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How to make your own Socialmatic camera

Can't bring yourself to spend $300 on a novelty? Well there are other (not easier) options.


Molly McHugh


Posted on Dec 17, 2014   Updated on May 29, 2021, 11:13 pm CDT

By now you’ve heard of the Socialmatic, the impossibly adorable Instagram-lover’s dream camera. The device not only posts your images to Instagram (like, you know, a smartphone does), but prints out polaroids of your filtered photos as well.

The camera is getting renewed attention, even though it was announced back in 2012. But back then, it was but a dream (and a much-mocked prototype; “the perfect hipster gadget”). Now, it’s here, it’s real, and in all honesty, I think it’s magnificent. 


It’s also expensive: At least $300 for a single-use toy. And it’s a novelty camera; this thing isn’t going to double as a great travel DSLR. Obviously, you can kiss rugged use or interchangeable lenses goodbye. Also, this thing is hot right now, so don’t expect to get it anytime soon. 

Now Polaroid has made its resurgence on these digital/printing cams, but none are as fun or fully-featured as this. 

Maybe you don’t like how it looks, or it seems cheesy, or you already have a Wi-Fi camera, or you’d feel weird taking this thing out in public. (You shouldn’t because it’s adorable, but maybe you do.) So… you could make your own. Sort of! 

First, you need a camera. 

If built-in editing and Wi-Fi are what really excite you about the Socialmatic, then you’re going to want to go with something like the Samsung Galaxy cameras, one of the new Canon PowerShots. Why? Because the Galaxy lineup use Android, so the mobile OS makes everything feel more like Instagram, and Canon PowerShots are great compacts that won’t run you dry. Both of these options have Wi-Fi and editing options (provided you’re looking at the latest generations of the PowerShots). 

Samsung Galaxy Camera

If you already have a DSLR or are looking into that market, you can either look for a model with Wi-Fi and filters built in or you can pair it with an Eye-Fi SD card and manually applied filters (which are fun and retro, which is what the Socialmatic is at least halfway about; you can find many on Photojojo). 


So the Galaxy cams will make this really easy, because you can straight-up use the Instagram app. With the others, you will have to send the photo via Wi-Fi to your phone, from which you will post to Instagram. Convoluted? Yes! 

Now, all of these suggestions thus far are for people who want to use real cameras. If you don’t care for all that nonsense, you can just use your phone, obviously; the second half of what Socialmatic does (i.e., prints your photos after filtering and posting them to Instagram), can be done from either a phone or a camera. 

VuPoint Photo Cube Portable Print

Onward! Now all you need is a mini-photo printer. There are a variety of options that can print via Wi-Fi or some sort of attachment. If you want to go the Polaroid route, then the Impossible Project has the Instant Lab, but that requires your phone, so there will be some sending and saving (i.e., many steps) involved.

Of course all of this combined is way, way more expensive than just buying the Socialmatic, but if you like multipurpose over novelty, then all of these things are able to stand on their own two legs apart from their filtering-Instagramming-printing abilities. 

But are they are cute? Absolutely not. 

Photo via pestoverde/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 17, 2014, 8:08 pm CST