Ten or fifteen years ago, when digital photography was something new, traditional film brands tried to convince us that only a printed photo was a real photo. Today, if you ask Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat and Twitter users if they believe it is true, the answer is “Why?”. There are, however, situations when you may want to print a photo and give it to someone as a memory.
One of the traditional photography brands that almost disappeared when digital cameras took over, Polaroid, still believes in the power of instant prints. The company has developed a compact digital camera that can instantly print photos and store them on a memory card.
The Polaroid Snap+ camera comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 13 megapixel CMOS image sensor and 1080p full HD video recording capability. Images and video are stored on a micro SD card.
When the picture has been taken, it is possible to print it out from the camera. The printed photos are 2 by 3 inches in size. Printing takes about one minute.
The Polaroid Snap+ has a built-in printing system that is based on a chemical process. Polaroid calls the process ZINK (zero ink), because it doesn’t require ink. It requires a special paper that has the right chemicals in it. When the chemicals on the paper are activated by the Snap+ camera, a color image is produced on the paper.
It is a clever system, but requires dedicated paper that you must purchase from Polaroid and have with you wherever you want to print photos. Amazon sells 30 sheets of the paper (intended for the older Snap camera model) for USD 15. One instant print will cost you about 50 cents.
Polaroid has also developed an app for Android and Apple smartphones and tablets that lets you use the Snap+ as a photo printer. Using the Polaroid app on your smartphone, you send a photo to the Snap+ camera via Bluetooth, and the camera will print it out.
Why would anyone print photos? Well, we could take a photo of grandma tending her grandchildren and give a print to her on the spot, or print out selfies where we are standing in front of Matterhorn mountain peak in Switzerland and give a copy to all members of the group who were there.
The camera is expected to be available by the end of 2016: Polaroid web site is up-to-date with the availability.