Polaroid cube (thoughts and a bit of diy)

I grabbed one, just before going to Gran Canaria this year. Main purpose is to shot some picture/videos underwater, as well as some on the bike using it as “action cam”. So this is more like review.

Some facts at first of all. Polaroid is no longer Polaroid as you might remember (at least some old buggers like me). Now is more like mid range Chinese electronic company, but I found quite a bit of sample videos on YT and comparing the price I decided to splash some money and have a go with it.

Camera does exactly what says on the tin. Recording video in 1080/720 (in 5 minutes chunks ~300Mb) and shooting photos in about 5mpix. On the back under small lid is SD card slot, switch 1080/720 and microusb port, on top one button which is used to operate camera (all functions).

IMG_0869

Sounds crazy but I think one button operation is brilliant. Whole thing reminds me of an lomo camera and lomography idea. Picture quality is acceptable lets say, and that’s why the connotation with lomography – which is more focused on series of pictures and catching a moment and mood rather than quality. Even among the accessories you can find pendant and have it always handy.

Camera itself is not expensive – about £75 in EU, and comes without any mount at all (apart from magnet on the opposite side to switch button). Adding the mounts, on the other hand, might be a bit expensive affair. Mounts usually £15-18 for strap, helmet, tripod, bumper case and bike mount. Waterproof case is about £20 version with suction cup around £25. So all together, mounts might double the price easy.

These I think, all available mounts at the mo:

In my case the camera been used mostly for taking pictures on a move, snorkelling, cycling and will be used for wind/kite surfing in the future. I decided to slightly cut the costs in terms of mounts. For me one strap mount looked like will do almost all the things I need. I can attach it to helmet, I can attach it to bicycle handlebars (after a bit of tweaking*), I can attach to stick, to boom, etc. Tripod mount? maybe but at the mo I don’t think I’ll need it, suction cup? thank you, but no thank you ;-). Don’t like the idea at all. Anyway, it was unavoidable buying waterproof case, but again I’m able to attach waterproof case to strap mount, sorted. Bumper case? Not really essential thing, but again a piece of inner tube plus carabiner and I’ve got same functionality. So I ended up with standard strap mount and underwater case, plus a bit of diy’ing and it’s covering all usage.

Some samples. (youtube unfortunately cut the quality I’ll try upload again in full hd in the future)

Polaroid CUBE Polaroid CUBE

Polaroid CUBE

Some underwater shots:

Cons
Is not really a con but after using it for two weeks I’m really missing intervalometer. I know that’s quite an ask for this kind of camera but anyway that will be quite nice feature. Just shot pictures every two minutes or so.

Camera needs quite a bit of light. Night shots not as nice as in daylight. For me that’s not an issue as it’s used as “action cam” almost exclusively. Haven’t got really a sample in poor light but that can be found on YT.

Pros.

Light and small. That’s what you need on a bike. Example shoots below. Quite a bit experimenting with different mounts, and I’ve ended up with simple solution attaching the cam underneath my Garmin with simple silicone band which is ultralight 😉

IMG_0871 IMG_0873

Love the one button operation. Intuitive and functional.

Looks like is well build and Polaroid claiming it as “splash proof” which I think is true.

* To attach the strap mount to handlebars I had to make custom adaptor using black Suguru plus short strap which I believe might be even better option than clamp from original bicycle mount. Pictures will tell the story. Basically I’ve used cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebars and camera.

IMG_0858

Suguru + cling film + handlebar

IMG_0859

everything wrapped in cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebar and mount

IMG_0860

a blob of Suguru squashed against handlebar

IMG_0861

desired shape with “center point” to prevent sleping the pad from underneath the mount

IMG_0863

after 24h hardening

IMG_0864

velcro sewed to strap

IMG_0865

ready to go

A bit About configuration. Once camera is attached to computer and clean SD card inserted the software is copied to the card as well as directory structure created. At first I was thinking that the only way to configure the camera is to run supplied software (Windows/Mac), but as I’m not using windows I found actually quicker way to do it. In root directory of the card there are two files: settings.txt and time.txt the only thing the supplied software is doing is changing content of those. I found that once camera is connected to pc by supplied cable settings.txt can be easy edited in any text editor and saved. All you need is change UPDATE to Y (yes) and save file.
Structure of the file is quite simple:

CUBE-V1.01
UPDATE:N
FORMAT
LightFrequency:0
TimeStamp:0
CycleRecord:1
BuzzerVolume:30
——————————-
LightFrequency
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz  1:50Hz
TimeStamp
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
CycleRecord
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
BuzzerVolume
0 ~ 50, def:5

Four parameters to change and underneath the description.

Time.txt – same thing. Set up date and time in supplied format, switch UPDATE to Y save file job done.

Keep’em rolling

Adam

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5 thoughts on “Polaroid cube (thoughts and a bit of diy)

  1. I was thinking about buying one of these, but i keep thinking that Gopros are better and might be worth the money! Damnit, so many choices and not enough money!!! 😦 But thank you, this really helped me! 🙂 The photos you posted look like paintings if you zoom in! 😀

    • Yeah. Photos not great really, but the whole idea is capture moment rather than thinking about quality, aberration, megapixels etc. Anyway for me gopro was too expensive. As simple as that. (Rather will spend the money on “recovery ales” LOL). Keep’em rolling.

  2. Hi!

    Nice review! I’m really thinking of buying one of these for a mini pocket hip-shooting camera, except I have a hang-up about how over-processed the actual images look like.
    After googling around, however, I found that after a firmware upgrade an option in the Settings.txt file appears for setting video bit-rate. ( http://www.reddit.com/r/PolaroidCube/comments/32zxcu/hacking_the_settingstxt_v117/ )

    Did you try upgrading your Cube’s firmware?

    • Hi. Yes, I’ve updated the firmware yesterday but I was in rush to go on the water windsurfing and didn’t have a chance to play around. Anyway, I’ll post first video from camera attached to mast. Quite funny but the camera survived smashing around on top of the mast and remained water-tight ;-). Cheers

  3. Thanks for this man. I could never get the settings to save until I saw this post. I didn’t set the Update to Y.

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