Polaroid’s new Now instant film camera delivers a classic, punishing experience

The Polaroid brand has been through a lot in the past 10 years. After the company announced that it was abandoning its instant film format, Impossible Project resurrected it in 2011 and sold reverse-engineered film alongside the Polaroid Spirit 600 camera at Urban Outfitters. Later in 2017, Impossible Project brought the brand back in the form of “Polaroid Originals” with a camera called the OneStep 2, followed by the OneStep Plus in 2018.

We’ve now come full circle: Polaroid Originals has reclaimed the classic Polaroid brand. And to celebrate, it’s releasing a new $99 camera called the Polaroid Now. Like the OneStep 2 and the OneStep Plus, this model works with I-Type film (the type of film that the Impossible Project reverse-engineered from Polaroid’s factory and continues to make). And if you’re willing to pay a premium, it’ll work with the classic, battery-operated 600 format packs, too.

Unlike the company’s more recent cameras, the Polaroid Now doesn’t fuss with multiple lenses or superfluous connectivity features. Instead, it has an autofocus system that detects the subject, then cleverly slides in a 35mm or 40mm lens based on how far the subject is from the camera. Polaroid claims that, this way, the camera can home in on the correct subject, be it a portrait or a landscape shot.

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