Polaroid’s Newest Printer Gives Analog Life to Smartphone Pictures with a Miniature Table Top Darkroom

There’s something appealing about physical photos in the age of smartphone cameras.
The massive digitalization of photography is overwhelming. Despite this fact, prints and analogs have never lost their charismatic value. Especially because of the digital era, prints and film have never had as much appeal as they do today.

Polaroid knows its sweet spot: giving us new tech in its Originals camera line, while still staying true to the design that put it on the map all the way back in the 1930s. And with the Polaroid Lab, a fully functional photo printer that produces tried and true Polaroid pictures, there’s another game-changer for its Originals line. Now, you can turn edited photos on your smartphone into tangible keepsake Polaroids.

This device it is an update to Impossible Project’s Instant Lab, originally a crowdfunded project from 2012, which presented a solution to convert digital photos from smartphones into analog instant film. The Impossible Project was rebranded into Polaroid Originals in 2017.
The Lab has a camera inside with three lenses that, essentially, take a photo of a photo that’s on a user’s phone, so the light from your smartphone’s screen is projected and used to directly expose Polaroid’s instant film.

It’s not just a printer though. The Polaroid Lab from Polaroid Originals is described as a “miniature table top darkroom”, using chemistry to create the images rather than just printing.

The Lab looks vaguely reminiscent of Polaroid’s iconic instant cameras, but it lacks an eyepiece and a front-facing lens. The eyepiece has been replaced by a bed on top that users can safely place their smartphones face down on, and the lens exists only inside the Lab where three of them are used to focus the projected light from the phone’s screen down onto the Polaroid film, which creates the exposure.

It works alongside a free accompanying smartphone app that allows users to specify the framing of their shots given Polaroid film’s square aspect ratio which is much smaller than the photos taken by a mobile device.

As Polaroid Originals writes on the product’s website: “Not a printer, not a scanner, just an instant formula for timeless images.”

“Unlimited cloud storage can actually be your memories’ worst enemy, causing your digital photos to skyrocket in numbers and end up falling into a void of oblivion. The idea behind the Polaroid Lab is that it turns your most precious smartphone photos into tangible Polaroid photographs – bringing them into the world as something you can hold in your hand and store on the fridge door rather than in the cloud” says Oskar Smolokowski, CEO of Polaroid.

The Polaroid Lab uses the I-Type Film which will give the so loved vintage look that everyone loves in polaroids instant film photos. The reason being the fact that is battery-free. Since the device has its own rechargeable battery, there is no sense in using polaroid film with battery included. It will also make your Polaroid experience more affordable, making it easier to expand your instant photo collection.

The Polaroid Lab goes on sale from today for $130. It works with devices running iOS 11 or above and Android 7 or above.
More info on Polaroid’s website.

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