Impossible Project I-1 Review - Image quality, performance and verdict Review

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Impossible Project I-1 – Performance and AF

To take a photo, half-press the shutter release to make the camera focus. You won’t get any confirmation of focus, but if you’re somewhere quiet then you’ll probably hear the focusing mechanism in action. Once it stops making a noise, fully press in the shutter button and the image will be released.

Focusing is promised to be as close as 0.3cm, but in practice, it’s a little hit and miss. Sometimes images will appear sharp, while at other times they have a blurry quality.

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It could be argued that this kind of performance is part of the charm of an instant analogue camera such as this – and, of course, if you’re looking for consistent high quality and sharpness, this isn’t the camera for you.

Impossible Project I-1 – Image Quality

It should go without saying that nobody buying this camera should expect perfect image quality – but this really isn’t the point of a Polaroid camera.

The best way to describe the results from this camera is “hit and miss”. Sometimes you’ll get a shot that’s very charming and great; at other times, you’ll end up with something that’s over- or under-exposed and you’ll wonder what it’s even supposed to be.

It takes time and practice to learn the idiosyncrasies of a camera such as this, and while that may not be a problem in terms of time, in terms of cash, you’re going to have to spend a lot – film for this camera isn’t cheap.

A film pack costs roughly £16, and with only 8 shots per pack, every wasted shot will cost you £2. If you have the money and time to invest in getting to know this camera, you can have a lot of fun, but expect some frustration along the way.

The camera struggles with any lighting conditions that aren’t brilliant sunshine. While the flash is there to help, trying to get the correct exposure involves a fair bit of guesswork.

You may also see defects in individual shots thanks to the style of the film. Again, many will argue that this is part of the charm of instant, but its unpredictability could be problematic for some.

Here are some scanned samples:

scans 1

scans 5

scans 13

scans 15

Should you buy the Impossible Project I-1?

Maybe. If you’re an analogue or instant-film enthusiast, this is a great camera to receive as a gift.

However, it’s expensive – both in terms of initial outlay and the cost of upkeep. This isn’t something we see changing in the foreseeable future, as a result of the complicated method of Polaroid film production.

So long as you don’t expect perfect results every time, and you have a particular penchant for the instant look, then you should be pleased with the I-1.

Verdict

An expensive but straightforward immersion in the instant-film world, the I-1 combines the charm of old-school film production with the modernity of Bluetooth and smartphone control. Results are at best mixed, but you can get better the more you use it.

Score


Score in detail

  • Value 5
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Image Quality 5
  • Build Quality 7
  • Performance 7