back to article Polaroid 300 instant print camera

The news that Polaroid has a new instant camera, after we thought it was done with all that frivolity, is likely to be greeted with squeals of nostalgic joy. While digital is superior in almost every sense there's a real warmth about those 80s prints that we remember adorning fridges and noticeboards. The Polaroid 300 (tsk, …


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  1. fishman


    What they need to do is combine a digital camera with a built in inkjet printer. That way you can select which photos to print, and have digital photos for adding to facebook, etc. Plus even with the high cost of inkjet inks, it would be vastly cheaper per print.

    1. Pablo


      That's exactly what I was expecting this to be when I first saw it. I was prepared to be impressed. There doesn't seem to be such a thing but something similar exists (from the same company even). I didn't know about it until just now, but it sounds interesting. It's the "PoGo Instant Digital Camera" and it prints thermally on some kind of special paper. The camera is more expensive, but the price per shot works out to a much more reasonable 17 cents.

      May I suggest it for a future Reg hardware review.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Those postcard photoprinters

      aren't inkjets but use a dye transfer process, so no smudging, waiting for the ink to dry and clogged printheads. The dyes sit on a film that gets changed with the print paper. But yes, building an instant photocam around such a printer (the camera bit would be negligible, sizewise) might have been a better idea.

  2. uniquelau


    "The optical viewfinder can take some getting used to".

    Your not being serious right? Its point and shot, how can you go wrong?

    Other than, I fine piece of journalism.

    1. Cameron Colley

      RTFA, uniquelau

      Apparently "There's a bit of a parallax issue - the angle between viewfinder and lens is rather steep, making shots quite tricky to frame.".

    2. Stacy

      Quite easily actually...

      Modern camera's use a live feed on the screen at the back, DSLR have a through the lens viewfinder. Both WYSIWYG.

      This has a viewfinder, that is in a different location, and has a slightly different view on the world, to the lens. So yes it can be difficult to frame a shot. Why do you think there are so many shots from pre digital camera's where people have bits of them cut off at the edge of the frame.

    3. Fuzz

      re: optical viewfinder

      I think this is explained quite well in the article. The issue is parallax, as you get close to your subject what you see and what the camera sees start to differ.

      1. Dave Bell

        And this is news?

        Digital cameras without an optical viewfinder? It's still a commonplace. What makes this one different is that the larger image size means the viewfinder is further from the lens. And most people are using their mobile phone these days, which doesn't have the optical viewfinder.

        That blown-out pic of the guy against the white wall: that really is an extremely bright situation. Film, generally, can record less brightness range than a digital sensor, colour prints generally the lowest of all. And that's with the adjustment possible between negative and print, which this doesn't have. It would likely look worse if you'd used a similar film camera, because the automated printing process would have aimed to make the wall grey--it's the dominant part of the image, and most colour images average out at 18% grey. It's a scene that needs careful attention all through the chain: spot metering and a skilled darkroom technician.

        It's getting harder to find places which handle film. There are people who have never used it. It wouldn't astonish me if the designers of this camera don't have the background experience of using film without an exposure meter of any kind. The first Polaroid camera I ever used had an crude exposure meter built-in.

        Film is different.

        1. Mark 65

          @Dave Bell: Highlights etc.

          "Film, generally, can record less brightness range than a digital sensor, colour prints generally the lowest of all"

          Not so. From Ken Rockwell's site for reference (

          "DYNAMIC RANGE: Film has a huge advantage in recording highlights. We take for granted the fact that specular highlights and bright sunsets look the way they do in painting and on film. Digital has a huge problem with this (see disadvantages under digital below.) "

          Also from wikipedia...

          "The dynamic range of sensors used in digital photography is many times less than that of the human eye and generally not as wide as that of chemical photographic media."

          This is a noticeable difference in output when moving from a film SLR to a digital SLR - sunset shots can be a real p.i.t.a. at times. Digital's principle advantage is instant feedback which should enable you to overcome the issue (eventually) normally through compromise of some kind - highlights vs shadows, HDR etc.

  3. Joebetwa

    Great for getting pints.

    I had one of the previous incarnations of this camera when it came out pre cam phone and it was the most social thing around. Actually being able to get the print and do the wavy dry dance (although this wasn't really needed) meant you were the centre of attention in the pub and I quite often didn't have to put my hand in my pocket as long as I took a few photos for people as keep sakes. I found a pile of them a couple of months ago and they made me laugh. I never thought I would say this but Gaga is spot on with this. Easy to use and brilliant craic.

  4. Piloti

    'eh... ?

    "" While digital is superior in almost every sense ""

    In what sense ?

    The only two ways that digital is superior is the ability to see on the screen what you have just done and the ability to share.

    In every other respect, pound for pound, digital is inferior.

    At some point, digital will be there with 'old the fashioned' stuff, you know, print, but not right now.

    35mm is a great medium and, even "old" machines 35mm is in most cases, vastly superior to digital.

    1. Peter Storm

      That rather depends

      on which digital camera and which 35mm film camera you're comparing.

      A Nikon F6 would knock spots of a cheap digital camera with a small sensor, but if you compared a full frame digital SLR like say a Canon 5D Mk II to a cheap point and shoot 35mm compact it would be a different story.

      1. Piloti

        That was why I said......

        "In every other respect, pound for pound, digital is inferior."

        The keys words being "pound for pound".

        Or shall I put it another way..... no, actually "pound for pound" is good enough, if you read it.

        1. Jim_aka_Jim

          pound for pound

          Only if you're only talking the price of the camera.

          Decent 35mm film gets expensive and developing costs add up quickly (lets ignore prints as that's a different debait).

          You're telling me that after 10,000 shots 35mm is more cost effective than digital? If so you need to tell us how.

          1. Piloti

            No.... what I am saying is......

            that if you have, say £50 to spend on a camera, a 35mm camera will produce better quality pictures than a £50 digi.

            I am not talking about TCO [total cost of ownership] or digitals ability to share / email / upload etc. But, when you look at the capability of film, the depth and resolution you get, the ability to capture detail almost limitless zoom, digital is not as good as film.

            For a lot of people, digital is /fine/, but that does not negate the fact that film is superior to digital.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              The one big flaw with your argument is that it must assume you can take a perfect shot first time with your film camera. As for quality, well it's rather like audiophiles insisting that technically one audio system is better than another when the measurements are outside the range of the average human ear. Technically film might be superior to digital but for an A4 sized print you'd be hard pushed to see a difference.

              As for the camera on review it seems not to focus too well.

  5. Nigel Whitfield.

    No headless snaps?

    For some reason, when people talk about Polaroids, I always think of the Duchess of Argyll. Definitely nostalgic.

    1. smudge
      Paris Hilton

      After all these years!

      Does this mean that after all these year you have (ahem!) come out?

      Was she any good or did she suck?

      Paris - the Duchess of Argyll of the Internet age.

  6. LuMan

    I like it!

    There's so much going on with digital photography at the mo that it's easy to forget that, once upon a time, taking photos was fun. I remember my old 126 cartridge jobbie. It would cost about a month's pocket money and a 4-week wait for the snaps to come back, but the anticipation was great. This is quicker, but a wait of 90 seconds in today's climate would be about as much as I could stand before squeeling and wetting myself!!

    I'm gonna get one and take piccies of my friends (both of them).

  7. Ben Boyle


    it's a rebadged Fuji Instax Mini 7 (and Fuji Instax Mini film) with a different colour scheme and a higher price.

    Buy the Fuji and save yourselves some money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was about to say the same..

      I <3 my instax mini. But that's largely because it cost me a tenner, and film is relatively cheap.

      This looks like a massive rip-off for know nothing douchebags..

  8. Parax

    Brighton Beach...

    The Bright n Bleach shot is a real blow out! (haha@ models own Shark)

    SO I'm assuming this is the good old chemical jobie, unfortunatly the article seems too omit the technology aspect of the camera. (assuming its not digi & print) which leaves the question why turn it off between shots? if the flash is charged and the motor is not spooling 'film' then where is the power going???

    PS nice tash!

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Well, it's chemical

      "However, it's still hugely enjoyable to watch the image develop, turning from smudges and blotches into a fully-formed photo within about 90 seconds. "

      Printers, especially inkjets, tend to go the other way round.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Unless its one of these:

        Thermally triggered chemical changes dont have to be instant. Although they probably are, I've not seen one of these working. but that does raise the which is most expensive question...

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a similar vein

    My housemate recently went to a party where they made everyone use disposable cameras. Mainly to get rid of the whole "let me see.... that's awful, take it again" bollocks that seems to plague digitals.

    I've also discussed with someone the idea of using a small (~128mb) CF card in my dslr and taping over the lcd to simulate film and make me think about composure before banging out a shot.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      They could offer that as a special firmware version

      Review and delete buttons disabled, no frozen image in the display after you've taken a pic, no "best shot selector" option, 36 pics max (or 12 for the real pro) after which the camera simply goes into standby for a minute or so, and maybe 4 frames/sec max in motordrive mode.

  11. AlistairJ
    Thumb Up

    Great work Sarah

    Love your instant self-portraits, but what you really want for creative serendipity on film is a Holga.

  12. Efros
    Thumb Down


    Fuji 7 $66, twin pack of 10 print film $16.

    Still too expensive.

  13. Charles King

    'Creatively' crap

    Sorry, but were those shots supposed to be in focus?

    Yes, I can see this appealing to the same crowd that goes for the Holga. It'll definitely find a niche among the retro analogue snobs who think that adding random garbage equals creativity.

  14. Russ Tarbox

    80% for this crap?

    £80 for what looks like a kids camera, then over a quid a print. For that money you could get a decent, far more portable digital camera and a PoGo printer.

    I really can't see who is going to buy this.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are some problems with your post.

    Probably a case of mistaking the new thing for its predecessors, but the rectangular images with the writing strip on the short edge take a bit of getting used to. What's the difference in chemistry, btw? Reading between the lines it's not a digital with a small printer built-in, so what makes this thing tick, and how will it survive the general collapse of photographic chemistry?

    Also, the really bright setting might be for places closer to the equator, perhaps?

  16. MontyPole

    Bah Humbug!

    Never mind all this overpriced plastic "retro" chic crap.

    Bring back the SX-70 (without any up to date "refinements").

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      The first pull, rip & squeeze polaroid I had came with a curved metal frame. The idea was to sandwhich the developing print in the metal sheets, and stick it in yer armpit to be a constant temperature environment so it all developed properly...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      just buy an old SX 70..

      and get your film from these people :


      Yes.. it is VERY expensive.. :(

  17. Anonymous Coward

    As I remember

    the only use anyone put a Polaroid to was for taking naughty pictures with your girlfriend. The kind you couldn't send to the developers. The 70's equivalent of sexting.

  18. M Gale

    Far too expensive per print for casual use

    I'm sure there's a niche but.. spending a crapload on a 10 or 15 sheet cartridge was always the showstopper for Polaroids. Improve that, and Polaroid will improve their sales. Still, at least the flash is reusable these days. No spending even more money to get a pack of cubes or a 10-flashbulb disposable strip.

    This article also reminds me of this:

    A polaroid every day until the day he died? Wonder how much that cost?

  19. Herby

    This DOES have its uses.

    If I were on a jury, with images from this device, it will be pretty obvious that the whole thing wasn't doctored.

    In some cases "Photoshop" is a disease. This is the cure!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Print Life?

    I've had a polaroid in the past, always seemed expensive compared to 35mm and some of the prints died after 5 years or so, like the memory of the event they fade away into nothing. Then again Mum has prints of me as a child so they can last in some cases (and some I wish would fade from the "stop mum showing old photo's of me" point of view.)

    That said this seems like an Retro version of facebook. Take pictures of mates whilst drunk, pass around a week later. No annoying data retention and very little chance for your boss to "accidentially" end up seeing how bad you were.

    Still a lot of money per print for what it is though,

  21. John 62

    wrong reviewer, or is Ms Bee changing career

    Surely the Polaroid should be reviewed by a midwife!

    I actually kinda like the colour of the prints, but not the design of the camera or the price.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the shady world of camera reviews Ms Bee!

    An excellent first review.

    I'm curious about the underlying technology though; is it really a film camera, or is it a zInk emulation of film?

    The fact that the prints take a while to develop makes me think it is actually film based. If I remember rightly, zInk comes out ready to view.

    If it is film based, be careful about how you store the prints if you want to keep them long term, and some caution might be advisable with blank film stock and airport X-ray screening. Historically unused Polaroid film used to be very sensitive to that sort of thing. No idea whether the current stuff is though.

    It might be worth a quick test if you think you can get a cheap flight on the expenses ;)

  23. Simon B

    Waaaaaay too expensive

    Waaaaaay too expensive for the film, especially when the quality is so naff. Oops that didn't come out right, oh well only ANOTHER £1.30 wasted!

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