Polaroid Pic 300 Instant Camera Review
Most of the 70’s & 80’s are best left in the past, is Polaroid one of them?
A fun, newly released twist on the analog classic, the Polaroid Pic300 has been getting very positive reviews since its current model was released in 2012. Is it just a novelty with more fuss than function and is it worth the price tag? Read below for the good, the bad, and the other options.
Nitty Gritty Product Details
Less bulky than its original predecessor, the sleek design of the new body comes in four different colors: blue, black, purple, and red. Unlike the Polaroid cameras of the 70’s and 80’s, this new model produces a much smaller photograph – about the size of a business card. The image itself measures 1.8”x2.4” and the paper extends beyond it for a total measure of 2.1”x3.4”, enabling the user to make notes and write on the image.
The camera is very simple and easy to use. It is battery operated and in most cases, the four AA Batteries that are needed, come included with the purchase of the camera. It has an automatic flash and an option of four preset scenes to help capture a bright shot even in dim lighting. The camera has an energy-saving auto-off feature, in case it is left on, to preserve battery life and a countdown pane to show how many images are left and available to print.
How It Works
As soon as an image is captured, the camera processes and prints the film. There is no need for ink, ribbons, or a separate printer. The technology works by utilizing heat sensors to imprint upon the special film to draw out colors. Billions of tiny dye crystals of cyan, magenta, and yellow are embedded within the film with protective layers over the top to produce full-color photos once the heat is applied. The whole process takes just minutes as the photo appears on the film before your eyes. Although you’ll get better photo quality if you develop your high-res digitals, those who went in with the proper expectations, especially those with memories of the original Polaroids, were impressed with the images they produced.
The biggest challenges and criticisms of the product do revolve around the film, however. Although many have successfully used other branded film: FujiFilm Mini Instant seems to be the most popular, Polaroid recommends utilizing only their brand. Film comes in packs of 10 and can range in price. The casing for the film helps to protect it until you are ready to install it in the camera and use it, but it is very heat sensitive and there are many instances of photos being developed black because of overexposure to heat before developing. At $1.50-$2.50 per image, that can be frustrating. Fuji brand film however, can be purchased and used in the Polaroid camera, at a price of under $10.00. Value packs are also available that reduce the cost per image to under 70 cents.
You Always Have Other Options
Fuji does produce a competing instant camera. The most comparable is the FujiFilm INSTAX Mini 8. About an ounce lighter than the Polaroid brand, it only requires two AA Batteries. It is slightly narrower, but taller than the Pic300. Although the reviews are just about equal between the two, the FujiFilm camera has been the better seller, most likely due to the cost of film. The FujiFilm also has a couple more advanced features: based on the lighting in the room, the camera’s LED light will signal the recommended aperture setting out of the eight available and the user can choose to manually adjust to the recommendation, or select something different based on desired outcome. It also has a “high-key” mode that will sharpen softer images for a more dramatic effect in the developed photo.
What To Do With It And Where To Get It
Both camera options have a wide array of uses. Photo enthusiasts enjoy this re-introduced medium as another point of view for their imagery. Instant cameras have also become a quickly growing fad at weddings and special events, to add a personal touch to guest books, or personalized mementos for guests. More casual users just like having a printed photo available immediately after aiming and shooting and the ease of use of these cameras makes them great for all ages and every skill level.
Many retailers carry instant cameras and both the Polaroid and FujiFilm versions, with associated film, can be found online or in store at Target, BestBuy, and Walmart. Amazon has a great inventory as well, typically at a much lower price point with Prime shipping options available from many sellers.