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Impossible Project I-1 Review

Posted by Lauren Franklin on


There has definitely been a resurgence of analog equipment in recent years. As a fan of film photography, I’ve had a love hate relationship with digital photography for a long time. However, Impossible’s I-1 is a beautiful blend of both analog techniques and digital functionality. This is a solid camera that produces analog results but is modernized for a more digitally focused lifestyle.

 

First Impressions
Relative to the older boxy-er Polaroid models, like the One-Step and Red Stripe, the I-1 has a more ergonomic design similar to that of the original SX-70. This is all due in part to Jesper Kouthoofd, founder of Teenage Engineering, who designed the camera body. Kouthoofd’s design makes it comfortable to hold and relatively easy to operate. As a standalone camera, there are minimal controls on the camera itself. A simple flash, knob exposure adjust and shutter button. There is also a pop-up view finder for setting up your focus points.

The most attractive addition to this particular instant camera is definitely the ring flash. Not only is it great for portraits and close-up detailing, but it’s also a battery level and shot indicator.

 
Connectivity
One of the highlight features of the camera is the iOS app Impossible developed specifically for the I-1. Once connected to a smart device via bluetooth, you’re offered up a wide range of additional functions. Not to worry though Android users, an android app is currently in development.

The bluetooth connection is really easy to set up. Simply by turning the knob on the side of the camera until the indicator flashes blue and then clicking connect on the app. It’s much easier than having to go through your iOS settings.

App Functions
Remote Trigger - This mode is great for setting up group photos or framing distant shots. As oppose to using a self timer, you’re able to trigger the shutter wirelessly from your phone. This also makes it great to get those edgy candid shots when no one else is paying attention.

Manual Mode - Gives you the ability to control almost all the functions of your I-1. Allowing you to manually adjust your aperture settings, flash and focus distance as well as the shutter speed. For those unfamiliar with manual camera settings, they’ve provided a helpful guide right in the app.

Self Timer - Aka selfie magic. A more traditional 5, 10 and 20 second timer to release the camera’s shutter. 
Double Exposure - Compose two images into one shot by triggering two separate exposures. Take the first shot, then compose and take your second separately. The two exposures will overlay and viola.

 
Noise Trigger - This function let’s you sync your devices microphone to the camera’s shutter release. This is a pretty cool function for generating very randomized shots. Try triggering the sound of a loud boom or playing music with a heavy bassline and see what results you can create.

Color Paint - Essentially, with this mode, you are able use your phone as a paint brush choosing between a wide palette of different colors. You can combine multiple colors on the same exposure for a mixture of results.
Scanner - Upload all your shots to the application for a digital copy to share on all your socials.
 
One downside for me would be my overall workflow getting started. Granted it will become much more fluid with more use. Despite the appeal of taking meticulous time to prep shots, operating both the camera and navigating the app at the same time can be a bit disorienting.
 
I found that trying to set up hand held shots, going back and forth between the app and hardware, I often lost my focal point or needed to adjust positioning due to changes in light levels. However in those instances, I would opt to not use the bluetooth function and operate it standalone. Letting the images generate themselves, and worrying less about the ‘ideal’ shooting conditions. That’s half the fun right?

SImilarly, while the film can be a bit pricey for those on a budget, the I-1 camera can take both regular Polaroid 600 type film as well as their own I-1 type film. Since the I-1 has it’s own built in battery, there’s no need for the battery pack included in the older 600 type film. Cutting some of the costs down and also providing a more energy efficient system.

Overall I’m excited to continue experimenting with the I-1 and to see the community of instant analog film continue to grow in this digital age.