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Are Polaroid Cameras Still Worth it in New Zealand?

While digital photography has taken over in the 21st century, interest in vintage Polaroid cameras remains strong among nostalgic Kiwis and hipster photographers. But in this digital age, is using an analog Polaroid still a good choice? Polaroid cameras evoke nostalgia but come with challenges in today’s digital world. Let’s weigh the drawbacks against the benefits to see if they’re still a viable option for Kiwi photographers:

Drawbacks:

  • Limited film availability – With local production gone, importing film can be difficult. Selection is reduced.
  • High per-photo costs – Each shot comes at a premium price compared to mainstream digital. Adds up over time.
  • Lower image quality – Expect characteristic Polaroids ‘look’ over sharp resolution. Not ideal for critical portraits.
  • Quirks of analog – Variables like light leaks, dust, and temperature make shots less predictable than digital.

Benefits:

  • Nostalgia factor – There’s nothing quite like the tangible, retro experience of an instant print.
  • Immediacy – No waiting days for developments. Perfect for capturing candid moments.
  • Artistic expression – Unusual mediums like Lipstick or Double X panchromatic film unlock creativity.
  • Social media friendly – Vintage vibes pair well with the platform valuing authentic, lo-fi aesthetics.
  • Souvenirs – Travellers enjoy bringing back tangible Polaroid snaps as unique keepsakes.
Polaroid cameras

In summary, Polaroid cameras require more effort and money than shooting digital, but they provide a genuine experience that digital cannot replace. They remain a valid artistic choice for New Zealand photographers seeking something special and different if used judiciously. Just don’t expect them to be a practical everyday camera.

READ MORE: Top 5 disposable cameras to use in New Zealand

 5 potential FAQs about using Polaroid cameras in New Zealand:

  1. Q: How do I get my hands on Polaroid film in New Zealand?
    A: While local production is gone, you can still find basic color film in some camera stores. Otherwise, check online retailers that import film from abroad like Urban Outfitters or The Impossible Project.
  2. Q: What camera should I buy?
    A: Vintage models like the SX-70 or OneStep are fun options—alternatively, the new Polaroid Snap prints credit card-sized shots. Consider your budget and desired photo size. I’m always happy to offer camera recommendations!
  3. Q: Can Polaroids go digital somehow?
    A: Yes – you can scan Polaroids to preserve them online. Some models also allow Bluetooth scanning to your phone. Some services will digitize your vintage prints. Just be gentle handling the originals!
  4. Q: How do I store Polaroids long-term?
    A: Keep prints in dark, dry areas like albums or archival sleeves. Avoid heat, light, and humidity which can cause fading over decades. You can also laminate prints to protect the surfaces. Proper storage helps maximize their lifespan.
  5. Q: Is it true Polaroids are more expensive per photo?
    A: Absolutely. A single shot costs $2-3 NZD on average versus just pennies for digital. Polaroid is an investment best used judiciously for special events, not as an everyday camera. Manage your budget and you can still have fun with the format.

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