Picture(s) a Day: Feb 18

A purple plastic camera with a toy-like appearance and 3 grayscale thermal prints from it laid out in the foreground

It’s been a blah, rainy day again. :sigh: But, another cheap toy I bought thanks to a Mastodon recommendation post came in the mail today, so it is today’s subject.

I won’t tell you the specific brand, as there are multiple versions sold by multiple nonsensically-named sellers on Amazon. There’s even one that has a 3D unicorn molded piece on the front of it (I almost bought it but decided on the purple Polaroid-looking one). Just search Amazon or the internet for a thermal printer “instant camera” and you’ll find some.

As you may have guessed, it’s a camera with a built-in thermal printer that makes it an “instant camera”. This one is even shaped like a Polaroid OneStep. The camera is fairly cheap, ~$40, which includes 3 rolls of thermal paper. As you can imagine, the camera quality is pretty cruddy. When you use it and pan the camera around, the feed on the LCD on the back has noticeable rolling shutter/jelly effects. And the actual pictures (12 MP’s worth) it takes are quite bad:

But! They are probably good candidates for the Shitty Camera Challenge, no?

In reality, I’m not going to be looking at the digital originals, but the thermal prints.

Grayscale thermal print of a cat sitting on a blanket on a couch with a visible printing error down the middle of the image, somewhat obscuring the cat's face
Grayscale thermal printed image of 2 cats sitting on a blanket on a couch
Grayscale thermal printed image of a cat, horizontally mirrored in a "special effect" shot

Don’t they look fun? I never had a Game Boy Camera or the printer that you could use with it, so this is like the next best thing.

The first picture got printed over the spot where the end of the thermal paper roll was glued to keep it rolled up, and my gut reaction to the print was, “oof, that is such a bad print”, but then I realized it’s like 35mm film glitches. 😆

I also discovered the different camera modes and frames as I was trying to figure out how to reprint the first picture, which led me to the mirror and kaleidoscope modes, which I definitely am going to play with more.

I think $40 is a bit much for what you get here, but I will probably play around with this camera enough to get at least $40’s worth of fun out of it, so ultimately it’s fine. 🤷‍♀️