This is my baby, the clunky monkey, the Polaroid Z340. (Apologies, the photos of the camera are taken on my iPod as I have no flippin’ clue where my other camera has gone.)
The thing that makes the Z340 so unique is that it has the capacity to print out 3×4 inch prints using inkless paper (see here for more on ZINK technology). This is what really intrigues people and I love to watch as the combination of old ideas and new technology make peoples faces light up as they watch their photo print. So far my clients and their friends and family have been delighted to have lasting physical images of the evening (both of them weddings).
Though I’m looking forward to moving on to DSLR camera one day, for now I’m enjoying playing with my clunky little friend. As you can tell from the wear and tear it’s a fairly sturdy contraption and handles being banged about in my handbag quite well.
Styled on the Polaroid Spectra, I personally find it to be a nice mix of retro and modern. Though I’ve seen criticism on the design I find it fits quite nicely in my hand (but then, I have tiny hands).
As far as the important stuff (photo quality) the Z340 doesn’t fare too badly. At 14mp it can take good quality photos for a point-and-shoot digital camera and the shots often have a good colour balance. A fairly diverse range of shooting options including ‘lomo’ ‘fisheye’ ‘sports’ ‘night’ and ‘kids’ is handy for catching shots in different situations – unfortunately some such as ‘flowing water’ and ‘fireworks’ are almost useless. The main thing is just to play with the settings until you find the correct one for the situation.
The prints themselves are also fairly good quality, though there are a few notable pitfalls, one being that faint lines can sometimes be seen across the images and if left in an exposed place (such as stuck on the fridge) the yellow tones do fade over time, giving the image a blue-ish hue. So far I’ve seen no changes in the images I’ve kept in books though.
The most frustrating element of this camera is easily the lack of optical zoom. Any ‘zooming’ done of the camera essentially crops the image resulting in lessened photo quality. However, I’ve found that the surprisingly good macro mode makes up for this, so I’ll forgive it…that having been said if anyone from Polaroid is reading this, a camera with optical zoom rather than digital or even different lenses would be ah-may-zing.
Of course, with this camera, its important to keep in mind that fun is key – sometimes capturing a moment and being able to hold it manages to negate all the negatives.
Thanks for reading!