After successfully bringing Polaroid 600 instant film back from the dead, the people behind the Impossible Project realized that hunting down a working Polaroid camera for the film wasn’t always easy, so they’ve designed their own. Except this isn’t your parent’s Polaroid.
The I-1, which will be available starting on May 10 for $300, still works like a classic Polaroid camera. You insert a film cartridge, take a photo, and out pops a blank photo that slowly develops all by itself.
The I-1 also bares a passing resemblance to the original Polaroid cameras, but that’s where the similarities end. Surrounding the lens you’ll now find a circular flash ringed with LEDs that can automatically adjust its intensity based on the distance to your subject and the available ambient light. There’s also a rechargeable battery inside it, although to some photographers not being able to easily swap in a fresh set of disposables isn’t exactly an upgrade.
The Impossible Project I-1's best new feature, however, is a companion smartphone app that allows the camera to be wirelessly controlled over a Bluetooth connection. It gives photographers manual control over shutter speed and aperture, it can override the intelligent flash’s automatic adjustments, and it can even be used as a remote shutter trigger.
The app will also make it easier to get more creative with instant photos, helping photographers to set up double exposures or artsy long exposure light streak shots. It still seems focused on the photography experience, keeping it as simple as possible, but with a few modern tricks and amenities thrown in. That way, when you’re spending $24 on just eight instant photos, every shot turns out a keeper.