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Image credit: Kris Naudus / Engadget

Polaroid's new $100 camera brings instant film back in style

The Impossible Project is dead, long live Polaroid Originals.
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Kris Naudus / Engadget

The Impossible Project has spent the past decade trying to revive Polaroid photography, first by bringing back instant film for vintage cameras and eventually launching a new device, the I-1, last year. This week, the company goes full circle, renaming itself Polaroid Originals and releasing its second instant film camera under the familiar moniker OneStep 2.

Gallery: Polaroid OneStep 2 | 10 Photos

The original OneStep dates back to 1977, and the sequel borrows a lot of the same basic design, with a cream-colored casing, big red shutter button and Polaroid's distinctive rainbow stripe down the front. However, there's been a few tweaks borrowed from the I-1, like a more open viewfinder and two rows of lights on the top indicating how many shots are left on your film cartridge. It's simple and low-tech, which suits the camera just fine.

Each package of film only holds eight shots, which feels a bit dicey in a world where we can take thousands of shots on our phones. But Polaroid Originals also developed a new film for the OneStep 2, called i-Type. The film is specifically optimized for the new camera and won't work with vintage models.

That's partly because it doesn't contain a battery: Old Polaroid cameras didn't come with an internal power source, and were actually driven by a small battery embedded in each film cartridge. That also made the film expensive, something you don't have to worry about as much with the i-Type film, priced at $16/£15 a cartridge. It'll be available in both color and black and white varieties, and the sample pictures I took had good colors and a slight dreamy quality, just as I remember from my childhood. However, it doesn't develop any faster when you shake it.

Gallery: Vintage Polaroid cameras | 8 Photos

Fans of older Polaroid cameras won't be left out in the cold, however. The company will continue to produce new film for the 600, SX-70, Spectra and 8x10 lines, which have been repackaged under the Polaroid Originals name and styling. You can even pick up vintage Polaroid cameras on the site, if something like the Spice Cam is more your speed.

As for the OneStep 2, it's available for pre-order on the Polaroid Originals site right now for $100/£110 in white and graphite, with orders shipping out next month.

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