Po­laroid OneStep+

Andy West­lake tests Po­laroid’s lat­est in­stant cam­era that can be con­trolled re­motely from a smart­phone

Amateur Photographer - - Testbench -

£149.99 uk.po­laroido­rig­i­nals.com

LOOK­ING like it’s been tele­ported straight out of the 1970s, the Po­laroid OneStep+ is an unashamedly retro-styled in­stant cam­era. It’s a de­vel­op­ment of the OneStep 2, adding Blue­tooth for re­mote con­trol from your phone for a £30 pre­mium. It also gains an up­graded lens with two man­u­ally switch­able fo­cus po­si­tions – 0.6m to in­fin­ity for the stan­dard lens, and 0.3m to 0.9m for the ‘por­trait’ lens.

Other than that, it’s an ex­tremely ba­sic cam­era with barely any con­trols: sim­ply turn it on and press the front-mounted shut­ter but­ton. The flash will fire, gears will whirr, and your photo will be spat out the front, cov­ered by a re­tract­ing plas­tic ‘tongue’ to pre­vent it be­ing bleached by the light be­fore it’s even de­vel­oped. A slider be­neath the viewfinder makes prints lighter or darker, while a but­ton on the back dis­ables the flash. That’s your lot.

What sets this model apart, though, is the abil­ity to con­trol it re­motely from a smart­phone. The beau­ti­fully de­signed Po­laroid Orig­i­nals app in­cludes a sim­ple re­mote shut­ter re­lease; a self-timer that can be set from 1 to 12 sec­onds; a dou­ble ex­po­sure mode; a light paint­ing mode that’s es­sen­tially a bulb set­ting; and a noise trig­ger with a cus­tomis­able thresh­old. Fi­nally, there’s a me­tered man­ual mode that lets you choose the shut­ter speed and aper­ture, turn the flash on and off, and de­cide when to eject the film. This al­lows free ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with slow speeds (up to 30sec) or mul­ti­ple ex­po­sures.


On pa­per, the OneStep+ should be the best in­stant cam­era money can buy. The hard­ware main­tains the sim­plis­tic charm of clas­sic Po­laroid cam­eras, but the ad­di­tion of fully man­ual con­trol from your smart­phone prom­ises a whole ex­tra level of cre­ativ­ity.

It has some se­ri­ous prob­lems, though. The viewfinder is ridicu­lously ap­prox­i­mate – don’t ex­pect to get any­thing close to a con­sid­ered com­po­si­tion. The colour film gives a muddy, faded look that might char­i­ta­bly be con­sid­ered ‘arty’, but which ul­ti­mately just isn’t as at­trac­tive as Fu­ji­film In­stax film. The mono ver­sion looks much nicer, but the test pack I shot failed to de­velop any image over large tracts of the prints. Whether this counts as charm­ingly quirky or plain de­fec­tive de­pends wholly on your point of view.

If you’re pre­pared to em­brace the un­pre­dictabil­ity of Po­laroid Orig­i­nals film, and like the idea of man­ual con­trol, the OneStep+ is worth con­sid­er­ing. How­ever, if you’re after an in­stant cam­era that will con­sis­tently de­liver good-look­ing prints, then the Fu­ji­film In­stax SQ6 would be a bet­ter choice for less money.

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