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Polaroid Cameras Snapping Back Into Fashion

The Fujifilm Instax Mini camera series combines stylishness with the instant print feature of old Polaroid cameras.

(Photo: hsyncoban / iStock / Thinkstock)

Millennials are infamously known as the instant gratification generation. Could that be why Polaroid-type cameras have made a resurgence?

In November 2012, Fujifilm released the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, a funky, chunky camera with a vintage selling point: It prints photos instantly, much like a classic Polaroid camera. And, just as instantly, it was on every teenager’s Christmas list.

The camera’s cute shape and fun pastel colors – a far cry from the sleek, minimalistic design of digital cameras – made it mainly an aesthetic choice. But while its hipster vibe made it popular with young people, it was the instant-print feature that stuck.

In 2016, Polaroid released the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Digital Camera, a hybrid of vintage Polaroid and modern digital camera. It instantly prints photos using ZINK, or Zero Ink, technology. Its other features include an LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth capability and a “selfie mirror,” whatever that is.

HP used the same ZINK technology to create the HP Sprocket, a printer that connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth to print photos from your camera roll or social media accounts. The printer doesn’t require an ink cartridge – only special ZINK paper you can find wherever HP Sprockets are sold.

The printer is so small, it fits in the palm of your hand. It prints 2-by-3 snapshots with a sticky back, so there are a number of ways you can use them. You can place them in a scrapbook or journal, hang them with clothespins from a string of lights or pass them out to friends to share your favorite memories.

Coming soon from HP is a Sprocket Plus, which will print bigger photos, and a Sprocket 2-in-1, which doubles as a camera and printer much like the Polaroid Snap Touch.

What do these products have in common?

They allow you to remember a time when cameras could instantly print photos without extra time or hassle; a time when you could literally hold on to your memories. They’ve just updated the technology (and design) for the modern social scene.

Or, you could always buy a refurbished vintage Polaroid from Urban Outfitters for about the same price as an HP Sprocket. Maybe that will next be on your teenager’s wish list.

Find more examples of old trends in the new age here.

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