Polaroid, long-dead but now in the credible hands of Impossible Project after a couple of decades as a rent-a-brand, is releasing a new instant camera with a startling price tag: the Polaroid I-2 [polaroid.com] will be $600. It looks a lot nicer than the Fujifilm Instax you can buy at Target or wherever for $50, but there's a lot more to it, including manual controls, a high-quality 98mm f1.8 lens, lidar ranging, and "the unique chemistry of Polaroid film."
Built-in manual controls
Continuous autofocus 3-lens system
Outer and VF display
6 camera modes:
Aperture, Shutter, Multi exposure, Timer, Manual & Auto
Adjustable aperture range (from f8 to f64) and shutter speed
Accurate, human-friendly flash system
USB-C charging cable included
App-connected (iOS & Android)
Uses Polaroid i-Type, 600 and SX-70 film
Color and B&W instant film
8 photos per pack, 24 photos in total
Development time: 10-15 minutes
DPReview concludes that it is indeed the best instant camera.
Pricey but capable, the I-2 is the best Polaroid camera money can buy in 2023. Its suite of full manual, auto, and semi-auto exposure modes provides plenty of flexibility. The sharp lens outputs fantastic shots and autofocus works with solid reliability. Plus, the camera handles well and looks even cooler.
However, for a lot of folks, the core features of the Polaroid I-2 are going to be overkill. This is especially true given the point-and-shoot style Polaroid Now camera is just $95. It doesn't have as nice a lens or manual controls but it is $500 cheaper. Just think of all the film you could buy with that savings. (Though the prints are significantly smaller.)
The Verge's Becca Farsace found it interesting but "at times frustrating," a thought echoed by PCMag's Jim Fisher ("expensive and tricky to use") and Terrence O'Brien at Engadget ("unpredictability will keep all but the fanatics away.")
Unpredictability as a flaw! Kids these days, expecting perfection with every shot. Polaroid anticipated the reaction: its marketing tagline for the I-2 is "For the Imperfectionists."