The advent of digital photography has made life easier. To create memories we are always a click away. Over the years, due to perseverance in scientific excellence, the costs incurred in photography are continuously on the downside and it is expected to go even down before striking a plateau. The improved cost effectiveness has made it accessible to the masses and hence not only the kings get their portraits painted, but also the commoners! Not only the costs related to clicking have plummeted but costs related to reviewing as well. A photographer doesn’t need to be a chemist anymore. To review a photograph, neither a series of chemical reactions is required nor the lag of a couple of days. The crux of the revolution is that Photography has moved away from the dark rooms to anybody with a shooting device.
The generations of the 21st century may not relate to it but to those who belong to the era before do understand the comfort and satisfaction a developed film used to offer. The bliss of holding a hardbound album containing a series of tangible memories from some trip to the past was ecstatic. The excitement of going through the pictures for the first time days after the trip had ended was equivalent to revisiting those places again. Also, those pictures were highly valued since they were numbered; however in today’s fast-paced world with the capacity to click limitlessly, the value of these photographs have deteriorated, both economically and emotionally.
Technology has created many wonders and definitely one of them is a Polaroid! Polaroid is a type of camera with internal processing that produces a finished print rapidly after each exposure. Through one of these devices, one has an access to memories in the print format without the knowledge of chemistry and without any wait. Photographs are printed in the blink of an eye and the magic happens thereafter, as you witness the film developing in your hand.
All of this is nothing but Science! Laws of Physics take care of the optics and lights, whereas Chemistry ensures that the final picture retains natural colors. It is beautifully explained in the video here!
There are a range of these Polaroid cameras in the marketplace with varying specs and a plethora of options for the pocket, however offering common result- ‘instant’ tangible memories! Let’s have a look at some of the best Polaroid cameras to meet your spectrum of expectations.
Instax mini 8
This is the first entry level version that comes in all different colors and takes the Instax Mini Color film. It is fully automatic and hence, it’s extremely easy to use. However, it has also got 4 different modes: Sunny, Cloudy, Partly Cloudy and Indoor to make it even easier to get the right exposure for your need. It has also got a High Key mode which allows you to take really artsy fashion type photos. Because it's so easy to use with just a point and shoot feature, it's great for beginners with instant film. Also, it's highly pocket-friendly and is available at a starting price of around Rs 5000.
Fuji Instax Mini 70
This is a step up from Mini 8 and it has a couple of more interesting features. First, it has a Selfie Mode, which is really great for selfies. You need to select the right focal length of arm's length and then point. It has got a mirror right next to the lens so that you can assure that you are pointing in the right direction and everyone's in the shot. Next, it also has exposure value control and shutter speed control, which allows you the freedom to get a little more creative and artistic with your shots.
This, being offered by Leica, ensures that the luxury is maintained. The feel of the device is good and it comes in only a few really subtle colours. It has got a few different characteristics that really make it stand out from the other cameras. It has a unique lens toggle system, easy focusing, and the photo taking. Alike, the mini 70, it has also got a selfie mode with a small mirror again for making sure you make most of your image. Alongside, it has also got macro, sports, and party mode so that you spend less time fiddling around with it and more time taking pictures. It also offers a wide range of settings that can be incorporated before clicking to ensure optimal utilization of the film.
It's a little bit different from the others. Unlike the other cameras discussed so far, it doesn't use the 54×86 mm Male film but the old square film familiar to all. It has a fabulous technology called the five-point autofocus system. This ensures that the photographs are well sharper and well focused. It also can be connected to the mobile phone app and hence allow the user to trigger it remotely. You can also manually adjust shutter speed and aperture. It also allows double exposures and self-timers. The ring around the lens can shoot extremely bright light through the 8 LEDs embedded in the ring. Hence, comparing to the others, it has got the most features and the nostalgic look to its film.
There are many Polaroid cameras out there but the features more or less overlap and to avoid confusing you with an endless list of similar products, the list here offers a nonoverlapping range of cameras suiting different pockets and different temperaments.
It can be really confusing for people to choose a suitable instant camera and at times it can also be the case that people find them overpriced considering the innumerable features that their phone shooters offer. But one must never compare a phone shooter or any other digital camera with a Polaroid. The uniqueness about a Polaroid lies in the value of every click. All the clicks go down the memory lane to really nostalgic places and are worth keeping in a closet or may be gifting to someone special.
Written by Shivam Tiwari for WorldPhotographersClub.com