The digital camera revolution was a little rocky for Polaroid, a company famous for an iconic film camera that prints photos instantly. But thanks to the invention of a new type of thermal printer, the company now has a instant digital camera, the Pogo. I’ve had the chance to play around with one for a couple of weeks* and I have some thoughts. First the bad:
- The camera is big and boxy, much like a Walkman from the ’80s.
- The 2″ x 3″ photo paper is loaded into the body of the camera, but when you shake the camera the paper moves around. Technically this isn’t a problem, but it’s still disconcerting to hear things moving inside.
- The user interface is awkward and slow compared to the other cameras–Pentax, Canon, and Nikon– that I’m used to using.
Now the good:
- It is AWESOME to be able to print out a picture and give it to a person on the spot. People are so used to having their picture taken and resigning themselves to the fact that they may never see it again. Maybe it will be posted on Flickr or Facebook, maybe not. It’s been surprisingly fun and rewarding to give a physical picture to someone immediately.
- These cameras aren’t very well known yet, so there’s a nice novelty to them.
- The photo paper is relatively cheap. You can buy a pack of 30 for $10.
- I’ve found that I enjoy thinking of fun and clever uses for the pictures like putting together flip books or hiding pictures of me making funny faces around the house for my partner to find.
My main recommendation to Polaroid is to change the form factor of the PoGo. I understand that the camera has to be a little bigger than the average point-and-shoot to accommodate the internal printer and paper, but why not have a little fun? Urban Outfitters sells bigger, vintage-looking digital cameras that the cool kids really love. Imagine how much more they’d love these cameras if they printed photos too!
*Disclosure: the PoGo sells for $199, but I got mine as a free gift for participating as a judge in a design contest for the Zink thermal printer.