Polaroid Originals OneStep 2
Geoff Harris sees if the revived Polaroid is an instant classic
THE OneStep 2 is the first instant camera to be launched by the revived Polaroid Originals brand, now owned by the Impossible Project. It’s a purely analogue camera that takes both 600 and the new i-Type film. Despite its deliberate ’70s styling, the OneStep 2 does have some modern touches, including a better lens, rechargeable battery with 60- day life (topped up by USB) and built-in flash. It’s great to see the Polaroid name revived, but why does the OneStep 2 leave me rather cold?
First, it’s ugly. Sure, you can convince yourself that this plastic carbuncle is all very hipster, but it juts out like a beer gut and you’ll soon feel the weight. Sure, you can’t miss the big red shutter button but the flash override button is fiddly, as is the film door latch.
Second, options are limited. Apart from the shutter button and flash override, you have a two-setting exposure- compensation slider (lighter or darker) and a self-timer. The manual recommends using flash, even indoors with decent light, but it’s often overpowering. Hit the flash override, however, and your prints can underexpose. The fixed focus is obviously basic, but is effective enough from 60cm (about 2ft) to infinity - don’t try and get in too close.
Third, it takes 15 minutes for the print to fully expose, and it must be kept as dark as possible while developing, which rather reduces the camera’s appeal at a party or wedding. As for the new film, it looks nice enough, with muted colours and the occasional flaw adding to the retro charm, but the cost-per-print compares poorly with Fujifilm Instax. Fifteen pounds buys eight sheets of Polaroid Originals Color i-Type film, compared to 20 colour prints from Fujifilm. The new black & white film is impressive, however, especially for portraits.
It’s good to see Polaroid cameras revived, but the OneStep 2 feels like too little too late, especially at £110 plus film, and given the stiff competition from Fujifilm. While the iconic square prints will always look cool – and the new film formulations can generate interesting images – the OneStep 2’s ‘Fisher Price’ design, bare-bones options, relatively high printing costs and slow printing times end up raining on the Polaroid revival parade.
Lens The fixed lens has a useful 106mm focal length and focuses from about 60cm (2ft) to infinity. Printer It can take 15 minutes for the print to fully expose, so ‘instant’ is a relative term here. Two-position exposure slider The exposure compensation slider (+/-) is about as basic as it gets. Self-timer A self-timer and a tripod bush make this rather basic camera a little more versatile.