Polaroid announces ILCs: The sign they've gone mainstream

As of CES 2013, even Polaroid plans a few budget models.

Lori Grunin
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice

I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.

Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Polaroid's ILCs have an interesting, cost-saving design. Lori Grunin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--A not-very-well-kept-secret of the new year, Polaroid is lending its name to a Sakar-manufactured series of interchangeable-lens cameras. One model, the Nikon CX-mount-size iM386, also runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, making it potentially the first ILC to do so (I say "potentially" because Polaroid never shipped the last Android "first" it announced last year this time). That model is based around a sensor the same size as Nikon's 1 series of ILCs, with the same 2.7x focal-length magnifier ratio; the non-Android iM1030 and iM1232 are based on a Micro Four Thirds mount. There will be adapters for APS-C mounts as well.

New Polaroids are both cutting-edge and cheap (pictures)

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The big deal is that Polaroid's cameras will, unsurprisingly, be relatively cheap: $349 for either type. The company thinks that ILCs have become sufficiently mainstream that the world is ready for these more commoditized versions. Given how much of small-sensor image quality depends on image processing, it will be interesting to see if these can manage better-than-point-and-shoot quality (or speed).

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