The finest instant camera overall, as well as the best Polaroid camera, is the Polaroid Now+. Users now have more options than ever for making retro-styled Polaroid prints because to the wonderful photos it produces that are full of depth and character. The film’s high price deters play and experimentation in a format that otherwise seems designed for it, and that is the one major drawback.
Polaroid Now+: Key Features
All of the fundamental features of the standard Polaroid Now are present in the Polaroid Now+. For better exposures, that entails a two-lens focusing system, double exposures, a self-timer, and an upgraded flash.
Also, it adds the Bluetooth connectivity of the Polaroid OneStep+ to the mix. When combined with the newly updated Polaroid software for your smartphone, this opens up a world of creative possibilities.
Aperture priority mode and tripod mode are available for the first time on the Now product line, in addition to light painting, double exposures, self-timer, portrait mode, and manual control.
One of a host of new physical features that doesn’t rely on the smartphone software is the addition of a standard tripod mount (missing on the base Polaroid Now), which enables the latter. This comes with a lens cover and five lens filters: starburst, red vignette, blue, yellow, and orange for in-camera effects.
The Now+’s feature set makes it more similar to the OneStep+ than the standard Now in many aspects. The OneStep+ lacks a number of app features that the Now+ has (the only one it doesn’t is the noise trigger mode, which isn’t something we really miss), but the Now+ has better image quality due to upgraded autofocus and flash systems.
Polaroid Now+: Build & Handling
The Now+ is just a hair bigger and a hair heavier than the ordinary Now, measuring 150.16 x 112.2 x 95.48mm as opposed to 150.2 x 112.2 x 94mm, and weighs 457g as opposed to 434g. Nonetheless, the two cameras almost feel identical in the hand, so there is no need to worry if you have a bag that precisely suits the original.
It is a very sturdy and well-made camera made of polycarbonate and ABS plastics, and it unmistakably has the weight and bulk of vintage instant cameras. The tiny Polaroid Go (opens in new tab) is a better option if you’re looking for something that can fit in a handbag or jacket pocket.
You are not getting a true representation of what the lens sees since the finder is skewed to the left, as is the case with all analog instant cameras. You will need to shoot a few frames to get acclimated to precisely framing your photos (the finder tends to give a wider view than the lens, so you can safely get a tad closer to your subjects than it appears).
The controls are straightforward and intuitive, with a large red shutter release, a “+” button, and an LED indicator to choose from a variety of creative settings (self-timer, double exposure, or a custom function) without having to connect to the app. The camera’s power button, flash override button, and an LED indicator that displays how many shots are left in your film pack are all located on the back (both i-Type and 600 are accepted).
And while both the Now and the Go have seen packs of film as well as single frames jamming, we haven’t yet encountered a single issue with the Now+.
The sharpness and contrast of the images on the Polaroid Now+ are the best we’ve yet seen on a Polaroid camera, though opinions on the character of instant photography are somewhat subjective.
Polaroid film has an inherent bias towards magentas when rendering white tones using flash, producing a more distinctly “vintage” look. In contrast, Instax film produces truer whites that occasionally make Caucasian skin tones appear a little ghostly. It also tends to crush the blacks, producing a more contrasty look but with a loss of detail in the shadows.
The choice of which you prefer depends on your particular preferences. Neither appearance is inherently superior than the other.
The Now+, like all instant cameras, can produce inconsistent results when used outdoors where ambient light overwhelms the flash. Images don’t have the same bite or saturation as when the flash is the key light, but this again produces a distinctively analog image character that may be to your liking. The upgraded flash system produces much more uniformly exposed indoor photos that are very attractive to the eye.
Polaroid Now+: Verdict
The Polaroid Now+ is now the best product available if you want full-size instant photos with excellent image quality and that elusive “vintage look.”
While the OneStep+ and Polaroid Now both offer some of the same basic shooting capabilities and image quality as well as some of the same creative freedom and Bluetooth connectivity, the Now+ combines the best elements of both products.
Calculating the cost per exposure reveals that instant photography is still pricey, but if you accept that as the price of entrance, using this camera will be more enjoyable and yield results that are unique to it.
The Polaroid Now+ is the best camera you can get if you enjoy creative, analog, retro photography and making real prints that you can hang up or keep in a scrapbook. It has a ton of entertaining features, is user-friendly for everyone, and provides ample depth of control for experts. You just need to be willing to continue shelling out the premium for Polaroid prints and develop the ability to maintain your composure when one of your pricey photographs is ruined by a marginally defective metering system.