Friday, May 14, 2010

new Polaroid 300 instant camera (review)

Public relations agency Weber Shandwick sent a few books to me (see my posts at and, and one of the new Polaroid 300 Instant Cameras to try...

I've used Polaroid cameras since the 1960s, and I'm not ashamed to say it. There are things in life you experience and they leave a very positive impression on you that lasts your lifetime. Old cameras are one of them. They of those neat pieces of technology that feels as good today as it did then.

The Polaroid 300 is available in three colors: black with grey, blue with gray, and red with white (the one I received). Four AA batteries were included, as was a wrist strap (which was a little tricky to attach but, then again, aren't they all?). To power-on the camera, and to open the lens cover (nice), the lens is pulled-out and away from the camera. There are lamps to show if the camera is ready to take a picture, and to give you an idea if the batteries need to be replaced. If the camera is on and not used after about five minutes, it will go into an "energy saving state". There are four lighting settings: "clear" for when outside in bright sunshine, "fine" for when it is fair or there are thin clouds overhead, cloudy, and a setting for when indoors. Plus, there is an automatic flash. The size of the pictures are 2.1 by 3.4 inches (the size of a business card); the image size is 1.8 by 2.4 inches.

After inserting the film package, my first attempt at taking a picture failed because the cover was in place (on the film cartridge) is removed by the camera after the trigger is pressed.

My next/"first" shot was taken outdoors...but, I did not have the lighting/scene setting correct: by default, when the camera is on, the lighting/scene setting is at "indoor"...every time you power-on the camera you will need to check the lighting setting before you take a picture.

The shirt of the subject of the top-left shot is purple, but seems faded. In the middle-right picture, they are staggered at about 10, and the other 20, feet away: the picture is out of focus, and has no clarity. The closer your subjects are to the camera, the better the shot will be. (The two bottom pictures were taken indoors with no lights on: just the flash was used.)

The two below were taken in a hallway, first with no light, and then with the light that was available (very low and poor).

I tried to remember the best uses I had heard of for instant cameras and all I could remember were that some people kept them in vehicles to document collisions and the like. But: "...instant cameras were found to be useful for other purposes such as ID cards, passport photos, ultrasound photos, and other uses which required an instant photo. They were also used by police officers and fire investigators because of their ability to create an unalterable instant photo..."

So, I took one of a car (see above) as if I were attempting to document some damage.

I do miss the old large format/size of the pictures...the "40 Series" was 3.25 by 4.25 inches (83 by 108 mm). Photographs of that type of the generation before mine exist in the possession of members of my family.

I hope Polaroid considers creating a hybrid camera: one that could produce instant prints...AND take digital shots. (And, if they do, I hope I get some cameras and film for suggesting this idea...)

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