Polaroid I-2 review: the best instant camera you will ever use

The Polaroid I-2 has the "sharpest ever" glass lens, full manual controls, and a HUGE price tag. Is the bang worth the bucks?

5 Star Rating
Polaroid I-2 camera being used by photographer James Artaius
(Image: © James Artaius)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Polaroid I-2 is, as billed, Polaroid's finest camera ever. The glass lens is tack-sharp, the manual controls provide unprecedented precision, the fast aperture unlocks newfound creativity, the LiDAR autofocus is very accurate… and the price is incredibly sleep. But I think an important distinction needs to be made: yes it's an instant camera, but it's also a performance camera. This isn't aimed at Instax Mini users, it's made for professional Polaroid shooters and those passionate about instant photography. And in that, it's an absolute home run.


  • +

    Manual (and auto) control

  • +

    Sharp glass lens (with thread!)

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    Fast f/8 aperture

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    Great app functionality


  • -

    No manual focus

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    No macro mode

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    Price tag is huge

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When I first heard about the Polaroid I-2, I was incredibly excited. As a lifelong fan, the idea of Polaroid camera with full manual control, a high-quality glass lens and a fast aperture was enormously exciting. Could this be a step back towards the quality and performance of the SX-70 and Spectra? 

The answer is a resounding yes. Not only does the Polaroid I-2 officially feature "the sharpest-ever Polaroid lens", its f/8 aperture matches that of the SX-70. In fact, it can even shoot on SX-70 film! And while that iconic camera was limited to exposure compensation, here we have full manual control over the aperture and shutter speed. Throw in a LiDAR autofocus system (albeit at the expense of manual focus) and this is the company's best and most advanced camera ever.

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Polaroid I-2
Header Cell - Column 0 NotesScore
FeaturesThis is the most fully-featured instant camera ever made5 / 5
Build & handlingBrilliant build quality, but there are a couple of layout quirks4 / 5
PerformanceThe sharpest Polaroid shots ever, with full manual control – it doesn't get better!5 / 5
Value"Expensive for an instant camera" but not expensive for a performance camera4 / 5

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.