instantphoto.eu              Polaroid Go

This is the POLAROID Go, a simple camera for special Go film, an I-type film without battery, but only 1/3 of the size of regular I-type film. The first modern camera for I-type film was the Impossible I-1 camera with a somewhat awkward design, but with advanced features, accessible via Bluetooth from a smartphone. When the Impossible project was sold to the new Polaroid company, rebaptisized Polaroid Originals, the I-1 was replaced by a OneStep 2 model. Its design was inspired by the old OneStep series, which were simple non-folding cameras for SX-70 film without flash. Obviously they kept the base from the I-1 and its built-in rechargeable battery for the use of I-type film. They put a flash into the old-style housing, but kept the design very close to the old Polaroid cameras. The OneStep 2 lost the advanced features.

The Go camera is very simple, fixed focus, no exposure control, not even darken/lighten, just point and shoot.

Specifications (Gen2 in brackets):

Lens: Fixed focus lens,
optical grade polycarbonate, coated (there is little information about it)
Standard lens focal length: 51 mm, ~0,5m-inf
Aperture:  f/12 and 64 (9 and 42)
Shutter Speed: 1/250-1s (1/300-1s)
Field of view: 48 vertical, 49 horizontal

Battery: lithium-ion battery (750mAh), rechargeable via USB
Outer shells: Polycarbonate + ABS plastics
External viewfinder barrel, no parallax indication
Flash System: Vacuum discharge tube strobe
Strap and USB charging cable included
No tripod mount, flash off possible, self timer, double exposure

Go film format: 66,6 x 53,9 mm, picture area 47 x 46 mm
"Classic" film format: 88 x 107 mm picture area: 79 x 79 mm which is 3 times bigger

Dimensions: 105mm (L) 84mm (W) 61mm (H)
Weight: 242 grams (without film pack)

Some pictures:

The basics, camera, charging cable and film cartridge.

Front. Flash, lens and viewer. Ejection slot. The
flash is extremely weak, range only up to up to 2m. Under the flash: control lamp for self timer.

The viewer is semi-mirrored to serve as selfie-mirror.

Right side. USB charging socket and battery control lamp. Green: charged, orange: less than half charge, red: empty.

Back view. Viewer, on/off switch, LCD, indicating that no photo is left. The point (or period) to the side of the number indicates that the flash is active. It activates anew with each photo. Strap lug on the base.

Left side.

Seen from above. The LCD shows 8 exposures left and no flash. Red shutter button and mode button, short mode press: flash off, has to be repeated after each photo. 2s press: timer on, a lamp under the flash lights. 2 consecutive presses: double exposure. The LCD will show a 1 blinking for the first exposure. After a first exposre it will show a 2 blinking for the second.

No tripod socket.

Back open.

When the back door is open, the LCD shows d-o-o-r...

Dark slide not ejected. The camera does not eject the dark slide automatically.

Size comparison to a full grown Polroid I-2.

The camera is easy to use, point and shoot, it's automatic. Within the small flash range and in broad daylight the pictures are just OK. In subdued light as in bad or cloudy weather and near dawn or dusk pictures are largely underexposed. So are pictures with heavy contrast. As there is no darken/lighten switch, you can't compensate. Suppressing the flash in well lit circumstances is strongly recommended.

Polaroid tried to improve the camera with a Gen 2 model. They changed the 2 apertures and adapted fastest speed a bit. Slowest speed is still 1s, so no real night photos. And still no darken/lighten compensation. Maybe they re-programmed the exposure system, it seems to underexpose less.

The pictures are really small, not even 5cm or 2 inches. So this is more a gadget than a real Instant camera. At 1.25 per picture and only 8 pictures per cartridge, this is a quite expensive gadget.

So here are some pictures taken
with this camera, scanned with no post-treatment:

The photos are scanned with 400 DPI which is much more than life size.
If you hold them in your hand and look at them, they seem sharper. So one about life size first:

This is what you see in your hand. It's the fiftth photo.

1. Interior photo without flash on a sunny day. Unacceptable.

2. Same photo with flash. Underexposed. Even at about 2m the flash doesn't cover the picture and it's too weak.

3. My Cologne House. Sunny winter day, heavy contrasts. Again severely underexposed.

4. Bright day, in the shade. 60cm with flash. Totally underexposed.

5. Cologne, St. Pantaleon church. Bright winter day. Heavily underexposed.

Cologne, New Tax Offices (1950s), bright winter day. Underexpoed

Cologne, a City Park, bright winter day, underexposed.

St. Pantaleon again, bright winter day, underexposed.

Cologne, Rothgerberbach (main threspassing road), Very bright winter day with deep shaddows. Underexposed.

So more or less all photos are underexposed, some severely. As there is no exposure compensation and no darken/lighten switch, I tried one more cartridge and pointed the camera towards the darker part of the image, half-pressed the shutter and framed anew. Half-pressing the shutter makes a little click noise, easily audible if the scene isn't too noisy.

10. Same as no. 5, but by error the flash was on, which happens easily as the flash is set anew after each and every photo, no way to switch it off for good. The camera obviously sets F8 and the photo is blurry.

11. Same photo again, without flash. Much better. A nice result.

12. Same as no. 6. A bit better, but not really.

13. Same as no. 8. Much better, the result is quite OK.

14. Same as no.7. Pointing towards the darker areas did not help.

15. Same as no. 9. The trick helped a lot.

16. Same as no.3. Worked fine as well.

If you just point and shoot, all photos are underexposed, some severely. As there is no exposure compensation and no darken/lighten switch, you have to trick the camera into a better mode. If you point the camera towards the darker part of the image, half-press the shutter and frame anew, it works better. Half-pressing the shutter makes a little click noise, easily audible if the scene isn't too noisy. And always remember: switch off the flash in daylight! Otherwise the photos will be blurry. Not being able to switch off the flash for good is a nuisance.

All in all this is a bad product. Polaroid is able to build much better cameras. Even an entry level camera should not be that bad. As the film is very expensive, there should not be so many bad photos. If this werre my first Polaroid, I would never buy a Polaroid again. I will sell mine within the next days.