OneStep 2 Instant Camera introduced by Polaroid Originals

As of September 13th 2017, The Impossible Project is called Polaroid Originals. Apparently the company’s largest shareholder acquired the Polaroid brand and corresponding intellectual property. That seems fitting since the 2008 founded company practically saved Polaroid instant photography.

After Polaroid stopped producing instant film, The Impossible Project stepped up to produce new film material. They acquired a legacy Polaroid factory and developed new instant film materials for vintage Polaroid camera models. In addition to the Impossible Instant Lab (allowing Polaroid instant photos to be produced from digital images with a hardware exposure unit and a corresponding smartphone app), the company introduced a newly designed Impossible I-1 camera in 2016. In September 2017, the rebranded company introduced the Polaroid OneStep 2 instant film camera.

Polaroid Originals OneStep 2


New OneStep Instant Camera Model

Building on the unique original OneStep design by Polaroid, Polaroid Originals created a simple, easy-to-use camera with integrated flash and rechargeable battery. Apart from modern build quality and lens improvements, the battery is the biggest change for most users. Before, the battery was included in every cartridge of instant film, a factor making instant film cartridges more expensive, apart from environmental implications.

Polaroid Originals now offers film cartridges for vintage 600 series, SX-70 series, Spectra series as well as for 8×10 and the newly introduced I-Type cameras. A cartridge of 8 color or black and white instant photos for the I-1 or OneStep 2 costs around 16€ (compared to 18-20 € for vintage Polaroid camera models). That isn’t cheap. Still Polaroid offers a very unique photography experience, that is very much worth the money.

Over the past years, I experimented with every product the Impossible Project came up with and followed the company’s development from their early days on Kickstarter. I am very happy that it turned out to be a sustainable business and am glad that the legacy of Edwin Land lives on in Polaroid Originals.

Leica introduced instant camera – Leica Sofort

 

Leica Sofort
Leica Sofort by leica-camera.com

In late 2016 Leica introduced an instant camera, called Leica Sofort. It utilises Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film material and might prove to be another great addition to the recent instant film revival by companies such as Impossible Project, who just introduced their first analog instant camera after selling refurbished Polaroid cameras for many years.

Over the past years I used instant cameras quite a bit and experimented with the Impossible Project Instant Lab and their polaroid compatible film material to create instant images from digital photos. The Fujifilm instant film never was high on my list of priorities because I don’t like the formats they offer. Now might be a good time to give it another look. The Leica Sofort setup looks like a sweet deal.

For more information check out the article by WIRED.

The I-1 Analog Instant Camera by The Impossible Project

I-1 Analog Instant Camera

In April 2016 The Impossible Project announced their first analog instant camera for Polaroid instant film. The company has been around for a few years and basically saved Polaroid instant film from getting extinct. They started out by repairing and selling used Polaroid cameras and old film material and eventually bought an old Polaroid factory and started to produce their own instant film. As you may know, I followed the company quite closely and tried out their Impossible Instant Lab among many other things to create Polaroid images from digital photographs. I also keep using my Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera with the Impossible SX-70 film and am quite satisfied with the quality of the film material they provide.

They worked on creating their own instant camera for many years, so here it finally is. The I-1 Analog Instant Camera will be available from May 10 2016 for $ 299 and looks like a very decent package. It allows for Impossible 600 film cartridges to be used (Impossible’s Polaroid 600 replacement film), features a LED ring flash and can be connected to a smartphone app via bluetooth. Not being to modest, The Impossible Project’s CEO Oskar Smolokowski calls it “The Original Instant Camera. Reinvented.”.

I am not sure wether I would buy one, since I am quite happy with my Polaroid SX-70. Still, I am curious about the features of the smartphone app and can’t wait to find out, wether this will be enough to convince me to buy an I-1 Analog Instant Camera. Nevertheless, I am quite happy that the camera is finally here, since it hopefully will provide further foundation for Polaroid instant film being around for a bright future.

THIS Visits: The Impossible Project – Recreating Instant Film

Some insights in how “The Impossible Project” came to be…

Conceived at the closing party of the last Polaroid factory, The Impossible Project completely re-invented the process of creating instant film specifically for Polaroid cameras. A daunting task for sure, but one that they’ve been at since 2008.

More about my experiences with their products and my Polaroid SX-70 camera can be found in previous posts.

Impossible Instant Lab app
Impossible Instant Lab app

An evening with my Impossible Instant Lab – Creating Instant Photos

Since my bedroom wall is supposed to be decorated with Polaroid instant photos, I spent an evening with my Impossible Instant Lab, developing a series of photos with an iPhone 5 and the Impossible iOS App.

impossible-lab-1

impossible-lab-3

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The result being a bunch of color and black & white photos soon to be displayed in my personal little art gallery.

It comes at a price, though. 8 instant photos produced with Impossible Instant film sum up to 20 €, not considering the price of the instant lab. That one actually dropped recently from around 250 € to just 120 €.

So now is a good a time as any to start your instant photo experience even if you don’t want to buy an analog Polaroid camera like my Polaroid SX-70 Landa Camera.

The Impossible Project: Bringing back Polaroid (Wired UK)

Impossible Instant Lab app

The Impossible Project: Bringing back Polaroid (Wired UK)

An article from 2009 about The Impossible Project in Wired UK with some details on their motivation, their inspiration by Edwin H. Land and their mission to save Polaroid instant photography from extinction.

They startet their project in 2008. It’s 2014 and they are still around, continuously improving their film material. So for now, they succeeded.

POLAROID SX-70 with Impossible film material

While testing the POLAROID SX-70 LAND CAMERA SONAR AutoFocus I used film material from The Impossible Project. They develop instant film material for Polaroid cameras in both color and black & white. The film material is made in a former Polaroid factory in Enschede (Netherlands) which they bought in 2008. They basically had to reinvent new instant film material because it was already a dead technology and original color dyes were no longer available. Since their first new instant film in 2010 they constantly improved the quality of the material and the time it takes for the pictures to develop.

What might be of particular interest, is the film speed of the new Impossible instant material. The film for my SX-70, the Impossible SX-70 is described with ASA 160. The original film material from Polaroid was ASA 150. With these material unavailable since Polaroid stopped the production in 2005, many have modified their Polaroid cameras to use newer Polaroid material with film speeds up to ASA 640. They often used ND filters to correct for the wrong exposure time since the film is more then 2 times faster. ND Filters are also available by The Impossible Project if one wants to use their 600 series film material.

polaroid-sx-70-with-impossible-film-1

Although this does not seem to be necessary anymore with their SX-70 film, the difference between ASA 150 and ASA 160 is still noticeable. This can be addressed by setting the exposure dial on the camera to “darken”.

polaroid-sx-70-with-impossible-film-2

Unfortunately, by doing this, one looses the ability to adjust the exposure since all other setting lead to bad results. From left to right I tried “lighten”, “normal” and “darken”. Only with the “darken” dial set to maximum, I could create a more satisfying image.

polaroid-sx-70-with-impossible-film-3

Impossible Instant Lab – The App Let’s You Scan Instant Photos

When I tried The Impossible Instant Lab, I used the corresponding iOS app to choose the digital images I wanted to create instant photos from as well as the exposure time for the instant film material I used.

instant-photos-made-with-iphone-4

The app let’s me create analog images with the instant lab, which basically is just a housing case for the instant film cartridge and the iPhone while exposing and is manually operated.

impossible-instant-lab

But the app also works the other way around. It features a scanner functionality, so one can digitise the instant photos to save them in a digital picture gallery.

One just takes a picture from an angle with no reflections from the instant photo’s surface and selects the corners of the picture’s frame in order to cut and straighten the image to right format. Since The Impossible Project offers film material for the Polaroid 600 & SX-70 series as well as Spectra the app can be adjusted to the correct setting.

I am not sure why anyone would need this feature, but it is a nice gimmick. It somewhat foils the purpose of The Impossible Project and does not provide any decent results but still, it is an easy way to keep a digital memory of your analog instant photos.

Impossible Instant Lab – instant photos made with my iPhone

I recently tried The Impossible Instant Lab at the Apple store in Hamburg during their creative workshop tour around Europe (recently being February 2014, but I didn’t get around to writing anything about it).

Here are some instant photos I created on that day:

They look quite nice and the image quality totally surprised me, since I clearly remember many not so decent photos from my childhood.

Impossible Instant Lab – instant photos from digital images

Impossible Lab

In 2012 the kickstarter project for the instant lab got funded. It let’s you create instant photos from digital images on smartphones and was developed by The Impossible Project. They develop new instant film material for Polaroid cameras since 2008 and basically saved Polaroid instant film from extinction.

“Some images are just too good to be buried somewhere on your mobile phone. With the Impossible Instant Lab you can now transform any digital image into a real, one-of-a-kind analog instant photo via your iPhone or iPod touch. Select a picture, place your iPhone on the Instant Lab and within seconds it ejects your analog instant photo, ready to develop in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t matter whether your digital image was shot with your phone or created in Adobe Photoshop – any image on your phone’s display can be turned into a real analog instant photo.”

Source: The Impossible Instant Lab – https://www.the-impossible-project.com/instantlab/ – May 4 2014

The instant lab was introduced at a price of 259 € and was prominently presented at Apple stores and various other points of sale. With a reduced price of 159 € since March 2013 it finally becomes more attractive.

It can be used with iPhone 4/4S/5/5S and iPod Touch and works with any Impossible made instant film. The pictures are chosen within the Impossible App for iOS and exposure time is set according to the film material used. It basically works like this:

Impossible Instant Lab from Photojojo loves you on Vimeo.