Instant Digital Prints (and Polaroid Nostalgia)

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** Instant Digital Prints (and Polaroid Nostalgia)**

MILLIONS of families once snapped Polaroid photographs and enjoyed passing around the newly minted prints on the spot, instead of waiting a week for them to be developed.

Now, Polaroid wants to conjure up those golden analog days of vast sales and instant gratification — this time with images captured by digital cameras and camera phones.

This fall, the company expects to market a hand-size printer that produces color snapshots in about 30 seconds.

Beam a photograph from a cellphone to the printer and, with a gentle purr, out comes the full-color print — completely formed and dry to the touch.
The printer, which connects wirelessly by Bluetooth to phones and by cable to cameras, will cost about $150. The images are 2 inches by 3 inches, the size of a credit card. The new printers are so lightweight that a Polaroid executive demonstrating them recently had three tucked unnoticeably into various pockets of his trim jacket, whipping them out as if he were Harpo Marx.

What would Edwin Land think? I can only imagine how much the micro ink cartridges for the min-printers will cost.

Not to mention you’d keep running out if you take dozens of pictures.

The processes involved in the development of the old Polaroid color film was a technological marvel of sequential chemistry. No digits involved there! I hope the process is not forgotten.

I’m thinking back to a story I read in Analog magazine years ago. It was a detective story set in the not terribly distant future and the only photos allowed in court were [will be?] Polaroids, precisely because digital imaging has made all other images meaningless as evidence.

Actually the instant mobile printer doesn’t use any ink cartridges. The ink is in the paper. Billions of embedded dye crystals are activated when passed under a thermal print head that radiates millions of heat pulses. Basically colors appear based on amount and length of heat. So all you need to do is keep buying paper! No ink cartridges to purchase or recycle.

Nothing Polaroid ever does will outdo the SX-70. It was as though someone from 30 years in the future handed me a device. Stunning in its stylish simplicity, and flawless in operation.

It still works today, albeit with a little tweaking to make the new film fit and work at slower ASA ratings.

When they get the printer to about laptop size, with meaningful-size prints, then I’ll be interested

Actually the printer is small enough to fit in your shirt pocket. Yes, the prints are small (2" x 3") but I’m sure plans are to make those bigger. I’ve seen actual prints and the color is pretty good.

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