For those of you keeping track, back in 2008 Polaroid discontinued their popular line of instant 600, SX-70, and Spectra film. The Impossible Project rose to fill the void by creating new instant film from the ground up that would work with vintage Polaroid cameras. A few years ago, the Impossible Project sort-of merged with Polaroid, renaming itself ‘Polaroid Originals.’ As of today, the merging is complete, as Polaroid Originals is now just ‘Polaroid.’
Long-term this makes total sense, as the average consumer is not going to keep track of all these branding changes. If they want Polaroid, they’re not going to want to suss out the difference between Old Polaroid/Shell Company Polaroid/Impossible Project Polaroid. However, in the short term, we got yet another name change muddying the water, and it feels we’re farther than ever from the scrappy Impossible days where there was a close-knit, passionate group of photographers who rallied around that branding. I think a big part of that is how ‘distant’ the company feels these days, as the Impossible Project seemed relentlessly transparent about what they were up to, whereas I initially learned of this branding change from a review on the Verge rather than any direct communication from the company. Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be any materials on their website acknowledging the existence of Polaroid Originals/Impossible Project for those who may be confused by the change and wondering what just happened.
To celebrate the brand change, Polaroid/Polaroid Originals/the Impossible Project has released a new camera, the Polaroid Now. New Polaroid has really taking on vintage Polaroid’s tradition of arbitrary camera names for their box-type cameras (what does the ‘now’ mean versus OneStep?). It looks like the Polaroid Now is a replacement for the OneStep 2, which is no longer for sale on the official site. The OneStep Plus, however, remains on sale.
I’ll have more to say about the Polaroid Now once I get my hands on it, but it seems like a healthy upgrade over the fixed focus OneStep 2. At the same price point of 100 USD, it adds a basic autofocus function, which is always appreciated. Those who want to use their phone as a remote shutter will have to continue looking to the non-autofocusing OneStep+, as the Now does not have bluetooth capabilities.
Also accompanying the brand change is some new packaging for the film itself. While similar to the Polaroid Originals style boxes, the new details look sharp, simple, and evokes classic Polaroid in the best way possible.
I’ll update this article with more information as I receive it. Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy in these heady times. It’s always nice to have a piece of news that doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, all that other stuff that’s happening right now.