The New ‘Kodak’ Smile Plus Instant Camera May Instead Inspire Frowns

Five colorful instant cameras arranged in a row, each displaying a photo of smiling people, on a background gradient from yellow to pink.

“Kodak” has released the Smile+ (Smile Plus) digital instant print camera. Like other recent Kodak products, the Smile Plus sports the Kodak branding thanks to a licensing agreement between C&A IP Holdings, LLC and Kodak.

The Kodak Smile Plus enters the instant camera fray alongside other “Kodak” cameras, such as the Kodak Step Touch, Classic, Smile, and Printomatic instant print cameras.

The Smile Plus is essentially a digital camera with built-in printing. It sports a 5-megapixel sensor and wide-angle lens. The sensor is tiny — it’s a Type 1/4 — which explains the significant crop factor necessary to make the camera’s 3.57mm lens a standard wide lens. While the lens has an f/2.8 aperture, that means it gathers as much light as an f/2.8 lens on a typical camera — there won’t be blurry backgrounds here.

Three colorful Kodak Smile instant print cameras in pink, yellow, and blue, displayed on a table with patterned roller skates and teal mugs in the background.

Compared to C&A’s other Kodak instant cameras, the trick up the Smile Plus’ sleeve is an integrated filter-changing lens. By twisting the pancake-style built-in lens, photographers can swap between different physical filters that change the look and feel of their photos. Beyond the “natural” look, there is a sepia-toned retro style and a filter that adds noticeable lens flare to images.

Despite being a digital camera in analog clothing, the Smile Plus lacks any means for users to see the photos they’ve taken on the camera itself. It has a microSD card slot, and photographers can use that to store their photos and view them elsewhere, but the camera itself has no display.

A Kodak Smile instant print digital camera, presented in black and yellow, surrounded by printed photographs and its retail packaging emphasizing instant prints from camera or phone.

The device also has wireless connectivity, so a user can connect their smartphone and use the accompanying app to look at photos and even print images on the Smile Plus directly from their phone, which is nifty, turning the Smile Plus into a camera/printer combo.

Advertisement for Kodak Smile camera with Zink printing technology, highlighting that no ink cartridges, ribbons, or toners are needed, and it prints automatically full-color, tear- and water-resistant images.

While the Kodak Smile Plus is just $100, when considering an instant camera, one must also consider materials costs. The Kodak Smile Plus uses Zink printing technology and works alongside Zink 2-by-3-inch paper. 50 sheets of Zink paper costs $25, or 50 cents a photo.

The prints can be displayed as is or by peeling off the sticky back and sticking it in a book or on a wall. Zink printing doesn’t use ink and promises smudge-free prints ready to touch as soon as they come out.

Three colorful digital cameras (pink, black, and white) with retro designs displayed against an orange background, each marked with an SD card icon and a mute symbol.

The Kodak Smile Plus is available now for $100 in a range of colors, including black and yellow, blue, pink, mint green, and white and yellow. C&A says the camera is typically $130, but Amazon doesn’t list the camera as discounted.

Given the breadth of Kodak-branded cameras on the market, there are other options that are more worth the investment than the Smile Plus.

The Other Kodak Cameras on the Market

The Kodak Smile Plus and other C&A products are not the only Kodak-branded instant cameras in town. Buckle in because this is going to be a wild, confusing ride.

Eastman Kodak, the original, also makes instant cameras, including the Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro, Mini Shot 2 Era, Mini Shot 3 Era, Mini Shot 3 Square, and accompanying printers. These products are generally well-regarded and are regular inclusions in “best instant camera” roundups and guides, albeit not PetaPixel‘s.

Kodak Ektar H35N

The other other Kodak, Reto Production, a company that makes things like Kodak-branded camera straps, also makes cameras, albeit not instant ones: the H35 and H35N. These Kodak Ektar-inspired cameras are half-frame analog cameras, meaning they use half the image area of a single 35mm frame, enabling photographers to capture twice as many shots on a single roll of film. At $65 each, new film cameras don’t come much cheaper than this, although the two-element fixed 22mm f/11 lens can be heavily limiting. Despite this, they promise a lot of fun, per PetaPixel‘s H35N review.

In the world of “Kodak cameras,” there is a lot to keep track of, and they’re made by three different companies, including the actual Kodak.

Image credits: Kodak