Everyone who has photographed with a Polaroid or an Instax camera before knows how much fun instant photography can be. Gazing in amazement at the small prints, just a few moments after you’ve tipped the shutter release button, can put a big smile on your face. At least if you’ve tried instant photography out over a longer period of time. Beginners find it hard to believe how simple the process is and how fast the photos take shape before one’s very eyes. Because it looks like magic, hardly anyone manages not to look in amazement at their first instant photographs, after taking them. However, if you run a search on Google regarding instant film prices, you inevitably realise that at €2 and more per photo magic seems to be quite expensive in the high tech era.
In order to make instant photography affordable again, Michael Ciuffo invented the PrintSnap instant camera, which instead of instant film uses considerably cheaper thermal paper. Watch the following video for a first look at the PrintSnap.
IMO the greatest fault of the camera is the thermal paper itself. Even though it’s around 1000 times less expensive than instant film, it has two major downsides. Firstly, as the name already suggests, it is very temperature and light sensitive. Cheap thermal papers fade either way after only a few weeks. More expensive varieties age considerably slower, but have to be kept away from direct sunlight and at constant temperature and humidity levels of 20 °C and 50 % respectively. Secondly, most thermal papers contain hazardous substances, like Bisphenol A.
Those of you who would like to learn more about the technical aspects of the camera and its development, should read this blogpost.