Photography

Polaroid's Socialmatic camera edges closer to production

Polaroid's Socialmatic camera ...
The Polaroid Socialmatic camera is scheduled for release in late 2014/early 2015
The Polaroid Socialmatic camera is scheduled for release in late 2014/early 2015
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Framing a photo using the camera's 4.5-inch touchscreen display (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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Framing a photo using the camera's 4.5-inch touchscreen display (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
To the side, the output slot of the camera's Zero Ink printer (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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To the side, the output slot of the camera's Zero Ink printer (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
Out front is a small LCD running something called the Mood Assistant (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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Out front is a small LCD running something called the Mood Assistant (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
The Socialmatic has dimensions of 5.19 x 5.18 x 1.18 in and weighs 1.25 lb, including the battery (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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The Socialmatic has dimensions of 5.19 x 5.18 x 1.18 in and weighs 1.25 lb, including the battery (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
The Socialmatic's Zero Ink printing system (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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The Socialmatic's Zero Ink printing system (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
There's a 2 MP camera to the rear, and a 14 MP front camera with LED flash and fixed Polaroid lens (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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There's a 2 MP camera to the rear, and a 14 MP front camera with LED flash and fixed Polaroid lens (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
Integrated Wi-Fi caters for sharing on social media networks or photo sharing sites like Facebook and, of course, Instagram (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
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Integrated Wi-Fi caters for sharing on social media networks or photo sharing sites like Facebook and, of course, Instagram (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
The Polaroid Socialmatic camera is scheduled for release in late 2014/early 2015
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The Polaroid Socialmatic camera is scheduled for release in late 2014/early 2015
The Socialmatic features a built-in Zero Ink printer to print out the captured image in business card-sized, sticker-backed photos
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The Socialmatic features a built-in Zero Ink printer to print out the captured image in business card-sized, sticker-backed photos
View gallery - 9 images

ADR Studio first revealed the Socialmatic concept design back in 2012. A year later Polaroid announced that the chunky photo sharing and printing camera would hit stores by the close of 2014. When Gizmag visited the company's booth at Photokina, that shipping target looks to have been refined again, with a possible "in time for the holidays" window being replaced by a probable Q1 2015 release.

Though you kind of get an idea of the size of the black or white Socialmatic from the pre-release photos, it's not until you get up close that its dimensions really hit you. A small "pocket" camera this is not. It reminded me of a collapsed SX-70, but with a square front/back. And at 1.25 lb (0.57 kg) including the battery (which promises 12 hours of use between charges), it's quite a weighty beast.

The overall size has much to do with enabling Polaroid to include a 4.5-inch touchscreen display that allows users to frame up shots and access the smart camera's functions and Android apps. Above the display is a 2 MP camera, and there's a 14 MP front camera with LED flash and fixed Polaroid lens.

Also out front is a small LCD running something called the Mood Assistant. This produces emoticon-like images which change according to what's happening – such as a smily face when you're taking a photo, a printer icon when the camera is throwing out prints and a shining sun that encourages users to get out and shoot more.

The Socialmatic's Zero Ink printing system (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)
The Socialmatic's Zero Ink printing system (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

The Socialmatic features a built-in Zero Ink printer to print out the captured image on business card-sized, sticker-backed keepsafes in under a minute without needing to worry about buying ink cartridges.

Captured images can be customized with text, icons and clip art without the need for external editing, and integrated Wi-Fi caters for sharing on social media networks or photo sharing sites like Facebook and, of course, Instagram. If there's no hotspot nearby, users can connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth and share images using a mobile connection. There's 4 GB of internal memory with microSD expansion, and stereo speakers.

When the Socialmatic camera finally gets released, it will cost US$299.

Source: Socialmatic

View gallery - 9 images
6 comments
6 comments
BigGoofyGuy
Personally, with all that it does, I think it would be worth the cost. I agree in that it is no 'pocket camera' but it does so much more than a pocket camera. I think it is a neat camera, IMO.
Alien
Assuming it's quite quick in producing the prints, this will be a winner. Also it will be important print colours do not fade/degrade.
I can imagine commercial applications, for example where a customer is presented with an 'instant keepsake'. Looking forward to seeing it in the market.
Gadgeteer
Ironically, I think this slab-like design is more reminiscent of the Kodak instant cameras that Polaroid sued out of business rather than the wedge-like cameras that Polaroid was famed for.
garyO
Just need to build in a phone......then it's a winner !
Gregg Eshelman
There's quite a history between Kodak and Polaroid on instant photography.
Originally, Kodak made instant film for Polaroid but Polaroid eventually switched to making their own circa 1969.
Kodak developed their own process that was simpler, cheaper and produced higher resolution images, introducing their cameras in 1976.
Polaroid sued and the case dragged on to 1985 when it was decided against Kodak.
Film for Polaroid cameras is available from The Impossible Project, which obtained equipment from a closed Polaroid factory in Europe. They didn't get the chemical formulas and other information so they had to reverse engineer and develop a lot of it from scratch. Their SX70 packs only have 8 shots VS the original 10 due to not yet being able to make the film as thin.
I always figured having the battery (6 volt Polaroid Polapulse) in the film pack was wasteful because they had way more than enough capacity to run the motor for 10 shots.
TIP has made noises about making a new camera. I figure they should have it capable of using film packs with or without a battery so that 10 shot ones could be made with their current film and 10+battery or perhaps 12 shot without if they can make the film as thin as the original.
Wayne Kinder
I love Polaroid and Zink, and have/have owned lots of their products such as the PoGo, PoGo2 Camera, GL10, etc so I was really looking forward to this BUT I am put off by what I believe to be a 'fixed focus lens'. I was hoping it would have auto focus. If it did, I would have definitely bought one but until it comes out I'll just have to wait for reviews.