In this digital world, where every single photo becomes just a number on your camera roll, having Polaroids is a physical reminder of memories, feelings, places, and loved ones. I enjoy taking pictures with my iPhone and also using an instant camera. However, it becomes challenging when I want someone else to capture a photo of me with an instant camera. Most people are unfamiliar with how to use them, and let’s face it, they can be quite bulky. Not to mention the hassle of traveling with film and dealing with airport or museum security x-rays. That’s precisely why the Polaroid Lab caught my attention.
The Polaroid Lab is a tool that transforms the traditional approach to instant photography by converting digital photos from the iPhone to analog film. The process to do it is very simple, and that’s why I decided to give it a chance. In this review, I’ll share my experience with the Polaroid Lab and compare it to traditional instant cameras.
When you open the box, you’ll find the Polaroid Lab and a USB-A charger. However, note that the charger uses a port that is not up to the current tech standard. That’s all that’s included in the box. Also, note that you’ll need to purchase the film separately. The Polaroid I-type and 600 film are compatible with the Polaroid Lab. I opted for a 5-pack which cost me $70, making it approximately $1.75 per Polaroid. While this may be pricier than other instant films, it’s worth considering that the original Polaroid film is larger.
The first step to start printing your Polaroids is to download the Polaroid app, which is available for both iOS and Android. After that, turn on the device and select the Polaroid Lab option within the app. Choose the type of film you want to use, such as Color, B&W, or Blue. Then, select the specific photo you want to print.
To ensure a good print, there are a few important steps to follow. First, turn off the True Tone feature and automatic brightness adjustment. Next, set the screen brightness to 100%. It’s recommended to put your phone on airplane mode to prevent any notifications or calls from interrupting the printing process. One of the unique features of the Lab is that it captures a photo of your screen, resulting in a different image every time, even if it’s the same picture.
Before placing your phone facedown on the Polaroid Lab, be sure to remove any phone cases. Once your phone is aligned correctly, you will hear a sound indicating the alignment is correct. Finally, click the red button on the Lab to print the photo.
Here are some results of photos I took on my phone and printed them, the results are the vintage colors only Polaroid film can give.
What I liked the most about the Polaroid Lab is that it is not difficult to use, unlike some other Polaroid cameras. You take the photo on your phone first, so there are no issues with movement or lighting. Since you don’t have to carry the Polaroid Lab everywhere, you can store your sealed film in the fridge and have better quality prints, so the film is not affected by outside temperatures. Polaroid recommends storing it sealed and flat inside a fridge at a constant temperature between 4 – 18°C / 41 – 65°F to avoid freezing. Also, to be honest, having a Polaroid camera while traveling can be very bulky and heavy, so it is more convenient to take the photos on your phone first and then print them at home. Another thing that I love is that you can print the same image as many times as you want and give them to your friends or family. Additionally, you can use the app to add AR videos or images to your Polaroids.
I know everything may sound great, but there are some disadvantages to the Polaroid Lab. Sometimes it can be inaccurate, and you need to find a good exposure on the app. Personally, I use +1/3 and 38 for saturation, but you can adjust them to your liking. Also, I prefer a cold tint rather than an overly warm one, so make sure you edit them before printing the Polaroid.
If you want to create instant photographs without the hassle of using a portable camera, the Polaroid Lab is the perfect device. I believe it is the best option due to its unique vintage film. I have tried other options, but nothing compares to the Polaroid experience.
You can purchase a Polaroid Lab on Amazon, starting at $99. Let me know in the comments what you think about it.