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After 41 years, Polaroid’s beloved OneStep goes (slightly) digital

This new instant camera retains the classic looks, but talks to an app that provides some new tricks.

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Among the most familiar Polaroid cameras of them all is 1977’s rainbow-striped OneStep—the one memorably advertised on TV with a bantering James Garner and Mariette Hartley. Last fall, a company called Polaroid Originals (affiliated with Polaroid, and formerly known as the Impossible Project) introduced the OneStep 2–a modern take on the classic, and the first Polaroid-branded instant camera in a decade.

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[Photo: courtesy of Polaroid Originals]
The OneStep 2 did what Polaroid is famous for, in lovably analog fashion: You pushed a button, and a photo emerged and developed before your eyes. But now Polaroid Originals is back with the OneStep+, a new model that brings instant photography ever so slightly into the digital age. The $160 camera still uses film packs, but also talks (via Bluetooth) to a smartphone app that provides it with some advanced capabilities, including manual settings, “light painting” effects, double exposures, and remote-control and noise-activated shooting. It also has a mode for close-up portraits, which the original OneStep could really have used back in the 1970s.

The functionality is similar to what the Impossible Project offered in a 2016 camera called the I-1, whose aesthetics resembled those of an old dial telephone more than anything Polaroid ever made. It’s nice to see it in something that is, unmistakably, a Polaroid camera.

And speaking of design, the OneStep+ restores an element that the OneStep 2, tragically, had eliminated: the rainbow stripe running down the middle of the camera, right below the lens. Long may it—and Polaroid—wave.

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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