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Polaroid I-2 is a £600 instant camera for full manual photography – is this the holy grail?

The various revivals of the point, shoot, and print Polaroid-style cameras over the years have mostly been about recapturing that experience of taking a picture and having a physical memento available rapidly.

However, the modern iteration of the company started and popularised by Edwin Land in the 40s, is now putting image quality at the forefront of the experience.

Polaroid has launched a new I-2 camera, which will still print off your snaps in short order, but also gives users much more control over the image itself.

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The I-2 comes with full manual controls and is the first such analogue camera in the storied history of the company. The manual mode will enable users to choose the aperture (from f8 to f64), select the focus with a new LiDAR-based ranging system, and select the shutter speed. It’s also got a light meter for exposure. All of these settings can be viewed on the I-2’s integrated OLED display or through the viewfinder itself.

As well as the manual mode there are plenty more tools beyond the no fuss automatic setting. They’re a self-timer, plenty of exposure pre-sets, as well as shutter and aperture priority settings.

In fact it’s not all that far away from what we tend to see on standard digital cameras, all with what the company is calling the “sharpest ever Polaroid lens.” It’s a three-element lens with continuous autofocus. There’s also what Polaroid is ways is a “human friendly” flash system.

Polaroid (now owned and operated by The Impossible Project, which makes film for legacy Land cameras) says the camera is “designed for craft” with pics taking up to 15 minutes to develop. You’ll want to take your time with taking them too, given the price of the instant film works out at a couple of quid an exposure.

The camera isn’t cheap either. It’s available from Polaroid today for £599.

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