July 28th, 2011
Polaroid has had its troubles moving into the digital age, and ownership by local Twin Cities fraudster Tom Petters. I had pretty much given them up for lost and then I heard about a small, portable printer they were developing, the GL10. Small enough to carry with you, battery powered, inkless, and what really caught my eye: built to print wirelessly from your cell phone via Bluetooth. It’s nice to show pictures on your iPhone, but to be able to print off a copy and hand it to someone, in the moment, that seemed, well, almost Polaroid. Lady Gaga endorsing it? Who cares. Chase Jarvis endorsing it? Now that’s news.
At $169.00 it’s not cheap, but that does not seem an exorbitant price for a cool, portable printer. The cost (and I assume profit) is in the paper (as it: razors to sell razor blades; inkjet printers to sell ink). The paper is far from cheap, a 30 Pack of Zink 3×4 paper is running about $20 on Amazon. When you figure you don’t have to buy ink, perhaps it’s not that expensive. Inkjet ink is way more expensive than the best Russian caviar, and doesn’t taste nearly as good! Yikes, ink is expensive!
But heck, has photography ever been about saving money? Not any more than the vintage car folks are about getting value from their ’57 Chevies. So then the next question is, while portability is great, what about the quality of the images? Well, here’s my first take in a totally non-friendly environment for the Canon S95 I had in hand. I’ll say right off, this is not the color reproduction I was expecting from the photo. That said, I like what came out though I’m not liking the surprise of something other than what I was expecting, that is, planning.
I’ll be interested to hear what others say about color reproduction and I need to experiment more. While this was not quite what I shot, I think what came out was pleasing. It was, granted, a low light, strange contrast situation. I need to experiment in more normal light. My first impression, though, is that I think this printer has a lot to offer from an artistic sense, though it might take a bit of work to wrangle this beast into submission.
Now, if Apple would just publish the API for Bluetooth printing on the iPhone….