Why take an hour to develop film when you can take instant pictures and have your image before you within minutes? This is the concept that made Polaroid a hit. Anna bought a Polaroid camera for my birthday back in August. The light green Polaroid Now camera is a lot of fun. In this review, I’ll talk about the film (color or black & white), double exposure and exposure settings, battery capacity, and a few tips I’ve learned along the way. Enjoy!
First off, the camera is a stand out. I mean, how could I lose this camera?! The camera feels pretty solid and weighs at least a pound. The front of the camera includes the red shutter release. A half press focuses the lens, a full squeeze takes the shot. The lens itself is a 35-40mm and I love using it for portraits. Still, I recently discovered the great nature shots it takes. The small white button has two purposes. A single press sets the stage for a 9 second timed picture. You just press the shutter button to start the timer. Hitting the white button twice allows you to create a double exposure: definitely a fun feature.
On the left side of the camera is the pack eject button. When you’re ready to insert your pack of film, you press the button and pull down the bottom of the camera in front. Insert your film and get ready to take pictures. The right side of the camera is where you charge your Polaroid with a standard micro USB cable. It doesn’t take long to charge and the camera is supposed to last through four packs of film, but that depends on your rate of picture taking.
At the rear of the camera is your yellow power button, the flash control, and your counter. When you insert a fresh pack of film, the counter will start at 8. It doesn’t matter if it is a new pack of film or half-used; the counter starts at 8 and works down. The flash control allows you to both manage the flash and also adjust your exposure. I’ll talk about exposure control soon.
The I-Type Film
The Polaroid Now camera uses i-Type film. I linked it in the beginning of this post, but here’s a picture to help you identify it. Packs of film come with 8 frames. Make sure to use your pack within a day or two of inserting it. Otherwise, I’ve noticed that images have streaks of over/under exposure and a bend in the frame. The fresher the pack, the better your image looks.
When you take a picture, the frames comes out from the bottom front of the camera. It slides under a black plastic piece. To take your picture out of the camera, flip the black plastic up and it will roll back into the camera. Set your picture aside and upside down for several minutes. It will slowly appear and be ready for viewing within 10 minutes.
Double Exposure is one of the cool aspects of this camera. To activate double exposure, you press the timer button twice. Your counter will change from whatever number you were on to “1”. You can decide to use the flash or not. I recommend no flash, especially outdoors. Because you are doing a double exposure, you need to be aware of the light coming into the camera. After taking your first picture, you then can create a second image. Be careful as the flash will automatically be added, so if you don’t want a flash on your second image, press the flash button.
In the photos below, I tested the exposure settings with the Polaroid. Holding down the flash button the in back of the camera allows you to access the exposure options. You can select to increase, decrease, or keep exposure at a standard amount. Pressing the flash button after accessing the settings hops between the choices. Some notes of my test: it was 4pm with a lot of snow in the woods. Probably not the best place to test this experiment, but I can update this later. The pictures below are, left to right: +1 overexposure, regular, and -1 underexposure.
The Polaroid Now camera ranges in price from $85-$100. Film packets are about $16 for a pack of 8 shots. It’s pricey. I can’t help but think about each picture being $2. Buying film in bulk lowers your cost a little, but it’s still a costly endeavor. Worth it? Oh, yeah!
Tips and Tricks
- Use film packets within a day or two of putting them in the camera.
- Have fun with double exposure and the exposure settings.
- Battery life is shorter than advertised (in my experience).
- Customer Service is superb.
- When shooting portraits, aim more to the left and up.
- Used packs are excellent frames.
Thank you, Anna, for this amazing gift that keeps on giving!