Polaroid Now+ Gen 2 Instant Camera review: fun but pricey

Source: Pocket-Lint added 19th Jun 2024

  • polaroid-now+-gen-2-instant-camera-review:-fun-but-pricey

Key Takeaways

  • The Polaroid Now+ Gen 2 instant camera connects past nostalgia with modern technology.
  • The camera appeals to casual and serious photographers with its easy use and advanced settings options.
  • A decent initial investment precedes purchasing pricey film in order to continue using.

For all the incredible digital photography you can create with your smartphone, an app or two, and maybe some useful lights, there’s still value in something you can hold and see that isn’t on a screen. Even if it’s not the best quality. Polaroid’s 2nd generation Now+ instant camera looks to connect the past with the present, making it easy to obtain a nostalgic-looking, physical photo, with the help of some digital technology.


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It simultaneously tries to appeal to both the casual fan and the more intent photog: You can pop in film and snap away, or you can enjoy some of the more advanced feature if you want to create something unique. Whichever style suits you, the camera isn’t cheap. I played around with the Now+ Gen 2 to see if it’s a worthwhile addition to your creative lineup of cameras and gadgets.

Polaroid Now+ Gen 2 Instant Camera

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  • App integration
  • Retro aesthetic
  • Includes filter set


  • Film not included
  • Film is pricey
  • Learning curve

Price, specs, and availability

The Now+ Gen 2 Instant Camera is available directly from Polaroid as well as from Amazon and Walmart. It retails for $150, and the purchase includes a set of five lens filters with its own carrying pouch, as well as an instruction booklet, safety guide, and USB-C cable. It boasts an auto-focus, two-lens system that allows for clearer, sharper pictures. The flash can be toggled on and off; when it’s on, it’s designed to avoid washing out the subject.

The Gen 2 is available in black, forest green, and white. It is compatible with Polaroid i-Type & 600 film, and bundles are available that include the camera along with film. Polaroid boasts that the classic look is made up with 40% recycled materials.

Polaroid Now+ Gen 2 Instant Camera


Film Type
i-Type, 600

Rechargeable lithium ion

451.5 g


150.2 mm x 112.2 mm 4×5.5 mm


What I liked about the Now+ Gen 2

Classic look and modern use

I was definitely feeling nostalgic upon opening the box. Even though the forest green color doesn’t quite have a retro feel, paired with the retro look, I certainly felt like I was holding something from years past. The camera is lightweight and generally feels durable with a smooth exterior. The casual nature of the first impression belies the technology (and high price) within. It’s meant to have this carefree quality to it, but given the cost of the camera (and the cost of film), it does give the impression that you need to approach with caution.

I was definitely feeling nostalgic upon opening the box.

That’s in part because it comes with five additional lenses that you can affix to the camera: orange, blue, yellow, red vignette, and starbust. There is also a companion app that allows for more advanced use, including setting up a double exposure shot or manually adjusting the aperture. While these settings can be tinkered with in order to obtain exactly the shot you’re looking for, it’s also designed to allow you to point-and-shoot. Provided you’ve enough film.

I was more inclined to wing it initially, curiously to test out exactly how much work I should put in against the quality of image I would get back. There is a slight adjustment (the first picture I took was slightly off center, which makes sense because the viewfinder is on the left side of the unit). I didn’t want to worry too much about light off the jump either: I shot a cute photo of my dog inside with just a bit of sun shinning in and found everything clear, albeit not the brightest. A later trip to the beach on a sunny day found some success as well, although there may have been too much light in some shots.

So, I did generally like the ability to not have to play around with settings in order to set up a shoot; I like the idea of the instant camera not just producing a photo instantly, but also allowing me to take candids when I was ready to, without having to pull out my phone and play on an app. If you’re not using the app, you’ll find a sizable red button to snap a picture located on the front of the device. The color more or less fits in with the forest green, but I know deep down it’s there as a warning: don’t press this button unless you’re ready to use some film. That’s why it’s located on the front and not next to the power button on the back. Thank you, Polaroid.

The color more or less fits in with the forest green, but I know deep down it’s there as a warning: don’t press this button unless you’re ready to use some film.

There are a couple other handy features. You can affix the camera to a tripod as it allows for placement of a screw on the bottom. The camera includes a strap to connect, so you can hold with your wrist, which is nice even if I don’t entirely trust it will hold. There is a USB input on the front for easy charging, and the Gen 2 does include a cable with purchase. A colorful, simple instruction book is also included to help you with loading your first film pack. I love that the last step tells you, “do not shake the photo,” because a 2003 pop song told all us nostalgic members otherwise.


Best instant cameras (and why shaking your Polaroid picture is a myth)

The best instant cameras bring high quality photos to portable, user-friendly designs, and create retro nostalgia.

What I didn’t like about the Polaroid Now+ Gen 2

Film is valuable

The initial investment isn’t exactly cheap, and that investment will continue as long as you want to use the camera because it does not include film. And the film isn’t cheap either. There was definitely a moment where I felt a sort of relief in having a finite supply of film instead of being able to just endlessly snap from my smartphone, but economic realities would bring my mind back to the harsh truth: each picture costs at least a couple bucks (more if you’re not buying in bulk). Film comes in packs of eight, and it’s easy enough to install, but I don’t love the feeling that my instant camera is like a printer, where I need to keep paying into it to use it.

I appreciate that there is a bit of a learning curve if you want to achieve creative images, but being careful not to waste film can be a burden. A couple of shots I took were prematurely exposed; Polaroid offers lengthy lists of troubleshooting questions that are worth taking a look at before using just in case something is off, and you end up wasting shots. So I do recommend taking some time to seeing all that it can do instead of just experimenting. It’s hard to shake the feeling that each photo you take is valuable (I guess that’s how it used to be, but costs are different today). That each film pack only holds eight photos can be limiting; make sure to bring extras if you’ve planning on a photoshoot.

This gets into nit-picking area, but the storage pouch for the lens filters seems just a bit too small; they all fit inside, but the zippered opening isn’t quite as wide as it should be to allow easy retrieval. It felt like a game of Operation each time, moving carefully to not smudge the lens with my fingers inadvertently.

Should you buy the Polaroid Now+ Gen 2?

I sure did enjoy returning to an instant camera. From the sound of taking a picture to hiding it away and waiting for the results checked off all the nostalgic boxes for me. I see the fun in playing around and taking candids as well as taking time to setup the perfect shot via the app, with a tripod and appropriate lens.

Still, the initial cost as well as future costs of film are worth keeping in mind. You can’t just keep shooting until you’re satisfied with results like you can with a digital cam. Although I suppose it depends on how the photos you take turn out: they could very well be priceless.

Polaroid Now+ Gen 2 Instant Camera

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