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After a two-year hiatus, Polaroid is back with an instant camera that has a whole new look and feel. The Polaroid 300 instant camera is a cross between the company’s now-antiquated One600 model and the i-Zone pocket camera from the early 2000s, and taking photos with it is just as much fun as it was with its predecessors.
Loading the film is as easy as always. Simply drop in the film cartridge and hit the shutter button to eject the plastic sheet that protects your film. The camera powers up with a simple pull of the lens, but it takes about 12 seconds to get ready to shoot. The long delay means you’ll miss most action shots, but the upside is that the photos develop “instantly,” and their small, 2.1x3.4-inch size (roughly a credit card) makes them easy to carry around in your wallet and share with friends.
Each film cartridge gives you 10 exposures, so digital shooters used to grabbing multiple shots at a time will benefit from patience and basic photo composition (since there’s no cropping). The instant film is ISO 800, so it can handle low lighting and fast movement, and it also gives the photos a nice old-school graininess. The 300 lets you choose from four different settings--Indoor, Cloudy, Fine, and Clear--which adjust the camera’s aperture for proper exposure. All of the modes trigger the camera’s onboard flash when necessary. Photos taken indoors are crisp and clear, though those taken outside on a sunny day with the Fine setting came out overexposed. Though the photos are a smaller form factor than classic Polaroid 600 snaps, they have the same vintage feel as before and take about three minutes to develop fully.
The biggest downside to this charming camera is its price tag--$90 is a bit much for a walk down memory lane. On top of that, it’s $10 for each pack of film. At about a buck a frame, this isn’t really a camera for everyday picture-taking. While the nostalgia alone might be enough for some, a dollar a pop feels steep for images that don’t fully replicate the classic Polaroid experience.
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If you’ve got the cash to spare for this nostalgic throwback, the Polaroid 300 is a fun novelty shooter.
Polaroid 300 Instant Camera
REQUIREMENTS: Four AA batteries, Polaroid 300 Instant Film
Instant gratification. Has four different picture modes. Photos are small enough to carry around in your wallet.
Expensive. Small images don’t quite recapture the classic Polaroid vibe.