Polaroid Originals Onestep 2 Retro photos for instant gratification
This has to be the weirdest digital camera we’ve ever tested. The microusb port does nothing except charge the battery. And instead of memory cards, it takes… Oh, wait a minute. This isn’t a digital camera. It’s an instant film camera.
The Onestep 2 looks similar to the classic Polaroid 600 (which you can still buy, for £20 more, from www.snipca.com/27339), but lacks the flip-over flash, incorporating everything into one rigid unit. It looks suitably retro and appealingly chunky, especially in the white version (there’s a ‘graphite’ version too). You can use 600 film stock, but at around £18 for eight shots (colour, black-and-white or tinted), it’s a reminder of how expensive photography used to be.
The USB port saves you a few quid, though, because it charges a built-in battery, whereas the original 600 camera needs a battery built into every film pack. The new i-type film produces the same results, but omitting the battery saves you £3 (about £1.88 per picture).
Of course, that includes the pictures that don’t come out as you expected. There’s no live preview LCD here – you peek through the viewfinder, press the button and hope for the best. Autofocus or manual? Neither. The lens’s fixed focus keeps everything sharp – well, fairly sharp – from 60cm (2ft) to infinity, so you just need to make sure you’re not too close. The flash has three settings, going brighter for further away. If you misjudge it, your mistakes will look cool anyway. And your photo comes straight out of the front, wet and chemical-smelling, under a shield that reminds you to keep it out of the light for 10 minutes while it develops (but no, don’t shake it). And that’s how photography ought to be, isn’t it?
So far, technology hasn’t produced a digital equivalent. You could take pictures on your phone and print them to an HP Sprocket (£109 from Amazon www. snipca.com/25562, see our review, Issue 511), which works out four times cheaper, but the prints don’t have that flattened Polaroid colour. Or you could try a Polaroid Snap camera (£88 from Amazon www.snipca.com/27342), with a built-in printer using the same Zink technology, but its prints are tiny. No, the Onestep 2 is, unmistakably, the real thing.
Retro-style photos in a flash, but running costs will limit its use to special occasions