Polaroid’s Blast from the Past

This is Polaroid’s new OneStep 2 instant camera, introduced in September 2017. You might be thinking that Polaroid went out of business a few years ago, and you’re right: the original Polaroid company, founded in 1937, went bankrupt in 2001. A successor “Polaroid” company was subsequently created, then also went bankrupt by 2008.

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The present-day company, started as the “Impossible Project” in 2008, bought Polaroid’s assets and intellectual property. This company was renamed “Polaroid Originals” last year. The original aim of the Impossible Project was to continue manufacturing Polaroid’s instant film, initially in a former Polaroid factory in the Netherlands.

You might remember the original version of this camera, if you were old enough in 1977. It was simple to use, with minimal controls, a fixed-focus lens, and was a best-seller for a time.

Here’s the new OneStep 2 camera next to the original:

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It’s nice to see that Polaroid Originals kept the design of the new camera faithful to the original. Using the new camera is a great nostalgia trip and brings back lots of memories. If you haven’t taken pictures with a film camera recently, you’ll be surprised by how much light the film needs for decent exposure (hence the enormous flash unit on the Polaroid5 new camera), the lack of clarity and relatively shallow depth-of-field. Here’s a shot taken outdoors with lots of light. Indoors you’ll easily get underexposed pictures.

For fans of the format, none of this matters. The fact that this is chemical film, where the exposure develops before your eyes (although you’re supposed to keep the photo covered while it’s developing and NEVER SHAKE IT!), and that you’re left with a kind of picture that hasn’t changed in decades, is a huge attraction.

This being a maker blog, I’ve got a tie-in: a 3D-printable picture frame for these pictures. You can download the 3D model in .STL format here.

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