If you really want to get into the weeds about this camera, check out my video review for all the details and context for how this camera fits into the world of Polaroid.
If you’re just wondering if you should buy this camera for yourself or for someone as a gift, I have just one question to ask: does it matter if it shoots good photos?
As a piece of industrial design, the Polaroid Go is a triumph. Unlike the lumpy Instax Mini 11 which is its main competitor, the Polaroid Go is a stunning camera. It’s small, it’s cute, it’s well-built with premium feeling plastic. An important factor with ‘fun’ cameras is how much it makes you want to pick it up and shoot it. You’ll want to shoot the Polaroid Go.
Which is the problem.
Because the Polaroid Go does not take great photos.
First off, the Polaroid Go’s images are tiny. Like, seriously tiny. Smaller than even the wallet-size of Instax Mini. That by itself could be overcome (just don’t expect detailed scans or anything), but there is something seriously wonky with exposure and color. Even with flash on in bright, outdoor or sun-lit environments, photos come out dark and dismal looking, with heavy blue tints and hard falloff. The flash doesn’t seem to be up to the task, or the exposure isn’t dialed in correctly. Something is wrong. The results don’t look good, and I’m somebody who knows their way around an instant film camera.
Somebody who is new to the hobby will pick it up, not be pleased with the photos they took, and then walk way from Polaroid. That’s exactly the opposite of what we need for instant film to survive and thrive.
If you’re looking to step into the world of instant film and you want the most affordable camera and film combo, you can’t go wrong with the excellent Fuji Instax Mini 11 and their monochrome film. If you want to shoot Polaroid (my personal favorite format), I recommend getting a cheap vintage fixed-focus box 600 type camera like the Polaroid OneStep Closeup. Just make sure to buy fresh film for it from the Polaroid store.
The Polaroid Go now lives on my shelf, next to a broken SX-70 camera. They’re both beautiful pieces of industrial art that just happen to not take very good photos.