Cameras

Polaroid OneStep 2 review: The ultimate throwback camera

Bringing back what’s classic

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When the Polaroid OneStep 2 debuted, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that it was one pretty camera so logically I was instantly drawn to it. (I like beautiful things and quirky cameras.) I previously reviewed the Fujifilm Instax SQ10 and the Polaroid SnapTouch so I was quite curious as to what this classic brand had to offer.

Background

The OneStep 2 is the brainchild of Polaroid Originals. It’s technically that same iconic camera brand but also, it’s technically different. Let me explain.

Throughout the years, Polaroid has made itself known for its cameras — hence the reference in that OutKast song and the reason why Instagram’s very first logo was influenced by a Polaroid camera.

The rise of digital photography, however, wasn’t the best development (pun intended) for a classic camera manufacturer and pretty soon, Polaroid was going out of business — until a startup called Impossible Project swooped in.

Impossible Project was no stranger to the Polaroid brand. It was the same company that kept the film manufacturing process alive when Polaroid announced that they would cease doing so. In 2017, Impossible Project’s main shareholder purchased the Polaroid brand and intellectual property giving birth to Polaroid Originals.

Now, enough of this history lesson and on to the actual camera.

Picture perfect

If you think the OneStep 2 looks familiar, you’re right… and you’re also probably old.

The OneStep 2 is the successor to Polaroid’s original OneStep camera manufactured in the 1970s — one of America’s bestselling ones at the time.

The resemblance is uncanny: The Polaroid OneStep and the Polaroid OneStep 2

Just like the OneStep, the OneStep 2 is an analog camera. Only, there’s a 21st-century twist — namely a lithium-ion battery with a micro-USB port for charging. There are no frills or special functions on this camera, just pure old-school goodness.

Setting up

The camera is pretty straightforward. The big red button up front is the shutter button, there’s a timer switch on the left of the lens and finally, there’s a yellow lighten/darken switch which allows you to adjust photo exposure. On the back of the camera, there’s an on and off switch, a flash override button, and the micro-USB port for charging.

The Polaroid OneStep 2 side by side with a film cartridge

Before anything else, you’re going to need a pack of film. The OneStep 2 uses i-Type film which come in cartridges that house eight shots each.

To load the film, slide the cartridge into the camera. That tiny latch up front opens the film door. It may sound complicated but it isn’t as hard after the first try.

Ready, set, shoot!

The OneStep 2, true to its analog roots, only has a no-frills viewfinder. This can make picture taking pretty tricky; you need just the right angle to take a perfectly framed photo. It also doesn’t help that said angle entails half of your made-up face to be on the back of the camera. (Que horror!)

Press and hold the red button to take a photo and the image will immediately print. There’s no option to edit or save. All you really do after you press the shutter is hope you framed your photo right.

The film comes out of the camera’s front, and now you sit and wait. It takes a few minutes for the photo to develop.

But all that considered, photo taking on this thing is still very fun — that is, if you don’t run out of film. Eight shots is not a lot when you’re still fumbling with a camera that prints each picture automatically. These lights will tell you how much film you have left.

Verdict

Without knowing what the OneStep 2 can do, I am immediately drawn to it. I mean, look at it! It’s so Instagrammable, we probably took more photos of it than from it.

However, if you’re looking for a shooter that will give you the clearest instant print, it won’t be this camera. There’s a certain learning curve on this thing and it takes a while to perfect taking photos — in our case, more than a pack’s worth of film.

Not the most perfect prints but memories nonetheless

I have to be completely honest, though: I enjoyed playing with this camera a lot. There’s just something about instant cameras that make them all so appealing to me.

Now, some might argue that an instant camera launched in this decade should, at least, have more functions. This is what other brands have done in an effort to evolve. But, to apply that standard to the OneStep 2 is completely missing the point. This camera release relives the simple times and takes us back to the nostalgic glory of the Polaroid OneStep. It reminds us of the sentimentality that old-school photography used to have and allows us to experience the same.

The Polaroid OneStep 2 retails for PhP 8,990 in the Philippines and US$ 100 in the US. The film costs PhP 1,490 per pack of eight in the Philippines, and US$ 16 for the same in the US.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ10 review

SEE ALSO: HP Sprocket Review: The smallest instant printer

Cameras

GoPro HERO9 Black launched with improvements across the board

5K videos below $500?!

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GoPro has released the latest iteration of its flagship camera. The new GoPro HERO9 Black brings major improvements across the board from bigger resolution to a whole new display upfront. It also brings battery life and performance improvements over its predecessors.

The main highlight of HERO9 Black is its improved camera resolution. This year, GoPro is upping the resolution for photo stills: it can now shoot 20-megapixel images. This is a considerable improvement over its predecessor’s 12-megapixel photo still.

Video performance has been given a boost too. Users can now shoot up to 5K videos on this camera. However, frame rates are limited to 30fps so users should stick to 4K for recording 60fps videos. HyperSmooth 3.0 is here too, bringing in-camera horizon leveling.

This year, GoPro is also bringing back a huge, missing feature from last year’s HERO8: detachable lens cover. The company is introducing a “Max Lens” mod this October to make use of the feature. This mod brings ultra-wide lens and max HyperSmooth technology allowing for a more cinematic effect.

Speaking of mods, users can still select from a variety of choices such as media mod, light mod, and display mod.

Another addition to the GoPro HERO9 Black is an LCD color display on the front. As such, users can now preview images and videos on the fly without resorting to the display on the back.

Meanwhile, the display on the back also gets some nifty upgrades. The company is sticking a bigger 2.27-inch touchscreen display this time around, which is a boost from its predecessor’s 1.95-inch display.

To accommodate all these improvements, HERO9 Black comes with a bigger 1,720mAh removable battery. The company touts 30% more battery life with this when compared against the HERO8.

Pricing and availability

The GoPro HERO9 Black is now available to purchase for US$ 449.99. It can also be had for US$ 349.98 when purchased with a GoPro Plus subscription. Each purchase comes with an included 32GB SD card to get users up to speed.

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Cameras

The Sony Alpha 7C is a compact full-frame camera

World’s first smallest and lightest full-frame camera

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If you’ve been waiting for a full-frame camera that’s easy to carry around then this latest from Sony was made just for you. The Sony Alpha 7C is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera.

The new camera features a 24.2MP (approx. effective) 35mm full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine, offering high sensitivity, outstanding resolution, 15-stop6 wide dynamic range and high-speed image data processing.

At 124.0mm x 71.1mm x 59.7mm and weighing just 509g , the Alpha 7C is a similar size and weight to an APS-C camera. Sony achieves this build through upgraded 5-axis in-body stabilization and shutter units, and the utilization of monocoque construction, which is often used in the bodies of cars and aircrafts.

Full-frame image quality, Advanced Autofocus

Standard ISO extends up to 51,200 and is expandable to ISO 50-204,80012 for low-light environment captures with low noise. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW output13 for natural gradations.

The Sony Alpha 7C is also equipped with Sony’s vaunted autofocus tech. It has the Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals feature. In addition, “Tracking On + AF-On” is now assignable to a custom key. It can  be activated at once while the AF-ON button is pressed.

It locks onto the intended subject instantly without losing focus, thanks to its 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system covering approximately 93% of the image area, with an additional 425 contrast-detection points to ensure reliable focus, even in busy environments.

The Alpha 7C also features continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with AF/AE and it’s also possible to shoot continuously at up to 8 fps17 in live view mode, with minimal viewfinder/monitor display lag for easy, stable framing, even with intense subject motion.

Shoot 4K video

Full-frame full-pixel readout without the need for pixel binning makes it possible to capture
more than twice20 the amount of data required for 4K video (QFHD: 3840 x 2160). It’s then oversampled to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

In addition, the Alpha 7C supports HDR (HLG21) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fps3 and other advanced video features which offer exceptional video capabilities to capture high quality video footage.

The Alpha 7C features a side-opening vari-angle LCD monitor, making it easy to record selfies, overhead shots, low ground-level shots or whatever the user requires. The Movie button has been placed on the top of the camera making it easier to operate while recording in selfie mode.

A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe, allowing the ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected to input digital audio signals directly to the MI shoe for cleaner, clearer audio recordings.

New lens perfect for the Sony Alpha 7C

Launching alongside the Alpha 7C are the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 and the HVL-F28RM.

The new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 offers the world’s smallest and lightest form factor in a standard zoom lens. From everyday shooting to scenery, portraits and travel, it’s the ideal lens for any type of on-the-go shooting in a wide variety of environments.

The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is dust and moisture resistant and accepts a variety of 40.5mm filters.

The HVL-F28RM is a compact flash designed to match Sony’s mirrorless cameras for a compact, manageable system. This compact, easy-to-use flash unit delivers the capabilities and dependability to meet the needs of both professional and advanced amateur content creators.

Pricing and availability

The new Alpha 7C compact full-frame camera will retail for US$ 1799.99 (body only)/ US$ 2,099.99 (with kit lens) and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from October 2020.

The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will retail for US$ 499.99  and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from January 2021.

The HVL-F28RM flash will retail for US$ 249.99 and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from November 2020.

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Apps

Imaging Edge Webcam lets you use Sony cameras for video calls, live streams

Adapting to the new normal

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If you’ve been working from home, chances are you’ve attended more than your fair share of video calls. If you have a Sony camera, you can elevate the quality of your video with the new Imaging Edge Webcam app.

Considering we’re months into being quarantined already, Sony sure took their time in launching this product. That said, it should still be a welcome addition for anyone who might possibly need it.

It currently only supports Windows 10 64bit so you might have to wait a while if you’re using a Mac. You may download the desktop app here.

The Sony cameras supported are: Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III,
Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, ZV-1.

There are more cameras supported and we’ll update this article once we have the full list.

Quick note for anyone who will use it: The aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9. It will remain set to 16:9 after using Imaging Edge Webcam, so set it to the previous value if necessary.

SEE ALSO: The Sony A7S III is a low light video beast

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