Polaroid - Choose? No thanks.

Earlier this fall (10/2009), after previously announcing it would be halting production of it's instant cameras and film, Polaroid announced it would once again be in the insta-photo business. This was mostly because loads of people went "Nooooooo!" Then Polaroid went "Really?" Apparently, there are still lots of people who need a picture of something really quick, even if it looks like crap. Crime scene investigators and construction guys were the two that stood out most in my mind. Polaroid pictures look like hell, and so do the cameras. The pictures don't have much of an excuse. The technology's as good as it can get. The cameras don't have an excuse. They're designed. By people. Who have eyes. I think.
Polaroid says "Choose". My answer is "Do I have to?" I guess they're proud of the completeness of their product line, from cheap and ugly to sort of expensive and frikkin hideous.

When I first turned the page on this ad, just because of the way the cameras are arranged, I thought it was a series of teardowns. You know, where they show you the inside of a device by taking off some bits and snapping pictures. That was about a half a second of my looking-time. Then it became horribly clear that these weren't pictures of a camera in progressive states of disassembly. These were a row of five complete cameras in saleable condition! I flinched.
Polaroids have never been attractive cameras. However, at least they looked "finished". They looked like they were done being assembled. This line of Polaroids look like a normal camera with the shell taken off. Each looks like it was  made out of pieces of five or six different cameras of better breeding.

It takes a real force of will to make boxes and rectangles clash with each other. Polaroid's designers found a way! Any shape you find on one of these monstrosities will not be repeated anywhere else on the thing. Make a notch on one side and don't balance it with a feature of similar shape on the other side. Add a box on the top and be sure not to use a texture from anywhere else on the camera to tie it in. There are brushed metal surfaces, painted silver surfaces, textured black plastic, smooth black plastic, ridges and unnecessary lines everywhere.

Many things from 1968 were beautiful. I can't believe Polaroid found a camera mighty enough to take a picture of their cameras without cracking the lens.


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