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Polaroid Now review

Polaroid Now is the best one-hand-friendly alternative to the Polaroid 600

White, retro polaroid camera on pink tabletop. Credit: Reviewed / Chloe Toscano

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Finding accessible products that help you get through the day with your disability is crucial. When I lost my arm I was looking for goods that helped me accomplish routines I’d deemed “essential.” In my mind that meant tasking (brushing my teeth, cleaning, cooking, getting dressed, etc.). Something I’d overlooked was how to adapt fun and passion. Polaroids were always one of my hobbies, so I felt refreshed when I stumbled upon the Polaroid Now—finally a modern day Polaroid that doesn't look like Hello Kitty or generate super-tiny photos.

About the Polaroid Now

The Polaroid 600 was a game-changer in the world of instant photography. It was the first camera that allowed the user to capture an instant photo with the click of a button. It was a long way from pinhole cameras but to this day remains—_clunky_, for lack of a better word. It’s a weighty camera with a boxy shape. A near perfect cube, the Polaroid 600 is the furthest thing from ergonomic to grip, especially if you don’t have two hands.

I bought my vintage Barbie Polaroid 600 prior to losing my arm and still cherish it despite its unwieldy disposition. The strap attached to it has saved it from many near drops. But, weighing in at just less than a pound (compared to the 600’s 1.75 pounds) and being just a bit smaller, the Polaroid Now has become my go-to camera for its accessibility.

What I like

Front of white and teal polaroid camera.
Credit: Reviewed / Chloe Toscano

Operating the Polaroid Now camera is simple. All you have to do is point, aim, and shoot with its struggle-free shutter button.

Struggle-free shutter

The Polaroid Now is equipped with a button for a shutter. The 600 relies on a sort of “lever” which can be difficult to press if you don’t have another hand to steady the camera. With the Now, I just support the bottom of the camera with my pinky, ring, and middle fingers and rest my thumb on the back of the camera, leaving my index finger free to press the shutter button.

Updated power button

The 600 has the user unfolding the entire top of the camera, essentially the flash, to turn it on and operate it. The newer old models might have a little less fight than my old Barbie camera, but this is still a difficult task if you struggle with your hands. However, with the Polaroid Now, you don’t have to do any dexterity origami because it features a modern-day power button.

Easy light and focus adjustment

Back of polaroid camera.
Credit: Reviewed / Chloe Toscano

With more modern features than past models, the Polaroid Now makes it easier for those in front of and behind the camera.

The Polaroid Now is made for easy use. In fact, you don’t even need to worry about manning distance and light adjustment switches. It has an auto-focusing lens so you don’t need to use the finicky little slider that’s located at the front of the older models, not to mention the light adjustment tab, which in my opinion is a nightmare to manage with one hand. The only adjustable light feature on the Now is a little flash button, located beside the power button on the back of the device.

The flash triggers by default on this model, but you can choose to disable it if you wish. The resulting flash is, according to Polaroid, “more human-friendly.” This means it won’t be as unpleasant as the extremely bright flashes that cause everyone to blink. This is also incidentally better for people who experience photosensitivity issues.

What I don’t like

Teal and white polaroid film camera on pink tabletop surface.
Credit: Reviewed / Chloe Toscano

Although not impossible, I did find it a bit difficult to access the camera's film door without the help of another person.

Tricky film door

The only downside regarding single-hand use that I’ve uncovered while using the Polaroid Now is its finicky film door. In the older model, you’d pull back a little tab and the film door would pop right open. With the Now, you need to press a button and simultaneously pull on the door. This isn’t easy to do with one hand but it’s not impossible. My two favorite solutions for this shortcoming are:

  1. Asking a friend for help
  2. Holding the camera against my chest and pressing the button with my thumb, I use my four fingers to push open the door.

Should you buy the Polaroid Now?

Polaroid film camera next to different colored film lenses.
Credit: Reviewed / Polaroid

This cute camera is perfect for capturing those fun moments and adds a more vintage feel than traditional cameras.

Yes!

Overall, the Now is a great and fun accessible product for the disability community, but it also offers a pleasant instant-photography experience to anyone who picks it up, disability or not.

My favorite part about the Polaroid Now is the fact that it can be used as a substitute for an older model without compromising on photo size and camera feel. When you live with a disability, you wind up needing to compromise on a lot of things, but thankfully that wasn’t the case when rekindling my passion for photography with the Polaroid Now.

$120 at Best Buy

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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