We live in a world where Kodak is in talks with banks for bankruptcy protection and Polaroid is mounting a pretty successful market comeback. I want that to sink in for a bit.

Anywho, I got a little face time with the Polaroid z340 Instant Digital Camera, and this is a FUN little cam. Hearkening back to the days of the old One Step, the z340 is an interesting twist on consumer photography…

Essentially this is a 14MP point and shoot camera stapled to a mobile 3″x4″ photo printer. Rather than trying to compete with “regular” P&S cameras in an already over-saturated market, they’ve gone back to their roots with a device that is familiar, yet feels fresh.

The camera storage can be upgraded with SD cards, and using the onboard LCD, you select which pictures you want to print. The z340 should handle about 20 print outs on a charge.

Build is solid–very solid–and it certainly lives up to its lineage: a sturdy little fun gadget that can take a little abuse. The shape of the camera fits in the hand very naturally, and the controls are thoughtfully laid out.

If I have any complaint, it’s that you lose some of the fun and mystery of classic Polaroid instant pics. That wait time before the image developed, wondering if you got a good shot, was most of the fun. Oh well… Progress…

The z340 is as close as we’ll get to that bygone era, and is easily one of the most fun cameras I’ve played with in quite a while.

 

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