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Olympus C-211 Zoom

Anyone who's addicted to the vivid colors and instantaneous results of Polaroid film knows it's a costly habit. The Olympus C-211 Zoom offers an ingenious alternative to printing every shot on expensive Polaroid film: a hybrid, 2.1-megapixel digital camera and photo printer that uses Polaroid 500 film.

Equipped well beyond the specifications of your traditional Polaroid camera, the 1.7-pound C-211 offers 3x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom, spot metering, a 2-inch LCD monitor, and a focal length equivalent to 35-105mm . You can adjust brightness, contrast, color balance, and sharpness using the on-camera menus, and then print single or multiple copies or an index print. The bundled software lets you upload and print edited images; the prints have good color fidelity but tend to be soft.

The downside is the C-211's rapid battery consumption, likely due to its LCD monitor. Using alkaline batteries (the $50 AC adapter is sold separately), the C-211 captured an average of 15 shots before it had only enough power to print.

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