I saw that some camera can take pictures and immediately print out paper photos. I was wondering what kind of camera it is? For example, the one used in this hidden camera "prostitute" gag.

What are some weakness and strength of this kind of camera, compared to others that are more usual?

  • 1
    Polaroid Camera?
    – dpollitt
    Dec 23 '11 at 17:25

There are the old Polaroids, of course.

But in recent times Polaroid also started selling the "zero-ink" line of printers and integrated camera/printers, and these are different than the older models. These have an all-digital workflow, the colors in the paper are activated not chemically like the old ones, but thermally (as I understand it). The result is a printed photo that looks like the prints that you get from a lab (less quality though), and there are no white margins around the picture like before. The printer only model can be connected via bluetooth to a cell phone to download photos, or via USB cable to any camera that supports PictBridge (even DSLRs!). This is a huge benefit in my opinion, because you are not limited to a crappy camera like in the old days.

Google "polaroid zero-ink" to see what's available. I have two printers from them, one that prints little 2x3 photos, and one that is less little that prints 3x4s. Both operate on batteries and are intended for taking them out in the field.

  • +1 but note that the modern "Polaroid" company is just a brand name bought by someone after the original went belly-up. That company has licensed the brand to another company, which uses it on the "zink" cameras and on some other things like photo accessories. They've done a great job using the vintage-style packaging but don't be fooled.
    – mattdm
    Dec 23 '11 at 17:41
  • @mattdm: Yes. I knew these cameras and printers come from Zink and not Polaroid. However, I assumed Zink and Polaroid merged, did not know the Polaroid brand was licensed to them. Thanks!
    – Miguel
    Dec 23 '11 at 18:31
  • 2
    Besides Polaroid/Zink, there are many brands of mini USB photo printers, for example the Canon Selphy CP800. I think Fuji make them too. I would go the route of using your existing camera and just get one of these little portable printers.
    – MikeW
    Dec 23 '11 at 20:23
  • If you want to use an older Polaroid camera you can get (expensive) film here: the-impossible-project.com Aug 8 '12 at 10:01

Looks like the Fujifilm Wide Instant Camera Instax 200.

  • Thanks! Are these "instant cameras" comparable to those that are not printing photos, in terms of quality and price?
    – Tim
    Dec 23 '11 at 15:42
  • Absolutely no idea :) I've never owned one, so I'd encourage others to comment... Dec 23 '11 at 15:48
  • 1
    @Tim: No, not anywhere near it. As "instant keepsakes", they're not bad, but they aren't anywhere near the quality you would get from a regular film camera (assuming your regular film camera is not a 110-format plastic point-and-shoot). You'd get a better picture from a disposable, but you won't get it right away. Polaroid (the original) made films for a while that you could squish and do wiggly things with a dull pencil while it was developing, which made for some really cool art, but the quality of the picture was no better than "acceptable snapshot" at best.
    – user2719
    Dec 23 '11 at 15:55
  • Agreed, the quality is horrible. But it is really fun to do and everyone gets a kick out of it.
    – dpollitt
    Dec 23 '11 at 18:18
  • And the pics are great give-aways if you're doing street photography (especially in underdeveloped locales).
    – user2719
    Dec 23 '11 at 20:48

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