The One Step 2

Initial thoughts on Polaroid's new (yet familiar) kid on the block

When Impossible Project became Polaroid Originals last month and announced the release of the One Step 2, I knew I had to get one.

I’ve been shooting Impossible Project’s (IP) 600 film for just over a year now, and while the results are mixed it is still a lot of fun to use. I’ve always been interested in shooting the i-type film, but at the same time I had no desire to purchase the I-1 camera. While it looked pretty innovative, the idea of a camera relying on an app didn’t reassure me. Should an iOS update come along, some of the functions could be rendered redundant.

Call me old fashioned, but when it comes to instant film, the camera should do everything it needs to. Whether that is something a little more mechanically complicated, like an SLR (such as the SX-70) or something much simpler… and that is where the One Step 2 comes in.

The comeback kid…

At just under £110 and based on an original Polaroid design dating back to the 1977, the One Step 2 is as barebones as a camera can get. Needless to say, at that price it is a plastic camera, but as plastic camera’s go it does’t feel cheap or shoddy.

As far as the controls go, there is an exposure setting underneath the view finder, with 3 settings – lighten, normal and darken.

To the left of the lens, theres a timer for those that want to mount the camera on a tripod and take selfies I guess.

And underneath that, there is an infrared LED. I’m guessing that is for those strobists out there that might like to take photos using slave mode on their speedlites. I am of course speculating here, so this is perhaps one for another post later, if at all!

And beneath there, there is a big red button – that’ll be your shutter.

On the other side of the camera, there is the on/off switch – big and yellow, you can’t miss it. And below that, there is a mini usb socket for charging and a flash override button. You hold this down when you want to take a pic without setting the flash off.

Loading the film packs is simple enough. You pull the film door latch to the right and it opens. You then insert the film and close it again. The final feature is a nice little set of tiny LED lights, 8 in total – these light up and indicate how many shots you have left in your film.

As I said, the One Step 2 is as barebones as a camera can get.

i-type or i-tripe?

I’ve spent just over a week with the One Step 2 now and I have to say I am quiet enamoured with it. So far I’ve shot one pack of colour and half a pack of black and white, both sets being the newer i-type film.

Prior to owning the One Step 2, I shot some of Impossible Projects 600 film on my Polaroid AF and the results with that have been mixed. So as a result, that is my only basis for comparison right now.

That said, the i-type film is a vast improvement on the IP’s 600 film. The black and white film is particularly impressive – the last roll of IP’s black and white film I shot was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. While the black and white images do eventually develop a hint of a sepia tone, the film is mostly consistent when compared with IP’s 600 film packs.

i-type film gets a big thumbs up from me

As far as the regular colour film goes, some tones are still a bit off here and there, but there is definitely an improvement. I’ve yet to see any light leaks too – pretty much every IP film I’ve shot has suffered from light leaks (to be fair, this could’ve been a fault with the old 600 AF camera I’ve been using). But yeah, I have to say the i-type film gets a big thumbs up from me.

Price is still a factor – at £14.99 for 8 shots – something that really makes you think before hitting that shutter button. Having said that, it’s cheaper than the 600 series film, mainly because the i-type film doesn’t require a battery – it’s all powered in camera, hence the micro USB socket… And so far, my first charge is still going.

For the most part, the images are quite sharp too. The One Step 2 holds it own when compared to my old 600 AF.

In terms of development time, well, apparently it is 15 minutes.  My experience with IP’s 600 series film means that I am in the habit of instantly hiding the photograph in the dark and waiting 20-30 minutes before checking it!  Old habits die hard I guess.

Final thoughts

Polaroid Originals have hit the ground running with the One Step 2.

I really do hope it’s a success for them, as I’d love to see them grow in the future and have a crack at making a modern SX-70 that shoots i-type or something similar.

I won’t lie, it’s pretty hard to write an extensive review of a camera when you’ve only shot 12 images.

There is no doubt the cost of film will be a factor for some, but fortunately the i-type film is remarkably reliable when compared to recent packs of IP’s 600 and no doubt the die-hard Polaroid fans out there (like myself) will be pleased with this.

I’m looking forward to taking it to social occasions, not to mention out on the field for various assignments. I’ll be sure to post some images on this site when I do!

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