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Spike TV: Z340 REVIEW

Ijustine was spotted with Spike TV at the Video Game Awards snapping pictures with our Z340 instant digital camera & talking CES 2012 details. Check out what they said!

MASHABLE: Polaroid Z340 Digital Instant Camera: Party Animal [REVIEW]

MASHABLE: Polaroid Z340 Digital Instant Camera: Party Animal [REVIEW]

What’s there to say about Polaroid’s new Z340 Digital Instant Camera? Sure, I could go on about the 14-megapixel image sensor, the clunky menu interface, and the pop-up LCD, but at the end of the day none of that matters a whole hell of a lot. If you’re buying a camera with the brand “Polaroid,” you’re doing it for a certain kind of experience, not performance. The question is, does it deliver?

From test shoots from models to the movie Memento, the Polaroid instant camera has been ingrained in the world’s consciousness since the popular SX-70 model was introduced in 1972. Snap the picture, a photo pops out, flap the photo around for a few minutes, and you’re done. It’s probably more familiar than making toast, and certainly easier.

Of course, like most things analog, the Polaroid fell into obsolescence as digital cameras got better and better, and the whole idea of print and film seems quaint today (high-end professionals excepted). After failing to adapt to the digital era, Polaroid went bankrupt, and what remained of the company discontinued the instant camera, and later the film.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing, however. A new company controls the Polaroid brand, PLR Holdings, and it’s been making a lot of noise lately — most famously, by employing Lady Gaga as a design consultant. The new Polaroid has created a digital version of the classic instant camera, the Z340, which combines a point-and-shoot model with a small color printer in a single case shaped similar to Polaroid cameras of old.

The Magic of Zink

The Z340, priced at $299, is actually Polaroid’s second take on the “digital instant” camera. The first was the Polaroid PoGo, which looked more like a typical point-and-shoot and sold for $199 (I guess Polaroid puts a $100 premium on nostalgic form factors). Both cameras use a special printing technology called Zink.

Zink is ideal for an instant camera because it uses no ink. It creates images on special paper ($19.99 for a pack of 30 sheets, each 2 x 3 inches) that’s embedded with dye crystals. Heat from the printer activates them, with different heat levels resulting in different colors, creating the photo.

It sounds pretty magical, and it is. A handheld, battery-operated camera/printer that shoots out a photo you just took in under a minute (45.8 seconds to be exact)? That’s amazing — and actually a lot faster than the old-school Polaroid instant cameras, once you take into account the time it takes the prints to develop (evidenced in this video comparison). The quality of the Zink printouts is even much improved over the PoGo, which were typically a bit smudgy. Check out the Z340′s printing process in the video link below.


The Experience

Walking around with the camera at Mashable‘s holiday Christmas party, I snapped a bunch of pics of my colleagues, their significant others and various pets — thankfully early in the evening. This is exactly the thing the Z340 is made for: a group setting where the primary goal is to have fun. By the night’s end, tiny photos were scattered all over the place.

It’s in this kind of festive environment that the Z340 excels. In the social setting of a party, things like adding a heart-shaped or snowflake-adorned border stop being cheesy and become useful features. An Instagram-like color changer and red-eye correction are pretty handy, too. The LCD pops up, making framing shots a little easier.

As point-and-shoots go, the Z340 is obviously bulky. But it’s a shame that Polaroid didn’t use that bulk for more than just a printer. It would have been nice to have an optical zoom, even if it was just 3x or something. It’s also annoying that there’s no LED to indicate when the battery’s charging.

When you’re not partying, the Z340 is an okay fall-back camera. Which is to say it’s better than using your phone. The 14MP images it creates look good, though they get a little grainy when you zoom in close. It shoots passable video, but not HD, maxing out at 640 x 480. The interface is nothing special, about as confusing as most point-and-shoots, so with luck you won’t accidentally delete anything.

Final Shots

In the end, though, does it deliver on the Polaroid experience? Although the time for a photo to print is shorter than the developing time for the old photos, there’s something organic missing here. The fact that you could walk away with the pic immediately, even before it was developed, was a tremendous advantage. And browsing through a menu for a Polaroid border isn’t the same as having those white-rimmed prints spat out by default.

Don’t get me wrong: The Z340 is a great party trick, and I think it could stand in for, say, those disposable cameras they leave on tables at wedding receptions. But if you’re looking for nostalgia, you’ll instead re-learn the depressing lesson that you can’t go home again.

Great collection of pictures from a PIC300! Experience the next generation of instant & share your memories! 

p o l a r o i d 

Check out this awesome project Travis Clancy did with his GL10 Instant Mobile Printer- watch the video, read the blog & let him know what you think. 

Thanks for sharing Travis! 

(Source: travisclancy.com)

TWICE MAGAZINE: Z340 Instant Digital Camera Review

By Greg Tarr — TWICE, 11/9/2011

New York - Polaroid used the occasion of the International CES Press Preview Tuesday to formally introduce its latest instant digital camera and printer combination, designed to deliver the instant gratification of the brand’s old Land cameras with the quality of today’s imaging technology.

The Z340 ($299 suggested retail) offers the guts of a 14-megapixel digital camera with an integrated Z-ink-based printer. Z-ink is a printing technology used by Polaroid that doesn’t require traditional inkjet cartridges and printing paper. Instead the ink is embedded into the paper as clear dye crystals that are activated by heat to create a nearly instant photo print.

Though heftier than most point-and-shoot digicams, the Z340 is still small and light enough to be easily carried in a medium-sized handbag. It is equipped with a hand strap for safe and easy portability.

Photos shot with the camera are first stored and digital JPEG files on SD memory cards, like most digital cameras. The user can decide whether or not to make a print on the spot to hand out to friends.

An LCD screen is added to the back of the camera to preview images and perform quick and easy image fixes including red-eye elimination, cropping or adding image borders.

The camera includes manual ISO and white-balance settings for trickier shots, in addition to an Auto function for photographers who would rather not think about adjusting the camera for the ideal composition.

The Z340 features 30 different scene modes, including Portrait, Sunset and Backlight, among others.

The camera uses a fixed focus lens. 

It comes bundled with a 10 sheets of Z-ink printing paper, each measuring 3 inches by 4 inches. Additional paper supplies will run $20 for a pack of 30 sheets.

The iconic Polaroid Land OneStep helped to inspire the new Z340 Instant Digital Camera & all of the new instant experience products. 
Check out the all new instant experience exclusively at www.polaroid.com/instant  & get the all new Z340 Instant Digital Camera, GL10 Instant Mobile Printer & the PIC300 Instant Camera
Polaroid PIC300 part of the next generation of instant!

Polaroid’s Z340 Puts a Digital Spin on a Classic Camera

By Natalie Shoemaker

Polaroid Z340

Remember those old snapshot instant film cameras? Well Polaroid is putting a digital twist to this vintage technology with its Instant Digital Camera Z340.

It’s a 14-megapixel camera with a Zink printer inside. Zink is a kind of printing technology that doesn’t follow the usual ink and paper printer formula. Rather the “ink” is embedded into the paper as clear dye crystals that are activated by heat, which create the image. The Z340 measures 2.3 by 5.8 by 4.8 inches (HWD), and tapers off in the back to about 1.3 inches. It’s bulkier than your standard point-and-shoot, so it has a hand strap on the right side to prevent any accidental spills.

The Z340 is like any other digital camera; it saves your photos as files, so you can post them online and send them to your friends and family. The back of the Polaroid Z340 does have an LCD so you can preview your photos before you decide to print. There are settings that allow you to set the camera to print photos immediately after you shoot them, or print after previewing and perhaps cropping, correcting red-eye, and adding a white or graphics border.

The camera does offer ISO and white balance for photo aficionados, as well as an Auto function for more casual users. There are 30 different scene modes, including Portrait, Sunset, and Backlight to name a few. The lens on the camera is a fixed focus one, which means the focus is not adjustable. According to Polaroid, the Z340’s battery will last for about 25 prints on a full charge, but according to our analyst David Stone, the Z340 is still going strong after 40 prints.

The Polaroid Z340 comes with one package with 10 sheets of paper, which is the max amount of paper the camera can hold at once. The sheets are 3-by-4 inches. Also, 30 sheets cost about $19.99.

The Polaroid Instant Digital Camera Z340 is currently available for $299 http://bit.ly/Z340buy