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Printer Hardware

Polaroid: This Time It's Digital 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-doesn't-enjoy-voluminous-gadgets dept.
MrSeb writes "Long before Facebook and Twitpic, photos were shared by simply handing someone a print. No camera made this easier than the once-ubiquitous Polaroid. Nothing represented instant gratification better in the film era than having a print develop before your eyes, ready to hand out in a minute. Unfortunately for Polaroid, the advent of digital photography sounded the death knell for its iconic instant print cameras. A brief reprieve in the form of inexpensive sticker-printing versions was ended by the cellphone camera revolution. Now, after a decade in remission, Polaroid has returned with a full-up digital camera that incorporates instant printing technology. The Polaroid Z340 is a 14MP digital with an integrated Zink-enabled (Zero Ink) printer. In a nostalgic touch, the new camera prints 3×4-inch images, the same size as the original Polaroid film cameras. Remarkably, all this fits in a one-pound, seven-ounce package, about the same weight as a mid-range DSLR."
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Polaroid: This Time It's Digital

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  • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:33PM (#37993382) Homepage

    That sounds good and I'm glad they're back. Though I wonder if coming back with an old fashioned analog polaroid might not sell as well. "The polaroid" was a name for a type of picture, a digital print isn't going to feel that unique.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:36PM (#37993410)

    I have a soft spot for Polaroid cameras, having grown up back when they were all the rage (just after the dinosaurs died). The Land Camera was a lot of fun, back in the day. But, really, the only thing unique about this new camera is the printing, and no one wants to do that anymore.

    The whole point of printing, way back then, was simply because it was the only way to share your images. That's no longer an issue. Even my mom's phone can send and receive photos. A print can only be shared with one person, while a digital image can be shared with an arbitrary number of people. There's just no advantage to being able to instantly print in this form factor.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:41PM (#37993456)

      I mostly agree. There are a few niche uses where having instant print out is useful, but I doubt very much that there's enough of a market for this to make it worthwhile. And most of those uses are ones where having a separate printer would be adequately satisfactory.

    • by westyvw (653833) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:56PM (#37993546)

      I disagree. This is exactly what my mom would be looking for. She doesn't like the camera on the phone - its not familiar and feels foreign (a phones a phone not a camera). She doesn't like that digital photos are only on digital devices, why wait for a computer to start up or a disc to load? She wants to take a picture, hold it in her hand, talk about it, and have it available to look at instantly later. She can organize her photos in a physical way, in a photo album or shoe box. She can take it to the neighbors or other family members. Remember, this is a physical object object that she has familiarity with, has zero boot time, and cuts out the middle man of waiting on a computer and printer.

      • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:24PM (#37993838)

        Your mom may still prefer a print, but it ends there.

        You will show your guests the phone, or print it wirelessly to the printer in the next room.

        Your kids will push the live video from their phone direct to the bigscreen on the wall and directly to the guests phone.

        In each case the older generation with be thought to be hopelessly out of touch.

        Your mom at least will leave you the shoebox. Most of your photos will die with your phone.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:42PM (#37994058)

      There's just no advantage to being able to instantly print in this form factor.

      I've no idea why you've been modded up, because what you are saying is FAR from true. The lack of polaroid instant prints was a real hassle for a lot of people. Not the least in the movie industry, where it's often necessary for art, costume and make-up depts to have prints to refer to. Yes they can use small printers back in their trailers, but that's a real hassle on set.

      I'm sure there's plenty of other people who find having instant prints extremely useful too.

      Yeah, maybe in your narrow experience there's no use for instant prints, maybe for more people out there too, but there's many people who REALLY needed them. And this is long overdue. It's been a total pain for some people not having access to this tech.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @07:12AM (#37997386) Homepage

      There's just no advantage to being able to instantly print in this form factor.

      You, sir, are suffering from a blinkered imagination.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:39PM (#37993436)

    My first temptation was to scoff and say this is the digital age, why print them out.

    Then I remembered 2 years ago, I got my dad this sony dyesub (Sony DPP-FP95, I think 97 is the newest). It prints pics perfectly, as good as the store. And because it's dyesub, it's superior to inkjet in every way: the dots blend together and aren't discrete, it has a clearcoat so no smudging, and the toner is dry on plastic so no printhead to dry out after a period of nonuse. It's the first digital gadget he really uses and actually loves: after every damn trip he sits down and make pics after pics. I know, I get sent a packet every so often with the sony branding.

    If this polaroid is the same way, good on them. I can barely keep my digital pics organized, I don't expect older people to really grok photo organizing software either.

  • by black6host (469985) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:56PM (#37993548)

    Not all of us, that remember the Polaroid fondly, are dead yet :) It may be a small market. And shrinking, most assuredly. But if there's money to be made.....

  • by mariushm (1022195) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:56PM (#37993550)

    Unfortunately, at 20$ for 30 sheets of the special photo paper it needs, I don't see it being successful.

    I guess they're probably trying to use the classic inkjet printer selling scheme, where the printer is cheap but the cartridges are expensive... though their camera is 300$.

    It can also print just 25 photos with its battery which is not clear if it's removable or not - strange number considering the paper is sold in packs of 30.

  • There is no Polaroid (Score:5, Informative)

    by El Puerco Loco (31491) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:34PM (#37993964)

    It's just a brand name now that's licensed out. Edwin Land's company is long gone.

  • by Lev13than (581686) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:44PM (#37994090) Homepage

    Might be useful in niche markets such as film & television. Polaroids were often used to ensure continuity between takes and after breaks - take a picture of the actor before stopping and use it as a comparison point when it's time to get going again. Could use digital but this would just be easier.

    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:06PM (#37994920) Homepage
      Stanley Kubrick made good use of Polaroids when he was making 2001: A Space Odyssey because taking test shots and waiting for them to be developed took up lots of time. He had his photographers make up charts with Polaroid pictures on one side and Technicolor shots on the other so that he could get colours right faster. (You'll find this in the book on the making of the film.)
      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:53PM (#37995270) Homepage

        So you take an iPad (or a Android tablet) take the picture, store it away, take the continuity shot and check it. Hell, you could even write custom software to keep track of the metadata that typically got scribbled on the back.

        The iPad, at least, has decent color fidelity. Better than an old Polaroid, especially under wonky lighting conditions.

        I think your workflow would be much easier today than in years past.

    • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @12:14AM (#37995424) Journal

      Might be useful in niche markets such as film & television. Polaroids were often used to ensure continuity between takes and after breaks - take a picture of the actor before stopping and use it as a comparison point when it's time to get going again. Could use digital but this would just be easier.

      A nice cheap 42" TV screen is going to be quicker, cheaper and more effective as it will highlight every flaw in the before picture nicely. You can get something suitable for $400 in Australia. I imagine much cheaper in the US.

  • by liquidweaver (1988660) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:51PM (#37994172)

    http://www.pandigital.net/search.asp?Mode=Product&TypeID=26&ProductID=30 [pandigital.net]
    $.40 per 4x6. That's expensive as hell. I'll keep my color laser that costs me about $.14 per page for 8x11.
    Or go to Walmart and borrow their dye sub printer for really nice 4x6's for less than a dime.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/High-Quality-4x6-Prints/5019648 [walmart.com]

  • Ad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:42PM (#37995192)

    A statement of the form "nothing makes it easier than (brand)" is ad copy. It's a statement which means "we can't say it's better than the others, so we're going to make a statement which implies it's better than the others while it may only mean that all brands are basically the same" (after all, if they're the same, then nothing else is better).

  • An option (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:46PM (#37995214)

    Isn't it cheaper and easier just to freeze your relatives in carbonite? That way you can preserve your memories forever and avoid all the nasty Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

  • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @07:40AM (#37997522) Homepage

    This is so sad, at the right price this could transform the market. Even the tiny old (2"x3") prints are really fun, and nearly everyone is amazed at the simplicity of the system.
    Without the patent the market price would be 1p-5p a print and would be worth billions. With the patent and 50p for a print it is a total flop.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @09:13AM (#37998064)
    Thought this was cool until I saw the picture, obviously they are using the same industrial designers as back in the 60's.
  • by JSBiff (87824) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @10:15AM (#37998700) Journal

    So, how much does the ZINK paper cost? I imagine it's probably not exactly cheap. . . give away the printer, sell the ink^h^h^h^h paper.

    I think one of the things that did the classic polaroid in was that those insta-developing glossy photos were pretty expensive. I don't fully recall, but seems like the cartridges of polaroid "film" were something like a dollar per picture or maybe a bit more. I mean, that's not completely out of reach of the public, of course, but with a $200 digital camera you can take thousands of photos at no additional cost, whereas it would cost you thousands of dollars to take thousands of pics with a polaroid.

    I would suppose with this new digital polaroid, you probably have the option of only printing out the ones you really want to print, and just save the rest to an SD card like any other digital camera, so that should help control costs for their customers and encourage them to take lots more pictures, and perhaps even decide to print more.

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