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Polaroid Z340 Digital Review

Polaroid Z340 Digital Review - The Polaroid Z340 prints Polaroid size photos straight from the 14 megapixel digital camera. Find out how this retro styled camera performs in our review.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Polaroid Z340
Price : £50
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Polaroid Z340 (2)


The digital re-invention of the Polaroid camera lets you take unlimited photos and print as many photos as you want onto 4x3 inch Zink paper.

Words like nostalgia, retro, 'shake it like a Polaroid picture' spring to mind with this Polaroid Z340 camera designed to resemble the Polaroid Spectra, and while you can shake the prints from the camera, there's no need as they come out dry.

Polaroid Z340 Features

Polaroid Z340 (4)

The Polaroid Z340 is unique in the digital camera market as one of only a very limited number of digital cameras with a built in printer, and like the original Polaroid cameras offers the ability to instantly print photos. With a 14 megapixel camera, built in flash, and SD memory card slot you can use the camera and take as many photos as you want for sharing on the web and choose which to print, unlike the original Polaroid where every photo is printed. The camera comes with a number of digital filters and colour effects as well as different shooting modes. Photos are printed on 3x4 inch Zink paper, which is a "Zero ink" system, meaning that there are no ink cartridges in the camera / printer that need changing, instead it is stored in the paper, much like Polaroid paper, and the Zink prints come out of the camera dry.

Polaroid Z340 (3)

Key Features

  • 14 megapixel CCD sensor
  • AF lens, 43mm equivalent
  • 2.7inch Tilting screen
  • HD 16:9 720p video
  • ISO100 - 6400
  • 10cm Macro mode
  • Prints 3 x 4 inch full-colour prints, Smudge-proof, water-resistant, tear-resistant
  • Lithium-Ion battery

Polaroid Z340 Handling

Polaroid Z340 (5)

Handling - The Polaroid Z340 is a chunky digital camera, and with a built in printer is much larger than other digital cameras. It can feel a little awkward to hold at times, although the tilting screen can help. The tilting flip up screen lifts up to face you, and will click loudly when in the fully upright position. The front surround has a slight blue tint and is made out of metal, the front has a stylish black plastic design, and the main body of the camera features a "soft-touch" finish over the plastic body. The camera size makes it difficult to put in your pocket, unless you have large jacket or coat pockets. The large hand strap helps you keep hold of the camera, and can be mounted on the side or the rear.

Polaroid Z340 Zink Printing

Printing - Printing speed isn't the quickest, and takes just under a minute, with the print being dry straight away. Using Zink paper, you don't need to worry about ink cartridges, as the ink is stored in the paper, and becomes active when it goes through the Polaroid Zink printer in the Z340. The classic Polaroid border can be switched on or off, and there are a number of other more colourful borders available. When using the Polaroid border, the image is cropped quite heavily.
Polaroid Z340 (6)

Menus – The camera has a number of shooting modes which you can scroll through after pressing the function button, these are: Auto, P, intelligent scene, portrait, landscape, sunset, backlight, kids, night scene, lomo, fireworks, snow, sports, party, candlelight, night portrait, soft skin, flowing water, food, building, text, foliage, smile capture, blink detection, pre-composition, love portrait, self portrait, d-lighting, fisheye lens, and voice record. The function button also lets you change settings more quickly. A number of focus modes are available: Auto, Macro, Pan-Focus, Infinite. Options for sharpness / contrast / saturation are available, including manual white balance. The camera also features auto exposure bracketing.

Polaroid Z340 (8)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at up to 25 prints per charge and unknown shots according to Polaroid / CIPA test results, we were able to take over 480 shots as well as making around 5-6 prints before the battery went flat.

Polaroid Z340 (7)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Polaroid Z340 Sony RX100
Shutter Response 0.075 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.75 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response N/A 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 4.5 2.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 3.3 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.6 2.1
Continuous Shooting
(shots before slow down)
3 seconds 7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A 1.6s

Continuous shooting is slow, shooting 1 shot every 3 seconds, and the "speedy-burst" mode shoots at roughly 32fps at VGA resolution and takes around 30 photos. Focus is quite slow considering it's a fixed focal length lens, although shutter response is reasonable at 0.075 seconds.

Polaroid Z340 (9)

Polaroid Z340 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Polaroid Z340 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Photos show reasonable colour and detail is good, with photos looking decent when viewed on the web, although when viewed full size they don't look as good.

Polaroid Z340 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Exposure is generally reasonable, although at times the camera struggles with limited dynamic range. Closest focus for macro shots is 10cm, although in practise it's possible to get slightly closer allowing a reasonable macro photo. Detail was better than expected, however purple fringing is noticeable, as well as slight vignetting and the lens is particularly prone to suffer from lens flare if the sun or other bright objects are in the frame or just outside of the frame.

Polaroid Z340 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is visible in ISO100 shots although detail is good. At ISO200 noise increases slightly, but detail remains good. At ISO400 noise is visible and there is a slight drop in colour saturation. At ISO800 the white balance struggles, and there is ghosting near bright areas of the image and detail suffers. At ISO1600 noise is excessive and detail is greatly reduced as the image appears overly soft. At ISO3200 and ISO6400 images resolution is reduced to 3 megapixels and white balance returns to normal.

Polaroid Z340 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting, with the tungsten preset performing well. The camera gives similar results under fluorescent lighting whether using AWB or the first fluorescent preset, with the last fluorescent preset giving a yellow colour cast.
Polaroid Z340 Prints
Polaroid Z340 Print Examples

Polaroid Z340 Digital filters


Digital Filters - The camera doesn't feature a panoramic mode. As well as different shooting modes such as Lomo and Fish-eye, there are a number of colour options available, including: Vintage colour 1, Vintage B&W 1, Vintage Colour 2, Vintage B&W 2, Sepia, Negative B&W. Radial blur can be added in playback.

Video - Video is recorded at 720p, at 30fps with mono sound. As with photos, the camera is sensitive to lens flare, with bright pink bands appearing if bright subjects are in the frame when recording.


Value For Money

The Polaroid Z340 is available for around £187 with the 3x4 paper available for £13.99 for a pack of 30, which is certainly cheaper than real Polaroid (Impossible Project) film packs of 8.

There is very little to compare the Polaroid Z340 to, with the only other camera with printer built in being from Polaroid, the Polaroid Z2300 available for £149, which prints smaller 2x3inch Zink prints.

Alternatively you can buy a Polaroid GL10 printer for £99 that will print 3x4 inch prints from any camera or smartphone, or a Canon Selphy CP900 for around £90 that will print 6x4 inch prints.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Polaroid Z340 Verdict

The Polaroid Z340 is certainly unique with a retro design and a bulky body it offers one of the only digital cameras with a built in printer that prints 3x4 inch photos. This has a number of downsides, including the bulky nature of the camera, and lack of optical zoom. Image quality isn't the best, and a number of other budget digital cameras are likely to provide better photos as well as optical zoom, such as the Panasonic Lumix SZ1 at £99. With this in mind, the price of the unit is a little high as you can buy the Polaroid GL10 printer on it's own for £99, or an alternative portable printer for £90.

If you really need a camera with a built in printer, then this is one of the only options available, although we'd recommend a separate camera and printer would do a much better job. Perhaps if the next model featured a better, larger screen, as well as improved camera with optical zoom then it would be a much better all in one unit. But until then, the appeal of the Polaroid Z340 is quite limited.
 

Polaroid Z340 Pros

Great for parties
Retro design
Print straight from the camera
Better than expected detail in photos
Good battery life when just shooting

Polaroid Z340 Cons

Lacks panoramic mode
Lacks optical zoom
Bulky, difficult to put in your pocket
Lens not very wide
Image colour problems above ISO400
Slow prints
Slow focus

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Polaroid Z340 Specifications

Lens
Max Aperturef/3.25
35mm equivalent43mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels14Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4320
Pixels (H)3240
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor SizeNo Data
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolutionNo Data
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Manual
  • Auto
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1280x720 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMINo Data
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Polymer Rechargeable Battery Pack
CIPA RatingNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsInstant Digital Camera, 10 sheets ZINK Photo Paper, Rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC adapter/charger, USB cable, Hand strap
Dimensions
Weight620g
Width127.5mm
Height65mm
Depth155mm

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