Polaroid Now+ i-Type Review
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Polaroid Now+ i-Type
$135.00 at Amazon
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$72.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Vintage appeal, creative controls, user-friendly app||Lots of creative options, convenient size, great image quality, can save photos and view before printing||Gorgeous prints, lots of creative features, simple user interface||Easy to use, stylish aesthetic, selfie mode||Easy to use, convenient size, reliable, budget friendly|
|Cons||Expensive film, awkward size, muted colors||Mild learning curve to ensure prints come out well in different lighting situations||Prone to jamming, expensive, on the heavy side||No timer button, inaccurate film counter||Limited creative controls, non adjustable flash|
|Bottom Line||This classic instant film staple is updated with the option to enhance the experience via a creative app||A hybrid that utilizes the best parts of digital and film, all in one convenient little package||A beautiful machine that produces stunning wide-format images with a vintage appeal||Easy to use and easy on the eyes, this point-and-shoot camera is the best choice for those looking for a simple and fun film experience||A reliable and simple to use option that's great for all ages|
|Rating Categories||Polaroid Now+ i-Type||Fujifilm Instax Min...||Lomography Lomo'Ins...||Fujifilm Instax Squ...||Fujifilm Instax Min...|
|Image Quality (40%)|
|User Friendliness (30%)|
|Specs||Polaroid Now+ i-Type||Fujifilm Instax Min...||Lomography Lomo'Ins...||Fujifilm Instax Squ...||Fujifilm Instax Min...|
|Film Cost Per Photo (approx)||$2.10||$0.50||$0.85||$0.90||$0.85|
|Film Capacity||8 shots||10 shots||10 shots||10 shots||10 shots|
|Battery Capacity||Claimed: 15 packs (or up to 60 days)
Tested: 1 charge lasted throughout testing
|Claimed: 40 prints per charge
Tested: About 5 packs or 50 prints; camera lasted a surpisingly long time when it read as "out of battery"
|Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
|Claimed: 30 film packs
Tested: never had to change batteries
|Claimed: 100 prints per charge depending on conditions
Tested: Accurate; camera was used in a wide variety of conditions (cold, indoor/outdoor, near a heater), and the charge was never drastically affected.
|Power Supply||Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB)||Built-in rechargeable battery (Micro USB)||Four size AA 1.5 V alkaline batteries||2 CR2 batteries||Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB)|
|Dimensions (as per manufacturer)||150mm ×111.2mm × 94mm||122 mm x 79 mm x 23 mm||167.8 mm x 94.7 mm x 120.9 mm (excluding protrusions)||130.7 mm × 118.6 mm × 57.5 mm||82.5 mm x 122.9 mm x 36.7 mm (excluding protrusions)|
|Weight (as per manufacturer)||15.7 oz||16 oz||21.6 oz (without battery, strap, film pack, and close up lens)||13.8 oz||8 oz (without fiilm pack and memory card)|
|Picture Size (as per manufacturer)||88.9 mm x 107mm||54mm x 86mm||99 mm x 62 mm||64mm x 64mm||62 mm x 46 mm|
|Image Settings||Autofocus||In-camera filters (monochrome, vintage, aqua), an option for prints to be framed, photobooth option which prints 2 photos on the same sheet||Light or dark mode, adjustable focal zoom dial||Autofocus||Multiple filters (stylish, B/W, sepia, fish eye, vivid), 10 in-camera frames (antlers, color stripe, light bar, wings, speech bubble, photo inside a photo, comic strip, etc.), 30 frame options through the app, ability to put a time stamp on prints|
|Focus Distances||0.55m-1.3m, 0.6m-infinity||Fixed focus||Motor-driven 2-range switching (0.9 m - 3 m / 3m - infinity) Normal Mode (0.9 m - 3 m) Landscape Mode (3m - infinity)||Zone focus||3.94 in / 10 cm to infinity|
|Focal Length||94.96 - 102.35mm||27 mm||95 mm||65.75 mm||28 mm (35mm fiilm equivalent)|
|Aperture||f/11 - f/64||Max f/2.2||f/14||f/12.6||f/2|
|Film or Digital||Film||Digital||Film||Film||Film prints, digital camera|
|Film Development Time||10 to 15 minutes||Automatic digital print||90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature)||90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature)||Around 90 seconds to develop, 12 seconds to print|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The name Polaroid is synonymous with instant cameras, and this model definitely hits that old nostalgia. With its retro-inspired design, the Now+ i-Type stands out from the others, as it offers the look and feel of the classic Polaroid cameras of decades past but with the added feature of a compatible app for a contemporary touch. Creative controls like double exposures, aperture priority, and light painting are accessible through the app, which is very simple to navigate and use. However, despite these creative options, the quality of the images isn't the strongest, mostly due to undersaturation. The film is also quite expensive and takes longer to develop than most other models. But, if you're in the market for an instant camera that has a retro design and produces photos that also have a vintage look to them, this may be a candidate worth your consideration.
As the latest version in the Polaroid Now i-Type line, the Now+ has some fun upgrades and added controls, but unfortunately, the image quality has yet to receive the same level of attention for improvements. Like previous models, the photos often have a soft and fuzzy tone, no matter the lighting conditions. Outdoor shots are consistently washed out, and photos taken indoors come out very dark, even when the flash is on, or there's a good amount of light present. Colors are nearly always muted, as this camera struggles to pick up vibrant hues or depict them accurately, resulting in most shots looking like they have a filter on them. Like most Polaroid models, the Now+ can also shoot black-and-white photos by simply using a B&W film pack. This definitely improves the image quality when shooting indoors, producing sharper clarity and a much wider greyscale range. This added sharpness doesn't translate to shooting outdoors though, as especially in dim light, the pics come out overly dark, blurry, and lacking any detail.
Another detriment to this camera's images was the film's sensitivity to different temperatures. Several shots taken outside in direct sunlight came out with a highlight-intense, pink or blue-toned effect over the entire image, along with being washed out. We're not sure whether the film gets damaged while printing or during the 10-15 minutes it takes to develop, but the color casting that resulted was interesting, to say the least. Overall, the undersaturated colors and dreamy filtered effect displayed on the majority of images add to the vintage aesthetics of the Now+ I-Type.
This camera has the basic point-and-shoot functionality that Polaroids are known for, so the camera itself is easy to use on a basic level, but the creative features and mobile app take a little time to figure out. Navigation of the app is intuitive, and the different settings are color-coded, so once a new user has a grasp on the layout, it's off to the races. However, due to this camera's tendency to overexpose, there is a separate learning curve for knowing when to use the flash, as well as remembering to keep the film cool while developing. Each shot takes several minutes to develop and needs to be kept in a dark place during this time, which can be inconvenient, especially when shooting outside. We would try to shove them in a pocket as quickly as possible, but this could lead to other more physical types of damage to the film.
Despite its nostalgic reference, one of the biggest drawbacks of this camera is its size and shape, which make it rather awkward to shoot with. The camera is lightweight for its size and easy to hold in hand, but the sloped back of the body causes the user's nose to get smooshed when looking through the viewfinder. This isn't hugely uncomfortable, but it was noticeable enough that comments were made by several first-time users when it was passed around. This camera is also fairly bulky when compared to its contemporary counterparts, so it's not as easy to travel with. The most optimal way to carry it is by the neck strap, but the strap that's included is quite thin, so it's not very comfortable to wear for any extended period of time. So, even though the basic functions of this camera are user-friendly, some features take some getting used to, and there are some minor flaws in the design that make it awkward to use.
The area in which the Now+ i-Type received its highest marks came from its creative features. This model comes with five colored lens filters to add even more dreamy effects to the photos, as well as a zipper case for storing the lenses. By connecting to the app via Bluetooth, a myriad of settings can be accessed, including double exposures, aperture priority, tripod mode, light painting, remote shutter, and manual mode. The double exposure feature is especially fun to use, capturing two clearly different shots overlapping in one frame. This camera doesn't have a specific selfie mode, but the timer or remote shutter can be used to take self-portraits. Although it doesn't have a review screen like digital models, the Now+ i-Type does have a micro SD slot for saving a digital copy of photos — you just have to provide your own memory card. This comes in handy when you give a great photo away, as you can print another one to keep for yourself.
Even though it is heavier than its more compact competitors, this camera seems quite durable, and the matte finish adds to its retro look while also making it more resistant to scratches. The Now+ i-Type is available in a few different colors, and, as previously mentioned, it can shoot color or black-and-white photos, depending on which type of film pack is being used. So, contrary to its old-school appearance, this model has many modern capabilities, offering the ease of point-and-shoot and enough features to engage an emerging creative.
The amount of power this camera holds from a single charge is quite impressive, resulting in it receiving a solid rating in our battery test. Taking about two hours to fully charge, the battery in the Now+ made it all the way through our tests on a single charge without slowing down or showing signs of diminished power. Polaroid lists that this model can shoot fifteen film packs (120 shots) or up to 60 days before needing a charge, which we found to be an accurate and even modest assessment.
With its built-in rechargeable battery and USB charging cable, the Now+ i-Type makes it easy to keep this camera capturing memories. When you can charge your camera anywhere that you can charge your phone, it means no more searching for the right type of batteries or spending money on replacing them.
Should You Buy the Polaroid Now+ i-Type?
This Polaroid catches your attention with its retro charm and keeps the fun going with its modern mobile app. Its simple design and gentle learning curve, paired with its options for adjustments and artistic expression, make it a good starter for young creatives or hobbyists. It's too bad that the photos come out muted and either blown out or too dark so often because when you do get some richer hues with the fuzzy, dreamy effect, it can look nice. Unfortunately, for us, it comes down to the printed photos, which not only depict colors inaccurately but the film is more expensive, more temperature sensitive, and takes longer to develop.
What Other Instant Cameras Should You Consider?
If you're a fan of Polaroid with a preference for their nostalgic designs, the Polaroid Go Instant Mini is a new pocket-sized model that also offers creative controls in a more portable package. But if you're less worried about brand loyalty and are looking for a reliable camera with basic point-and-shoot operations and great image quality, the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 is worth your consideration.
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