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The Impossible Project Has Reinvented the Polaroid Camera

In 2008, the Impossible Project salvaged a Polaroid factory in Germany. Since then, they’ve been working to spruce up and sell old models of Polaroid cameras, including the Sun 600, the Spectra, and the limited edition Barbie model of the 600. But, to now, they’ve only been in the business of reviving old, existing models of cameras. That ends with the I-1, the Impossible Project’s first original camera, but don’t think for a second they’ve abandoned instant photography.

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The I-1 has a look all its own, headlined by that huge, funky eight-LED ring flash that should help make the I-1 work in low-light conditions. The Impossible Project has already added a light diffuser to the ring flash, so hopefully subjects won’t be blown out by overwhelming light from the flash. The camera itself still enough of the cresting wave look to qualify as a homage to the old Polaroid cameras, but we think the Impossible Project has succeeded in making instant photography their own.

I-1 cutaway F

Up top is a magnetic viewfinder, which is detachable and collapsible. The Impossible Project suggests that this top area will be a cold shoe of sorts to allow for other peripherals, but they haven’t specified what those might be yet. The printing unit is on the bottom, which works with a range of instant film paper available from the Impossible Project.

While it’s an analog camera at heart, the I-1 does have room for settings adjustment by using a companion app. The app, which is only for iOS, allows for control over aperture and shutter speed, while enabling double exposure, remote triggering, and light painting.

In the United States, you can find the I-1 at the MoMA Design Store or online (not Urban Outfitters!) for $300. It’s also available directly from the Impossible Project. The first production run is already sold out, but you can keep them on F5 watch until they get a new batch in.