For all those of an old era, Polaroid instant cameras supplied the very first encounter with photography: Take a photo, then anxiously await the print to develop directly in front of your eyes. This form of immediate gratification was imagined with the Polaroid Snap ($100), a 10-MP shooter with a built-in Zink printer that spits out a 3 x 2-inch hard copy of your image right after it’s snapped. Offered in a couple of colors, the Snap will interest kids who want an enjoyable camera to use to take and share photos.
Since this system contains tough plastic which can withstand minor lumps, it is probably best to utilize the bundled wrist strap, so to help prevent yourself from accidentally falling the camera.
Designed for the ultimate in simplicity, the camera has hardly any controls. Along the top, you will come across the huge shutter button, a self-timer button, an choice to add a white border to prints, and a circular button for picking color or special effects.
The left side includes a MicroSD card slot and a micro USB port for charging and transferring images. There’s enough internal memory to capture and print a single 5-megapixel image, but you will require a MicroSD card if you would like to put away anything more. (It is compatible with cards up to 32GB.) A tripod mount is contained in the base of the camera body, along with a very small flash is in front.
A locking door on the back of the Snap holds up to ten sheets of special Zink paper for instant prints. These prints automatically slide out from a slot on the idealistic side of the camera. Over the door, a trio of lights indicates the condition of the battery, paper and MicroSD card.
A wonderful touch is a magnetic lens cap that won’t fall off under regular use but can easily be removed when the little one wants to snap some pictures.
The Snap has a minimal variety of features, but the built-in printer provides the camera extra appeal. This way, you have the best of both worlds. The downside is that there’s no choice to print only select photos; every photo will print if there’s paper in the camera. I managed to unload the paper when I didn’t want prints and reload it later, but it takes just a little patience to set the paper back.
Print options include a photo-booth layout of four images (hold the shutter down for 3 seconds and it’ll capture four images at 4-second intervals). You might even choose to get a white border on the prints.
A 20-sheet pack of film costs $10, while an 80-sheet pack cost $25 (there’s no cost savings when buying Multipacks), but the Snap film is about 10 cents a shot less costly than Fuji Instax mini 70 film.
The camera on the Snap isn’t quite as responsive as, say, the Fuji Instax mini 70, however, after a beep sound to signify the picture was recorded, the three x 2-inch print emerges immediately.
To activate the very small flash on the camera, you want to press the shutter button to get a fraction of a second longer than normal. But as soon as you find a continuous light, the flash fires a bright burst soon thereafter. It is somewhat tricky, but is a significant feature to master.
In good light, the Snap produces accurate colors that are well-saturated. Images from the Snap are brighter and more vivid than those of the paler Instax mini 70 in both digital and prints. It’s ideal to keep the images on the small side when viewing digital files; the lens isn’t the sharpest, which is evident when blowing the images up to full size on the computer. But they look fine for posting online and making small prints, either from the in-camera printer or an ink-jet printer.
The pop-up optical viewfinder is very good for distant shots, but is a little off for closeups, so leave lots of room around your subject to be certain that to have the shot you desire.
I tried to receive a close-up shot of this kachina doll’s head, but the framing didn’t match up.