Impossible Does the Impossible with the I-1 Instant Film Camera


Impossible made big waves when the company helped revive the Polaroid photo format, and now it wants to usher in a new era of instant film, with the release of the I-1 Instant Film Camera. Now in stock and ready to ship, the I-1 is the first brand-new camera system to use the classic Polaroid 600-type format in more than 20 years. The camera’s key difference from a classic model is that it manages to blend the simplicity and usability of the old-school system with the technology and capabilities of the modern age.

Designed from the ground up, the I-1 has a distinct, relatively compact design that squeezes in a number of unique features, one of the most surprising being Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy that allows you to connect to a device running a dedicated app on iOS or WatchOS. This app provides a number of modes, including the straightforward Remote Trigger, Manual Mode, and Self Timer options alongside much more involved Double Exposure, Noise Trigger, Light, Paint, and Color Paint settings for taking your instant photography to new dimensions.

In terms of basic operation, the I-1 offers an 82-109mm lens with a 5-zone autofocus system that ensures your subjects will be tack sharp. Depending on the zone needed, the focal length will fluctuate slightly, but the changes are slight and composition is made possible through a removable pop-up optical viewfinder at the top of the camera. One of the signatures of a Polaroid image has been the flash, which the I-1 upgrades to an advanced ring light with 12 LEDs that will light up your subject. And, to make things easy during everyday use, the camera offers physical lighten/darken and flash on/off controls for dialing-in the appropriate look and exposure.

Along with the camera, Impossible has developed a couple of unique accessories: the I-1 Neck Strap and I-1 Case that will help you flesh out your new instant camera kit.


I can't imagine why anyone would want to buy this.

Instant hard copies, with modern upgrades to the basic Polaroid

I think it would be much more important if they made their film work better than to make new products that do not have a good film to use in them.

To paraphrase Sy Besnon (Bill Macy) in My Favorite Year -- "Camera from crap."

It's significant that the picture material for this camera will not contain a battery. That means it can't be used with the greatest camera ever made, the * SX-70. TIP doesn't want people who've never held an SX-70 to experience what a jaw-droppingly incredible/preposterous piece of technology it is.

TIP continues in its Quixotic attempt to come even remotely close to Polaroid integral materials (let alone duplicate them). This is hard to believe, as the patents should leave no doubt as to this is done. I'm enjoying my last eight packs of Fuji's FP-100C, which takes sharp pictures with generally accurate color. (Though not perfect, they can actually stand comparison with a Macbeth chart.)

* It is, and always will remain, the greatest. I didn't say it took the highest-quality pictures, which it surely doesn't. They can be beautiful, but they're not view-camera quality.

Hi William,

In regards to your concerns over the battery, Impossible already has and is going to continue to produce film packs that are compatible with the SX-70 which is available here. The reason for the battery-less version of the film packs is that the I-1 has an integrated battery, meaning users will be able to buy film cheaper and without waste of the disposable battery setup of classic Polaroids. Also, Impossible actually refurbishes many types of Polaroid cameras for the public and we happen to carry the Impossible-refurbished SX-70 and the SX-70 Sonar for people who want them today in order to experience these cameras.

Impossible is still working with their film to produce better and better results, and over time I'm sure they will improve. We have seen this already with the 2.0 versions of some of their films. 

I sincerely wish them success, but cannot help but wonder why they've had such difficulty. I'm aware they couldn't get the proper grade of titanium dioxide -- but why should the other materials be so difficult to obtain or manufacture?

A "proper" patent is supposed to contain everything needed for a person "skilled in the art" to duplicate the inventor's results. So why the problems?

Kodak produced color-negative material for Polaroid peel-apart materials (which are similar, but not identical to, integral materials) for a decade. Would they not be able to help out?

"Something is wrong." I get the feeling I'm watching the photographic equivalent of Alaskan Bush People,

There are patents and there are trade secrets.  Patents often tell only part of the story as often key features are patentable, but process tricks maybe not so much.  Things with with a mix of chemistry and physics like the original Polaroid film are typically exactly where this duality is most likely to exist.  Certainly, a great deal of what Kodak did over the years fell in the trade secret category, so no reason the same wouldn't apply to Polaroid.  A good current example would be studying Intel's patents and then assuming you could build a 14nm fab line that was competitive.  Nof very likely.

That's logical, except... The people who ran the European production line were alive (and probably still are!) at the time production was discontinued. Wouldn't TIP have asked them to explain the manufacturing process in detail? As Polaroid had all-but collapsed as a corporate entity, they had little to fear revealing trade secrets.

Do you know if there is any interest at Impossible to market film packs for 4 x 5 use?

I'm going to stick my ignorant nose in and say "It's highly unlikely".

Fuji produced peel-apart materials for a long time. (FP-100C takes rat-purty pitchers.) If Fuji had felt there was a substantial professional market, it would have provided FP-100C in 4x5 format.

I wish someone would bring back 4x5 Sepia.