First, it was vintage clothes. Then the vinyl revolution made record company executives sit up and take notice. Now, it’s technology, the tech of yesterday has found its time, again. Maybe the technology, food and fashion of yesterday give us an anchor in times of political and economic uncertainty. Perhaps, as in the case of vinyl records, we eventually figure out, sometimes with the help of today’s science, that some things just can’t be bested by modernity.
Polaroid is a name I remember fondly and now having been corporately resurrected is making a fair hand of reinventing the brand for the digital age. Their little Cube action camera captured the hearts of the nostalgia-hungry a few years ago and they’ve brought us even closer to their glorious past with the Snap Instant Digital Camera.
The Snap is a small, attractively designed camera that fuses digital and instant photography. It’s made of plastic, is light and it is immediately apparent it’s easy to use. There are only a few buttons to be concerned about. One of them controls the colour settings which are normal colour, black and white and a vintage sepia tone. There’s also a button that allows you to add that vintage looking white border around photographs, and another that activates the self- timer.
The camera has an internal battery which is charged using the a Micro-USB cable that’s included in the box which also contains a clever little magnetic lens cap. On the back of the camera, where I almost expected to see a digital or LCD display is the large door where you insert the photo-paper, ten sheets at a time. On the side is a Micro-SD slot which can accommodate a memory card up to 32GB.After I’d charged it up I inserted the paper and began snapping.
The Snap prints a photo every time you click the shutter button, something which we’re not used to these days and yet it was refreshingly old-fashioned. You can take the paper out of the camera, insert a memory card and capture just digital images, but where’s the fun in that? The Polaroid border and the sepia features are fun and it wasn’t long before I needed to reload the camera with more Zink zero-ink paper.
The images it captures on the SD card are adequate, but not s good as the photos my smartphone takes. That’s not why you’d buy a Snap though, and as a result I found myself going through a pack of of thirty sheets quickly.
There’s no digital screen on the camera to act as a viewfinder, so I did find framing the photos, particularly close-ups a little hit and miss. It’s forgivable, but this is not a camera designed with precision in mind. The cost of prints is one of my concerns as each shot costs almost eighty cents, which is expensive for a print quality that is average. Other downsides are the lack of a flash, and the battery is not replaceable.
As charming as it is, there are cheaper alternatives like the Fujifilm Instax Mini and Polaroid themselves have a far more sophisticated model, albeit at a higher price, but it’s certainly a more functional option.