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Kodak’s new instant camera and printer line capture the clunky side of nostalgia

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Image: Kodak

As my colleague Vlad Savov noted at IFA last year, legacy camera companies like Kodak and Polaroid have now become “brands of sadness.” Once industry-defining forces, their names don’t mean too much anymore after licensees have slapped their logos onto everything from cheap laptops to selfie sticks. You can see all of this in effect at Kodak’s CES booth every year where a company called C+A Global showcases all of the random Kodak-branded gadgets as far as the eye can see. This year, among the baby monitors and LED light bulbs, it’s bringing a new line of instant cameras and printers called Smile.

There’s the Kodak Smile Instant Print digital camera, which is a 10-megapixel camera with an LCD viewfinder, a 10-second timer, and automatic flash. There’s a microSD card slot, and it can print your photos onto Zink paper when you’re happy with your shot. It’s pretty much the same product as the Kodak Printomatic, which is basically the same thing as the 2015 Polaroid Snap, which are all 10-megapixel digital cameras that print out onto Zink paper. Unlike the pastel-colored Printomatics, the Smile camera veers toward ‘90s nostalgia in a matte black body with a nice flash of yellow.

Image: Kodak

The Smile Classic Instant Print digital camera comes in a more vintage, Polaroid-inspired design, with a pop-up viewfinder, an automatic single strobe flash, a microSD slot, and a 10-second timer. You can also connect your phone to the camera via Bluetooth to print out your photos onto 3.5 x 4.25-inch Zink paper.

Image: Kodak

Finally, there’s the Smile instant digital printer, the chunkiest one of them all. You can use the Kodak companion app to print out photos from your iOS or Android device.

Image: Kodak

Kodak doesn’t have solid release dates for any of the devices in the Smile line, but they’ll all launch sometime in 2019. The Smile Instant Print digital camera and printer will cost $100 each, while the Smile Classic digital camera will cost $150 at launch.