For Christmas this year, I wanted to buy my wife something along the lines of an instant camera. When she was a teenager, she used to have a Polaroid camera, which she enjoyed very much. Back in the early 2000's, I bought her a Polaroid Joycam (which was another instant film camera) but soon, just like the original Polaroid instant cameras, they stopped making film for it. Although she enjoys taking photos with her modern digital camera, she's missed the convenience and fun of an instant camera. Too tell you the truth, so have I.

Sure, we can print off our digital camera's photos on our inkjet printer, but it gets expensive and a bit of a hassle at times if you have to do any editing on the PC before printing. We've also gone to several retailers to print photos but again, it's not very convenient.

So, for several weeks before Christmas, I did some research about instant cameras and did discover a couple of options that were available to us. I was surprised to see that Polaroid was still making cameras - although they are not the same "instant film" cameras of the past. But rather, what they are today are mini photo printers with digital cameras built into them.

I did consider buying my wife one of these (even one for myself), but what concerned me about them most was Polaroid's track record of abandoning their products and leaving their customers with no alternatives or support of any kind. I didn't want to buy another one of their cameras only to find out that in six months or a year later, I could no longer get the photo paper required for the "camera" to work.

I did a lot of research of electronic stores around the area and found no-one who sold or supported these new Polaroid cameras. The only retailer I could find for them was Amazon. It wasn't looking good.

What I finally found and chose to buy my wife was the Fujifilm Instax instant camera. If you've never heard of the Fujifilm Instax camera, it's an instant camera that is about the closest you're ever going to see to the old Polaroid cameras, which takes 2" x 3" photos using chemical based instant film, similar to those old Polaroids. This particular Instax that I bought her was the mid-range model, the "mini 50S".

Well, my wife has been enjoying the new camera very much and it didn't take her long to go through the two packages of film I also bought for her for Christmas. The camera does a very nice job of taking pictures as is a lot of fun to use. But, I was still on the hunt for something that we could use to bring a bit more enjoyment tfrom our digitial photography.

While I was researching the new Polaroid cameras, I did come across this little photo printer, made by Canon, called the Selphy. Although it wasn't as portable as one of the new Polaroid camera/printers, it still seemed to be a very easy way to get physcial prints of our photos, without having to spend a lot of money on ink and paper. It also has the capability to connect to any digital camera (that have PictBridge support), mobile device, or PC and print photos from them - basically turning any one of these devices into a Polaroid instant camera (sort of).

Another advantage this printer provides over the new Polaroid printer/cameras is that I can print photos up to 4" x 6" size. To print smaller sizes, the Selphy can be configured to use a large range of photo layouts on the 4" x 6" paper. But, most importantly, several retailers in the area carry the device and it's accessories. So there's a better chance for me to get replacement toner and paper when I need them.

So, with this year's gift cards, which we received as Christmas presents, my wife and I decided to expand our instant photo capabilities and get ourselves one of these little printers. With a hundred dollar price tag, it seemed to be great deal as even the simplest of the Polaroid cameras are priced at one hundred and eighty dollars.

We've used it to print a few photos from our digital camera, a Lenovo tablet, an HTC mobile phone, and from an SD card - all of them coming out really well. This is an excellent little photo printer and I'm sure we'll get a lot of use out of it. Thankfully, my AgfaPhoto camera works really well with the printer, via the PictBridge connection.

Between the Selphy printer and the new Instax camera, for us it looks like instant photography is back!