Tech and MakerSpace Review: Instax Wide Instant Photo Printer
I have long been an advocate of libraries having a photo printer, especially if they have a MakerSpace. Don’t get me wrong, I think a photo printer goes far beyond just being useful if you have a MakerSpace, because they are great for displays, promotion and more. There are a lot of photo printer options out there and I have tried almost all of them – what can I say, I have issues – and today I’m here to talk to you about the new Instax Wide printer.
Regular readers know that I have long been obsessed with instant photography and have talked frequently about the fun ways you can use it in your libraries (some links below). But if you want the look and feel of instant photography without the unpredictability of the instant camera, you can try instant photo printers. Instant photo printers print photos from your smart device onto instant film. There are Instax Mini and Instax Square printers, and they just introduced the Instax Wide printer in the last few months. These printers allow you to get the look of an instant photo without the unpredictability that often comes with using an instant camera.
If you are going to choose an Instax/Instant printer for your library, I recommend that you choose the Instax Wide because it has a feature that I think will work really well for us in libraries: the QR code.
I am the first to admit that I did not think QR codes were going to ever be a thing, but they have definitely seen a resurgence since the pandemic. The Instax Wide printer allows you to quickly and easily add a QR code right onto a photo that you are printing. You can link to a web page, record a short message and more. Just imagine, you could take a photo of a book that you have made a book trailer for, add a QR code to it that will take your students to the book trailer, and put it on a display wall. Just hang them up randomly in hallways, in classrooms and on the display wall outside your library. Or, if you have a program coming up, create a webpage with info about the program and link to it with a QR code on promo photos you place around your library.
In a recent post, I walked you through how I used 2 apps to create an image with a QR code that led you to a recording or webpage, but here you can do it all at once in one app. It’s quick and easy. I am a fan!
I like instant photo printers as opposed to instant cameras because it allows me to create the exact image that I want and then print it onto the instant photo film. It turns out I like the final product a lot, but the unpredictability of instant photography not so much. And I have tried the Instax Mini, the Instax Square and now the Instax Wide printer. They all work basically the same but the Instax Wide has this added feature that makes it my go to recommendation at the moment. I have a variety of photo apps that I use to create my desired image, then I print it directly onto instant photo paper. I get the final look I want because I have more control.
In addition to the QR code option, the Instax Wide allows you to add stickers
It also has preset frames that you can edit and collage options.
The Instax Wide printer also comes with a stand and I just leave it up in my house and print whenever I want. And if you want to print more than 1 copy of a picture, there’s an easy option for that. The Instax Wide paper is larger than both the mini and the square, but the final image is rectangular. And of course you have that cool white edge that you can write directly onto if you would like.
Like all Instant printers, the total cost of print per picture comes to about $1.00 a picture. It’s definitely not the cheapest option out there. However, if you want the instant photography look with some fun bells and whistles, this is my favorite of the options out there.
If you are willing to do a little more work and want a cheaper option. the Canon Selphy printer may be the better option for you. Not the Selphy Square, the Selphy original. It also has an app that allows you to do things like print photo strips, do a collage, etc. and the cost is slightly less than the Instax printers of any variety. Using some apps and the process I outlined in my previous post, you could still print an image with a QR code using the Selphy. So, if you want QR codes quick and easy, go with the Instax Wide. If you want more variety and a cheaper cost, go with the Selphy.
So here’s my current standing for photo printers:
Number One overall for versatility and cost: Canon Selphy Printer
Number Two overall for instant film look and for the ease of QR codes: Instax Wide.
Whatever choice works best for your situation, I do recommend getting some type of photo printer for your library. They’re quick, they’re cool, and they are instant. There are so many creative things you can do with a photo printer in your library! And tweens and teens love to see themselves on display in your library. And if you have a makerspace, there are so many creative craft types of things you can go with photos.
From the archives:
Filed under: Photography
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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