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Review: Polaroid Z2300 digital instant camera


October 20, 2012

Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the Polaroid Z2300 digital instant camera

Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the Polaroid Z2300 digital instant camera

Image Gallery (11 images)

Although most people think of Polaroid instant cameras as retro relics from the 70s and 80s, those cameras did do something that today’s digital models don’t – they provided you with an on-the-spot photographic print. The picture quality wasn’t great, but it was fun to instantly receive that tangible finished product. Polaroid is now trying to recapture a little of that fun, with its new Z2300 digital instant camera. I recently had the chance to try one out for myself.

First of all, the Z2300 can be used just as a regular ol’ 10-megapixel point-and-shoot camera.

It has a flash, a 3-inch LCD screen on the back, an SD card slot, and a mini-USB port for uploading shots to a computer. Most users will undoubtedly stick to its Auto mode, although accessing its menu does allow for manual control over parameters such as ISO, white balance, and exposure value (different aperture/shutter speed combos). Focus controllability is limited to choosing between landscape and macro settings via a side-mounted two-position switch.

The digital version of a photo (as opposed to the print made from it) taken with the Polaroid Z2300

When you want to print off one of your photos, you just select that image from the playback screen, indicate how many copies you want, and set things going. Within about 30 seconds, a print will emerge from a slot on the side of the camera. The Z2300 uses Premium ZINK photo paper, which doesn’t require the use of toner or cartridges of any kind. Instead, each sheet contains cyan, yellow, and magenta crystals, that are activated by heat which is selectively applied inside the camera.

At 2 x 3 inches (51 x 76 mm), those sheets are quite small – about the size of a business card. The image quality certainly isn’t what you’d get with a proper photo-quality printer, but given the sort of thing that the prints are likely to be used for, it’s acceptable.

As an added bonus, each print has a backing sheet that can be peeled off to expose an adhesive surface – in other words, they can be turned into stickers. This doubtless opens up all sorts of artsy-crafty and/or practical possibilities, examples of which I’m trying to think of ... well, perhaps you could use them to indicate the contents of hard-to-access storage boxes?

Overall, I had fun with this camera. I certainly wouldn’t use it as my primary camera, but there would undoubtedly be occasions where it would prove useful. Unlike the case with the original Polaroid film cameras, it’s nice to have the ability to make multiple prints, and to still have the original digital file after the fact.

I did have a few gripes with it, however.

For one thing, as compared to other point-and-shoots, it’s big. It’s also a little on the cheap side – the door to the battery compartment rattles, and the LCD image is pretty coarse. Its shots are OK in digital form, although the miniscule cell phone-like lens certainly limits picture quality.

Additionally, I was somewhat irked by the lack of instructions. The camera ships with a very basic instruction booklet, which advises users to consult an included CD-ROM or the Polaroid website for details on the advanced features. Unfortunately, the CD wouldn’t play on my iMac, and the website appears to make no mention of the Z2300 other than a few brief press releases.

A digital image taken by the Polaroid Z2300 (left) and the print made from it (right)

Whether or not it’s worth the money, I’ll leave to you to decide. It’s priced at US$160, with Premium ZINK papers selling for $25 for a pack of 50 – that’s 50 cents a sheet.

Gizmag would like to thank Kiran at Photojojo, who supplied us with the camera.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

I like the idea of labeling boxes with a photo of contents. I may do it. But I won't be buying a specialist camera for it, I'll use my existing camera and printing onto sheets of labels. The Polaroid looks expensive to run.

David Evans

Polaroid instant cameras have always been very expensive to use.

What gets me is how Polaroid was successful in suing Kodak to stop them from making their instant cameras after the original patents on instant photography had expired. That was the second generation of instant cameras from Kodak, the Trim Print ones where the photo could be peeled off the developer backing and cut without destroying the photo, unlike Polaroid photos.

Gregg Eshelman

At this point I'll stick with my Fuji InstaPix camera, which is purely analog

Bob Fately

I have found the prints to be very much "washed out", lacking a bit of colour. Also I can see little horizontal and vertical lines, just like you get when printing off your home deskjet printer. I expected more from the printed photos.

Marcos Accioly
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