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August 27, 2013 2:36 PM   Subscribe

At our wedding, we'd like to have an instant camera next to the guestbook so that people may take pictures of themselves -- not 5x7s but not teensy stickers either -- and leave them in the book. We're probably never going to use this camera again, so it doesn't have to be anything fancy, just functional and sturdy. Anyone have any model recommendations?
posted by griphus to Technology (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Like actual "polaroid" kind of instant camera? I think your main option is the Fuji Instax. I have one, and they're fun to use. I used it at my own wedding and had a great time. The flash is underpowered, so you really have to be pretty close to the subject.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:41 PM on August 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seconding the Fuji Instax. The prints are smallish but very sharp, and it's a fun, appealing design. I was just at a wedding that had a couple units that got passed around among guests at the reception, and it seemed to be a huge hit.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:45 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could always pick up pretty much any old polaroid at a thrift store and then buy film at the impossible project. Last time i checked instax cameras were like $60+. For that much you could get a thrift shop $5 polaroid and quite a bit of film.

You'll also feel less bad about not spending $60 on a camera you'll, as you said, probably never use again.
posted by emptythought at 2:48 PM on August 27, 2013


Yeah, the Fuji Instax (either wide or mini) is the main option. I've used both formats and it's pretty easy to use. The wide one is kind of humorously big, compared to today's standard compact cameras.

It looks like Polaroid has something similar to Instax, the Polaroid 300. Polaroid also makes a digital instant camera, which is basically a combo digital camera and printer.

The only other option would be to buy a vintage Polaroid and the Impossible project film, but it's super expensive (about $3 per image)
posted by wsquared at 2:49 PM on August 27, 2013


I actually have a ca. 1989 Polaroid, but all the photos it ever took are dull-colored and blurry and many have faded. I'm not really knowledgeable about cameras, but does that new film fix any of that?
posted by griphus at 3:03 PM on August 27, 2013


The Impossible Project film is really fantastic and lovely and artsy, but it's also very expensive - $3 a shot, vs $1 or less if you buy Instax film in bulk. Plus, while the old Polaroid cameras are pretty solid, I'd rather have my guests mucking around with a brand-new Instax than a secondhand Polaroid that might finally decide to die after decades of hard use.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:03 PM on August 27, 2013


I actually have a ca. 1989 Polaroid, but all the photos it ever took are dull-colored and blurry and many have faded. I'm not really knowledgeable about cameras, but does that new film fix any of that?

the Impossible Project's film is absolutely mind-blowingly awesome from an engineering perspective, and incredibly cool from an art perspective - but it is weirdly saturated and touchy and kind of unpredictable and, yeah, it does often fade. Their newer films are better about it, but even so... I'm a huge fan, and I love the look, but if your goal is to have tons of guests take tons of casual photos that you'll archive for years and years to come, I cannot recommend you go IP over Instax - and, frankly, even if you wanted to spend the money, I'd advise you to get both, in case the IP shots end up not lasting for years and years.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:06 PM on August 27, 2013


Get a PictBridge or ImageLink or some-new-standard camera and cable it to a cheap photo printer. Or rent a nice photo printer, since the ink is cheaper and you only need it for a few days. (testing too!)

Or, get an Eye-Fi or PQI Air Card for your existing camera, and run a script that prints every photo as it arrives on the target laptop. Wireless, but adds ~10 sec of delay.

You local geek can set this up. :)

Bonus: You get digital originals which are easier to archive than the hard-copy.
posted by Myself at 3:36 PM on August 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, double-bonus: It's then also point-and-drool simple to share the resulting photos online, potentially in real-time, in case folks who can't make the ceremony want to see who's signing the guest book.

(Then once the guests are done arriving, hand the camera to a kid and say "take pictures of anything you find interesting, but take at least one picture every 90 seconds", and see what shows up on the feed.)
posted by Myself at 3:38 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


that polaroid digital camera looks FUN...also...lookee HERE... It doesn't make the least bit of sense, but the 10-packs are much cheaper than the bulk packs of the paper... only 30 cents a shot.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:46 PM on August 27, 2013


The Instax comes in a wide and a mini format and both are awesome. I've seen the wide used a bunch at weddings and it is loads of fun. In fact if you have friends who have gotten married in the last couple of years there's a pretty good chance one of them has an Instax kicking around from THEIR wedding.

I know you said you probably won't use it again but the Instax is great fun at any party.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:30 PM on August 27, 2013


Or rent a nice photo printer, since the ink is cheaper and you only need it for a few days. (testing too!)

I like this idea. Who can I rent that from? Like, I am not sure how or where one rents a photo printer.
posted by griphus at 4:40 PM on August 27, 2013


I just did this at my wedding with the Polaroid Z2300 camera. It's basically a mediocre digital camera and photo printer smooshed into one. It's not the best camera by any means, but it was certainly good enough to get cute photos of our guests to have stuck in the guest book. It prints 2x3" stickers, which were large enough for our purposes. The bonus of the integrated camera/printer is that it was very easy to use, even for guests who weren't technically inclined. I think we actually succeeded in getting every single person to put a photo in the book.

We actually ended up getting two and having one tied to the guest book table and one floating around for people to use. It was a lot of fun to look through all the photos, and I've printed some out since and stuck them to various things.

I highly, highly recommend doing this. Our guest book is a really awesome souvenir that we'll be able to look back on for years to come and see what all our friends and family looked like on the day of our wedding. We put out a big jar of colored pens, too, and asked everyone to take up a full page. It worked out great -- we got drawings and cheesy advice.

If you feel weird about getting a camera you'll only use for this one day, think about whether there are any kids in your life who would enjoy being able to take and print photos. We're planning to gift both of the cameras we got to younger family members (10 and 13) who are really excited about getting them.

If you want to see what the prints ended up looking like, MeMail me and I can print a few out and stick them in the mail to you.
posted by duien at 4:54 PM on August 27, 2013


Or rent a nice photo printer, since the ink is cheaper and you only need it for a few days. (testing too!)

I like this idea. Who can I rent that from? Like, I am not sure how or where one rents a photo printer.


Start by asking your wedding photographer! It's likely that they not only own a suitable printer already, but they probably buy the paper in bulk, and know (or have a techie friend who knows) all the necessary technical details.

Failing that, look for office equipment rental outfits. The sort of place you can go for a projector or wireless mic rig.

If you're feeling scummy, you could always abuse the return policy of a retail outfit you dislike. Mentioning for completeness only!

And in all honesty, it doesn't need to be a "nice" photo printer; even the cheapies produce surprisingly good output, and after all, we're comparing to Polaroid here. It's mostly about consumables cost; the cheapies use small cartridges so you pay more for the ink. If you're only talking a few dozen prints, that might be perfectly appropriate for whatever's on special at compu-mart. DO buy 2 or 3 sets of extra ink and paper, but leave it unopened until you need it.
posted by Myself at 5:33 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where is the wedding being held?
posted by barnone at 9:06 PM on August 27, 2013


An event space in Brooklyn.
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on August 28, 2013


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