "Scan" function.
  • Take your picture under such an angle that you see no reflections on the print
  • After taken the shot within the app, you can move the four orange indicators to the corners of the actual Impossible print. When you press "save" the picture will be cropped and the perspective will be corrected.
  • Use a photo editing app to correct your Impossible pictures. Very good and user-friendly is Snap Seed.
Captured with iPhone 6+ plus edited in Snap Seed
Captured with iPhone 6+ plus edited in Snap Seed
Captured with iPhone 6+ plus edited in Snap Seed
Captured with iPhone 6+ plus edited in Snap Seed

Using a Flatbed scanner and the Impossible Scan Adapter

The adapter with 4 prints stuck onto it

Challenges when scanning Impossible prints

When you scan an Impossible or Polaroid print by putting it straight onto the glass of the scanner, you will get often an ugly effect with circulair rings on the digital picture. This effect is called "Newton Rings".

"Newton’s rings is a phenomenon in which an interference pattern is created by the reflection of light between two surfaces — a spherical surface and an adjacent flat surface." There is a solution which lifts the prints slightly from the scan surface. This is the "Impossible Scan Adapter". Although they stopped making it you can still find them on Ebay for about 40 Euro. It has four pre-cut shapes with a sticky surface in it. You can press your prints on it and they will stick there for scanning. It has also little holes in it to get the print off after scanning.

What settings to use for scanning?

There are many scan settings possible, but all depends on the required final image size and resolution. I have used an enlargement of an Impossible print to about A4 size at 300 dpi. If you want to let it printed on a minilab or online printservice they will always use 300 dpi for printing.

"Select 1 image and scan that and also make your adjustments on the basis of that single image".

Next to 300 DPI chose 24 bit for colour. This will give best tonal range.
Make brightness and contrast corrections with the Histogram and also change color if needed.

In the above setting it was not necessary, but when you have a highly over exposed image you can still get a good scan if you move the middle slider of the histogram to the far right. The high peaks in the histogram to the left are the white borders of the print so have no influence on the actual image itself.

Expired film, 2 years old. Actual image and corrected during scanning with histogram
An incredible recovery of a much to bright image. Of course you can also lessen the boost in contrast if you wish.

Some more examples of scanned prints from the Impossible I-1 camera and an old Polaroid SX-70

Shot on the latest "V3" type Impossible film with a Polaroid SX-70 Sonar camera
I love slight sepia look of the new B/W Impossible "V3" film. Shot with Impossible I-1 camera.

For more info go to the Dutch distributor or for more sample prints go to

Made by Rob van Keulen.

Created By
rob van keulen


Rob van Keulen, RVKPhotography.

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