Get your instant photography back on with the Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera

Carrie Sylvester
Jan 17, 2018

Remember the days of using an instant camera to take pictures of your family or friends and excitedly waiting for the picture to “develop” in front of your eyes? It was cool, right? Well there are some companies out there trying to make instant photography cool again. Enter Eastman Kodak and its licensee C+A Global, who introduced the Printomatic, a point and shoot camera with built-in printer, in September 2017.

About the Printomatic

The Kodak Printomatic is a 10 MP instant print camera that features a built-in printer that prints 2” x 3” photo prints using the proprietary Zink (zero ink) printer and Zink paper. It features a built-in flash, built-in lithium-ion battery, and two picture modes (color, black & white). The camera itself is two-toned and comes in yellow or grey.

The camera has been shipping since late September at a list price of $69.99 and comes with a USB cable, a 10-pack of Kodak Zink Photo Paper and a MicroSD card slot if you want to expand the internal memory. Zink photo paper comes in 20 and 50 packs, and is sold separately for around $10 and $25, respectively.

The Kodak PRINTOMATIC Camera is the first of a full product lineup to be launched in 2017 and continue into 2018

Hands-on

We received an evaluation unit of the PRINTOMATIC and being a kid of the instant-photography era, I jumped at the chance to take it home, take some pictures and see what my kids thought of it. We decided to use it one day during the December school break. My kids have often been test subjects through the years – we think of them as Mom’s focus groups.

The lucky test subject, was my 18 year old daughter, who was home from college. She is a typical young woman. Her phone is nearly attached to her and she is, in my opinion, a pro at selfies and Snapchatting. She may differ a bit from most millennials, of course she likes taking countless selfies or photos with friends, she also loves to print them to decorate her dorm walls and make special gifts to give others using photos.

Her first reactions were fun to watch and some of her insights were spot on as well. After showing her the boxed camera (for the first time) her first reaction was “hey that looks like it would be fun.” We unboxed it together and tried to figure it out from the limited instructions that were printed on a small piece of paper. We figured out that the toggle switch with 3 dots is the picture mode selector that switches between taking color photos or black and white. She took a photo and held the shutter button a little longer because she wasn’t quite sure if the photo snapped. It took a little while to figure out why the print didn’t come right out (Mom-user error loading the paper). The flash seems to be triggered if the shutter button is held down longer and if you don’t want to use the flash just a quick shutter push is needed. The flash photo was not great so we tried again.

I asked her, overall what do you think? (It’s got to be “fun” to grow up with a market researcher parent, it’s like being in a life-long focus group) I tried to capture some of the initial reactions:

  • The (photo) print is too small (2” x 3”), I’d like it more if it was the size of those old Polaroids and as clear as them too
  • Check it out, the back of the photo can be peeled and used as a sticker. Kind of cool but not sure it’s very useful. Maybe little kids would like that, but I might use them in my dorm too.
  • Quality of the picture isn’t as good as those old Polaroids I’ve seen, this looks too grainy.
  • The size of the camera is perfect and easy to hold and put in my bag.
  • The color (camera body) is kind of cool and retro. I’d like a different color than yellow.

Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends Opinion

Keypoint Intelligence’s most recent digital camera end user study showed that there is some interest in instant printing of photos, with 8% of respondents saying they plan to purchase a camera in the near future. These instant print cameras appealed more to younger respondents ( 13-17 year olds) and were least popular amongst older respondents (35-55+ year olds). It is possible that these younger kids are wanting to experience a new way of interacting with their photos and maybe want to take their selfies to the next level or maybe it’s just the retro factor. The Printomatic definitely has a “fun factor” to it but it’s got a way to go before the quality of this camera and resulting Zink prints will generate a spike in sales. It is a nice, low(ish) priced product and right now we see the Printomatic as a niche product that will likely find some popularity amongst the younger millennials initially. Hopefully the company will bring some necessary quality improvements, especially in output quality, as they have announced plans to launch a more robust line of instant photo products in the coming year. Just how many products and what they will be remains to be seen.

Contact Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends with questions or to learn more about our ongoing research about the traditional and instant camera market.

 

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