Stranger Things Polaroid Camera Review

What is the Stranger Things Polaroid Camera?

A special edition of the Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF, the Stranger Things Camera is a perfect addition to your Stranger Things memorabilia collection. Inspired by the upside-down, the camera features a neat pearl-blue paint job and upside down decals. Polaroid Originals (former Impossible Project) released a very 80s advert to promote the new camera:

Looks aside, the Stranger Things Camera is no different than a regular Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF. An upgrade to the original OneStep 2, the biggest difference in the second generation model (differentiated by the VF designation) is, naturally, the viewfinder. The design of the first generation OneStep 2 camera meant that you’d be looking at the viewfinder from a distance, which made accurate framing all but impossible. The second-generation OneStep 2 camera has a traditional viewfinder with an eyepiece that extends to the rear edge of the camera. This greatly improves framing accuracy and ease of use, though parallax is still an issue at closer distances.

Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera
Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera

Key Specs

  • Film Format: Polaroid I-Type and 600 Film (ISO 640 instant film)
  • Image Size: 78.9 x 76.8 mm / 3.108” x 3.024”
  • Lens: 106mm fixed (equivalent to 40mm on a 35mm full-frame camera)
  • Focus: Fixed, 0.6m – infinity
  • Viewfinder: Real image type
  • Flash: Automatic (with forced-off setting)
  • Power: Built-in 1300mAh lithium-ion battery pack (up to 60 days battery life)
  • Includes: USB charging cable and neck strap
  • Dimensions: 5.91 x 4.33 x 3.74″ / 150 x 110 x 95 mm
  • Weight: 1.05 lb / 475 g
Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera side view
Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera side view

Body and Design

As noted earlier, the color scheme and decals are the only things that differentiate the Stranger Things Camera from the regular OneStep 2 VF. This, of course, is also the main reason you will be getting the special edition anyway.

The camera measures 5.91 x 4.33 x 3.74″ (150 x 110 x 95 mm) and weighs just over 1 lb (475 grams). The button layout is typical, with the distinctive Polaroid red shutter release button rendered in discreet black. There is also a self-timer button on the top left side of the lens, an exposure slider under the viewfinder window and a flash override button on the back. The main on/off switch is under the viewfinder eyepiece on the back of the camera. There are 8 LED lights on the top to let you know how many shots you have left.

How to use the Stranger Things Camera?

Using the Stranger Things Camera is no different than any other recent Polaroid model. There are numerous videos and tutorials online, and the camera ships with a handy little user manual to get you started. Here are the basics:

Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera with box
Stranger Things Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF Camera with box

Out of the box

The Stranger Things Camera ships with no film included. If you don’t already have any I-Type or 600 film around, make sure you order some with the camera. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see all the different film options there are.

The camera has a built-in lithium-ion battery pack, so you do not have to get batteries separately. You do, however, have to charge it before you can use it. It ships with a USB charging cable, so you can use any phone charger or a computer to plug it in. Charging will take a couple of hours, depending on your charger. Even though the camera can use 600 type film cartridges that have built-in batteries, it does not draw power from them. Nonetheless, battery life is very good, with a single charge enough for over 15 packs of film.

The Stranger Things Camera comes bundled with a neck strap, and we recommend you use it to ease carrying it around avoid dropping it.

Loading

Loading the Stranger Things Camera is very easy. Make sure the camera is charged before you load your first film pack. Check out this video by Polaroid themselves that explains the camera’s operation and the loading sequence. The video shows the first-generation OneStep 2 but the Stranger Things Camera is used exactly the same way.

To load a film pack, turn on the camera and slide the film door latch that is located on the front, right above the slit through which the exposed film comes out. Once the film door is open push the film cassette all the way in, with cardboard darkslide up, the plastic base at the bottom and the yellow tab facing out.

Once the cartridge is securely in, close the film door. If you feel any pressure or binding do not force the door or you might damage the camera. Once closed, the camera will automatically eject the cardboard darkslide covered with the plastic film shield. The Film Shield is a flexible plastic cover sheet designed to protect images from light as they first emerge from the camera. It is permanently attached to the film cartridge and should not be removed.

Remove and discard the darkslide, as you shall not be needing it again. Allow the film shield to roll back up. If the darkslide does not eject automatically, repeat the procedure, making sure the camera is on and the film cartridge is securely positioned in the camera.

Upside Down Stranger Things Camera
Upside Down Stranger Things Camera / Photo by Hello I’m Nik

Taking Pictures

As can be expected out of a Polaroid camera, taking pictures with the Stranger Things Camera is extremely simple and intuitive. Simply turn on the camera using the switch on the back and the camera is ready to go. Frame your subject using the viewfinder, press the shutter button and you’re done. The camera automatically fires the flash and adjusts the exposure, so you don’t have to deal with those things. Focus is fixed and should be good from infinity down to 2 feet.

The image will automatically pop out of the camera, protected by the plastic film shield. Developing takes about 10-15 minutes. Contrary to popular opinion, shaking a Polaroid will not speed development and can instead be harmful. For best results, the image needs to be protected from bright light for the first couple of minutes of development. You can do that either by leaving it attached to the camera and under the film shield or by removing it and placing it face down on a table for example.

If, after development, you find out the photo is too dark or too bright, you can adjust the exposure using the exposure slider on the front of the camera and take a new picture. If you want to take a photo without the flash, press and hold the flash override button while taking the picture.

An unofficial trick allows you to shoot multiple exposures with the Stranger Things Camera. If after taking a picture you keep the shutter button pressed and simultaneously turn off the camera, it will not eject the image. Next time you turn on the camera, you can make a second exposure over the same photo. You can repeat this as many times as you like, although results can vary.

Stranger Things Polaroid Camera Film Options

The Stranger Things Camera accepts all standard Polaroid Originals i-Type and 600 type film cartridges. Unlike some Fuji cameras that can work with Polaroid PIF 600 film, the OneStep 2 VF cannot work with Fujifilm cassettes.

Polaroid Originals Stranger Things Color i-Type Film Pack
Polaroid Originals Stranger Things Color i-Type Film Pack

Stranger Things Film

Together with the Stranger Things Camera Polaroid Originals released a limited edition dedicated Stranger Things Edition i-Type film cartridges with 8 unique special edition stranger things frame designs inspired by locations in the town of Hawkins. As all i-Type film, it comes in packs of 8 shots and is best bought in multi-packs for better value.

Polaroid Color i-Type Film 40 shot bulk pack
Polaroid Color i-Type Film 40 shot bulk pack

i-Type Film

Regular Polaroid Originals Instant i-Type Color Film is the most popular and easily found film option for the Stranger Things Camera. Again, a multi-pack would give you the most bang for the buck. The i-Type film comes in a bunch of differently styled frames like camo edition and note this edition. If you are feeling artsy, you might also want to check out the Polaroid Originals Black and White i-Type film. If you are in a hurry, note that black and white shots develop for only 5 minutes, compared to the 15 of the color films.

Polaroid Originals 600 type Instant Film pack
Polaroid Originals 600 type Instant Film pack

600 Type Film

The Stranger Things Camera can also use legacy-style 600 type Polaroid film cartridges. You can mix and match between i-Type and 600 without a problem. The camera cannot take advantage of the 600 film cartridges’ built-in batteries, so get whichever you can find a better deal on. Like the i-Type, 600 film comes in both color and black & white, with a variety of themed frames.

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