I really liked Polaroid Originals’ OneStep 2, an entry-level camera that topped my recommendations for new photographers interested in diving into the world of instant film. However, when Polaroid Originals merged back with Polaroid, the OneStep 2, stamped with the old branding, had its days numbered. Sure enough, sometime in the past few months, the OneStep 2 has gone out of stock on Amazon and was quietly removed from the Polaroid website.
What’s a bummer is that I really don’t like the Polaroid Now, which is positioned as its replacement. The Polaroid Now has a fatally flawed focus system that made me want to tear my hair out when I used it. There’s nothing more discouraging than wasting expensive Polaroid frames on out-of-focus shots, which is why it is critical that either the focus system is controllable or clearly indicates what it is doing before you fire off a shot.
While Fuji is absolutely crushing it this year with two cameras perfect for beginners, the Fuji Instax Mini 11 and SQ1, I’m really scratching my head at what Polaroid is doing. I’m left with only the OneStep+ as a new Polaroid camera to recommend, and I bet that it is only a matter of time that is discontinued as well. It’s a shame because I like Polaroid a lot better than Instax, and I want the format to thrive. That means new photographers need to enjoy using it with new cameras.
As vintage Polaroid cameras get older and more unreliable because of their advanced age, these new I-Type cameras will become increasingly important to keeping Polaroid alive. Hopefully soon we’ll get true successors to the old greats like the Impulse AF and SLR 680. Unfortunately, Polaroid wasted the 2020 holiday season releasing a completely unnecessary and bizarre Star Wars version of the Polaroid Now and I-Type film. Let’s hope for better things to come in 2021.