Kodak Step Instant Camera: Polaroid originally controlled the instant camera market, which is now dominated by Fujifilm’s Instax, but Kodak, a longtime competitor, also has a product to offer.
The Kodak Step camera doesn’t use real film, in contrast to Instax. Rather, it is a straightforward digital camera that prints on Zink sheets, an inkless printing method that yields small, sticky-backed prints.
Build and design
- simple plastic construction
- available in black or white
- Magnetized lens cap
One of the Step’s main advantages is that it is a straightforward, little camera. This camera is smaller than almost any other Instax camera available because to the option to print on Zink, making it incredibly portable.
You only have the option of white or black for the matt plastic construction, unlike the identical Step printer, which offers a variety of colours.
There are a few straightforward buttons. Next to the shutter, the power button also serves as an optional timer. A white photo frame toggle switch and a button to choose between full colour, sepia, or monochrome are both located on the left side of the screen.
Additional improvements include the option to secure the camera with a wrist strap and even a tripod screw attachment on the bottom, though I doubt many would utilise that.
The pop-up flash, which emerges from the body of the camera when you switch it on, is a nice touch. Conveniently, depressing this again will turn the Step off once more.
The magnetic lens cover, which clicks on and off with gratifying power, is even better, albeit younger users run the danger of losing this one piece. The camera is clever enough to prevent you from taking pictures when the lens cover is on, which prevents you from wasting prints on nothing but black.
- Options include colour, sepia, and monochrome
- tiny prints
- Variable exposure
As previously established, the Step allows you to print photos in full colour, washed-out sepia, or black and white. As a reference to the traditional Polaroid style, you now have the choice of adding a white frame around images.
Although there are more possibilities, the print quality is still poor. This is more of a Zink issue than a Kodak Step issue, and the prints seen here have well-known issues with colour banding and low resolution, which are made worse by how little detail there is in each image.
One issue that is particularly unique to this camera is that it has trouble with exposure; as a result, any brilliant lights or patches of sky frequently appear in prints as sheets of white while all the details are lost in areas of shadow.
It’s also important to remember that the flash is automated and completely uncontrollable. You cannot select to activate it at other times or disable it when you like; it will only activate when situations are sufficiently dark.
At least the printing process is speedy; unlike Instax photographs, you don’t have to wait as long for the images to fully develop. Film loading takes less than a minute and is also a breeze.
- 40 prints for each fee
- Over Micro-USB Charges
According to Kodak, the Step camera can shoot 40 total pictures on a full charge, or four complete packs of Zink prints.
I haven’t really taken that many pictures, but I haven’t seen the camera’s battery go any faster. But, battery may discharge when in standby as well, so if you go a long period between usage, you might discover that it need a short charge to resume operation.
Pricing and accessibility
You can get the Kodak Step camera right now for $70, £70, or €80.
You won’t receive prints with it; you’ll just get the camera itself. In the US, they normally cost $25 for 50 prints, whereas in Europe, a bundle of 20 costs £17 or €15. Even though it may seem like a lot, Instax is still less expensive per sheet.
This implies that over time, it will be a little less expensive overall than the Instax Mini 11, even though we generally prefer the photos taken with that camera.
The Polaroid Snap, a very similar Zink camera with Polaroid branding and a somewhat higher price, is more expensive than the Kodak Step.
For more options, see our rating of the top instant cameras.