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Polaroid Goes Retro With Z340 Instant Digital Camera

If Polaroid's new Z340 Instant Digital Camera looks like something you've seen before, you're showing your age. The new 14-megapixel digital camera with a built-in digital photo printer (which can generate dry prints in 45 seconds) was crafted to resemble the popular Polaroid Spectra cameras of the 1980s.

The $300 unit does more than just make 3-by-4-inch prints on demand; you can also edit and frame the images before printing, or you can shut the printer off and use it as a standard digital camera. You can use a "classic" Polaroid white border to generate prints that look like the old-style Polaroid prints, or crop the image and use of the more colorful frames in the camera's built-in library.

The one-pound, seven-ounce unit was launched Tuesday at the New York Press Preview for the 2012 International CES, which takes place in Las Vegas this coming January.

The Z340 has a fold-down 2.7-inch display and an SD Card slot, and it can print up to 25 images and capture up to 75 images on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery.

The heat-activated color printing process uses Zero Ink Printing Technology from Zink Imaging Inc. Cyan, yellow and magenta crystals inside the Zink printing paper are clear until heated by the photo process to create the images. The Polaroid Zink paper costs about $20 for a 30-sheet pack.

The Z340 Instant Digital Camera is available now from the Polaroid website, B&H, Adorama and Amazon.

Robert S. Anthony is a New York-based technology journalist. He writes a tech blog called The Paper PC.

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