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For the longest time I struggled with the thought of whether or not I wanted to buy a polaroid camera. Something like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, as shown on the left. I understand the rage that they are creating these days. There is a certain fascination towards film photos in today’s age and date of instant phone photography, which happens to be stored virtually. With these cameras. you can click photos and while they are still instantaneous, the outcome is a printed photo. They also make for good props in photos because of their “cute” appearance and pastel colors that they come in. The ones shown on the left are ice blue and flamingo colours from the top respectively.
What is HP Sprocket?
During a Google Pixel event that I attended in Mumbai sometime in Jan 2018, I got my hands on the HP Sprocket. HP Sprocket is a small, handy, mobile photo printer that can fit in a pocket and it prints photos on 2 x 3-inch (5 x 7.6 cm) sized film. The photos are printed via a mobile app, called HP Sprocket.
After trying the phone photo printer, the first thought that came to my mind was, what is better? An instant camera or a phone photo printer?
So here are some of the things that I gathered from my combined research, comparison, and personal analysis, of the two products.
When it comes to buying a product, the first thing that we look at is probably the cost. Here’s a comparison of the cost of the two products. The HP Sprocket is priced at INR 7,999 (at the time of writing this piece, you can click the image on the side to find out the current price), and the latest model of Instax mini 9 is priced at INR 4500 (at the point of writing this piece, you can click on the image on top to find out the current rate). so the instant camera is almost half the cost. But he more important component of the cost is the film that is used for printing the photos.
Film Cost of Instax mini (per 20 sheets) – INR 937
Film cost of HP Sprocket instant printer (per 20 sheets) – INR 512
So, the cost of film of HP Sprocket (known as Zink sheets) is definitely lesser. And film is something that is bought repeatedly, after every 20 photos. Based on repeatability and your usage, you can do the math of how much you’ll save in the long term by opting for a phone printer.
Now here’s where things get a little more interesting. What’s easier and better to use amongst the two?
Instax Mini: It’s a polaroid camera, which snaps pictures and prints them real time. There are limited number of films so you can’t waste them. You have to take carefully crafted and thought of pictures on most occasions. And sometimes, just sometimes, if the photo is over exposed, the print is absolutely rendered useless. Now, I know it has it’s own perks of nostalgia, that takes you back to the old school style of film photography. But is it really worth it? Maybe worth the buy if you want a cute prop in your room (Sorry, that’s not me though. For me it’s Utility over cuteness)
HP Sprocket: This is a phone photo printer. Which means you can print any photo right from your phone. The printer connect remotely to the phone through the “HP Sprocket” app. On this app you can select the photo you want to print. Edit the photo, maybe even add a frame or stickers to it, and then print it. Voila. The size and shape of the printed photo is the same as that of the polaroid photos. AND the quality of the print is far superior. The printer does not print using ink. The print is done on Zink sheets that get activated when exposed. So, you don’t have to worry about the printer running out of ink.
Now that I have talked about both the polaroid photo options, tell me, which is going to be your pick? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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