New Gear: Polaroid Now+ Instant Camera


Polaroid has just announced a new instant camera connected by Bluetooth and compatible with an app: the Now+. It takes 3.1-inch square instant photos and costs $149 at launch. Polaroid calls it its “most creative camera yet” – and that’s a nice summation on the money.

The Polaroid Now+ technical sheet

The Polaroid Now+ is technically an upgrade to last year’s $99 Polaroid Now, but it’s really just a modern take on a retro Polaroid instant camera. Even the style should be familiar to anyone who visited Santa’s Grotto in the 80s or 90s.

The lens has the same field of view as a 35mm lens on a full frame camera. It has a wide aperture of f/11 and stops down to f/32. Basically, what you see in front of you will be pretty close to what appears on film.

Polaroid Now+ Camera Controls

Filters create interesting effects. Polaroid

In terms of controls on the camera, there’s not much to say: it has a power button, a flash button, a + button that controls camera mode and Bluetooth connection, and a trigger. Point the camera, look through the viewfinder, press the button, take a shot. Most of the extra features are handled using the Polaroid Originals app (available for iOS and Android smartphones) which we’ll talk about in a moment.

At approximately 3.7″ by 4.2″ by 5.6″ and weighing just under a pound, the Now+ is big, if not heavy. It won’t weigh down your bag but it certainly won’t fit in your poached.

Polaroid Now+ camera in blue
The blue colorway is a sleeper. Polaroid

Much of that size is dictated by the i-Type instant film it shoots (although the Now+ also supports the more expensive 600 film). A pack of eight black-and-white or color i-Type exposures is $16 on Polaroid’s website, and limited-edition films are regularly available for a bit more.

The Now+ comes with five filters: Starburst, Red Vignette, Orange, Blue, and Yellow. Color filters add a cast to your color photos or change the contrast with your black and white photos. The Starburst filter softens the overall look and makes your highlights pop with a starburst effect.

A small but noteworthy addition is a standard tripod socket. They’re not common on these types of cameras, but it gives you a lot more creative shooting options, even for things like group selfies.

App-based supplements

Polaroid Now+ camera
This colorway should look familiar to you. Polaroid

So far instant camera. The real options with the Now+ come when you connect it to your smartphone. The Polaroid Originals app lets you take manual control of your camera and gives you access to different creative modes.

Some of the options are:

  • An aperture priority mode, to better control the depth of field.
  • A portrait mode that sets things up so you can have a (very slightly) blurred background for your portraits.
  • A double exposure mode that allows you to combine two shots on a single exposure.
  • A light painting mode that works like a light bulb mode on a regular camera.
  • A tripod mode that allows longer exposure times.
  • A remote trigger and a self-timer.

It’s what takes the Now+ from something new to something that can be used in incredibly creative ways. Unlike most instant cameras, you’re not limited to daytime snapshots. If you have your smartphone (and maybe a tripod) handy, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Your other options

The Polaroid Now+ seems like a pretty good camera, but there are other options.

If you don’t want the creative features, the Now stays in the lineup for $99. Fujifilm’s Instax Square SQ1 ($120) is also featured a little less, but it shoots Instax Square film slightly smaller and significantly cheaper; it’s about $20 for 20 exposures in color or black and white. Otherwise, if you’re happy to wait, you could get a non-instant film camera. You will have many more creative orders and the photos will be cheaper, but developing them is much more complicated.


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