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It’s been nearly five years since Polaroid ceased production of its instant film products to focus on the digital photography market – a pivot that included licensing its iconic brand to other companies, which yielded an inexpensive iPhone app known as Polamatic. Now in its fourth incarnation, Polamatic isn’t just some licensed knockoff: Snap a photo with the app and a virtual print slides down the screen and “processes” before your eyes in true Polaroid fashion, complete with sound effect. But this time, shutterbugs won’t have to wait around shaking prints as they develop.
The sense of nostalgia is further heightened by Polamatic’s ability to crop, filter and frame images for an endless variety of looks, all of which feel more authentic than those produced by Instagram – including dirt, hair, and masking tape. The app can also add text to photos, mimicking how Polaroid users often wrote captions on the wide bottom edge of instant film prints with a marker or ballpoint pen. The app includes 36 different fonts, many of the handwritten variety for generating the most faithful look possible.
Polamatic isn’t just a camera app – existing Camera Roll images can also be imported and edited using the same techniques, although sadly there’s no way to directly import from albums or Shared Photo Streams. Importing wound up being our preferred method, since images taken with the built-in camera can only be exported or shared to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with enhancements applied. Gallery images can be re-edited anytime, and can otherwise be exported at their highest resolution.
With 36 Polaroid frames and an equal number of unique filters included, Polamatic is an all-in-one solution for vintage photo lovers. Best of all, everything is included for the bargain basement price of just $0.99, with no pesky in-app purchases to get in the way of the fun.
The bottom line. Sure, Polamatic by Polaroid is a something of a gimmick, but it’s also the most faithful representation of a bygone era – especially for those of us who still hold fond memories of the original instant film classic.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later
Faithful replication of classic Polaroid instant film experience. Exports images at highest resolution. Gallery images can be re-edited. No in-app purchases.
Can’t import images from albums or Shared Photo Streams. No way to save unedited in-app camera photos. Separate iPad version.