The other week I started investigating the feasibility of purchasing a bunch of old Polaroid film for a largescale project. I knew the film was discontinued but had heard that it was coming back into production at some point soon. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet happened and the cost of old film (old expired film at that) can be in the neighbourhood of $2.50 a shot. Not exactly cost effective for large scale projects requiring 100+ shots. However, during my investigation I found out that their new digital analog for their old Polaroid film was now available. Its an interesting technology. The printer is basically just a bluetooth enabled heating element that activates crystals on special paper resulting in a very small, very cheap printer that doesn’t require any ink.
The pricepoint was low enough that I could justify trying it. I managed to snag a printer on Ebay for $50 and a load of film (~400 exposures) for around $100. The printer arrived the other day and so far my opinion is quite high. It’s absolutely tiny - smaller and lighter than a paperback and comes with a case so that you can carry it around in your purse (which I’ve been doing since then). Setup was super easy. In fact, it was harder to open the package than it was to setup the printer and load the paper. My BlackBerry found the printer as a bluetooth device immediately and within a minute I had my first picture. The quality it produces is quite good – better than I was expecting in fact. The size is probably inadequate for most people, however, as the paper only measures in at around 2″ by 3″. The upshot is that the photos are in fact stickers so for some craftsters this printer is probably a wet dream.
This thing definitely wont replace your standard photo printer but the price point is low enough that it’s probably justifiable as a novelty.