Instant photography comes home with the Polaroid Now

Instant photography comes home with the Polaroid Now
Instant photography gets another reboot with the Polaroid Now
Instant photography gets another reboot with the Polaroid Now
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Instant photography gets another reboot with the Polaroid Now
Instant photography gets another reboot with the Polaroid Now

In an age where instant photography means whipping out a smartphone and immediately sharing the digital image with friends online, a boxy camera that produces self-developing prints seems like a huge backward step. But that's exactly what instant film cameras provide, and a revamped Polaroid has announced a new model called the Now.

The Polaroid Corporation was founded by Edwin Land in 1937, a company that originally sold polarized sunglasses. But Land went on to develop a "magic camera" that produced instant prints, which was described in a 1973 issue of Popular Science as "perhaps the most fiendishly clever invention in the history of photography."

The author wrote that he impressed his friends with a camera called the SX-70, where he framed the shot, pressed the shutter release and a plastic card popped out the front. Seconds later an image started to appear, which developed into a full color photograph. Such instant cameras were a worldwide success, but technology moves ever onward and the company eventually went bankrupt in 2001.

A new flavor of the company was launched, but when it declared that it would no longer manufacture film for Polaroid cameras, the Impossible Project stepped in. It went on to develop its own self-developing film, and instant cameras, before changing its identity to Polaroid Originals in 2017. And now everything has been brought back under the original Polaroid brand, and a new instant camera released – the Polaroid Now.

The 3.7 x 4.4 x 5.98-in (94 x 112.2 x 150.2-mm) Now is fashioned using polycarbonate and ABS, and features two fixed-focus, optical grade polycarbonate and acrylic lenses – one with a 94.96-mm focal length, and the other with 102.35 mm. The camera automatically selects which lens is appropriate for a given shot, offering a kind of autofocus for point and shoot ease.

The camera is powered by a 750-mAh Li-ion battery, and makes use of the Impossible battery-free instant film, though will work with the old battery-operated 600 packs. It has a self-timer mode, a double exposure mode, and a "human-friendly" vacuum tube flash. And that's pretty much it.

So if you want some retro-cool snaps to stick on your fridge door, the Polaroid Now is on sale in a number of color options for US$99.99. The video below has more.

Polaroid Now - Real Connection

Source: Polaroid

John Hagen-Brenner
Looks a lot like the Polaroid Swinger I got back in the 60s. "Only nineteen dollars and ninety five!"
Gregg Eshelman
But the new film is only 8 shots instead of 10 and costs a lot more. The Impossible Project bought a shuttered Polaroid film factory in Europe but didn't get any of the chemical formulae or certain aspects of materials that went into the film. They started with black and white. Their first color film had low color saturation but over time they've improved it. I wonder if they're using the original Polaroid formulae now?

So they had to reverse engineer things. Their SX-70 compatible film ended up a bit thicker than the original so with the battery they could only fit 8 in the pack instead of 10. (I dunno where they were sourcing the PolaPulse 6 volt flat batteries.)

When they introduced a new version of the SX-70 with a built in, rechargeable battery, and film packs without a battery, they continued to have only 8 shots when losing the battery should easily have provided room for 10, perhaps 11 shots.
Right, John, I had one, too. But Polaroid could have given them away for free, considering the price of the film.
Tom Lee Mullins
that brings back memories. I remember the Polaroid where one had to put a liquid on it so the photo would not fade. Perhaps one could take instant photos to put into a scrap book or diary?
You looked like you didn't feel like you had value. Here. See. Your important enough for me to take a PICTURE of you. That's good, smile.