Instant cameras, also known as Polaroid cameras, gained mass appeal in the pre-digital 1970s and 1980s. They were considered cutting-edge technology back in the day, however, they became obsolete when the digital era came around. The only thing that makes them the most appealing is the fun of seeing an image materialize in front of your eyes from nothing.
Instant cameras are cheap and ideal for gifting as well. Given the amount of choice available, choosing the right instant camera can get quite tricky. To help you pick out the best camera according to your needs, we’ve rounded up a list of best instant cameras. Check it out:
Instax Mini 9 by Fujifilm is one of the best and affordable instant cameras currently available in the market. It features a 60mm f/12.7 lens and is powered by two AA batteries. Families and kids, instead of photographers, will find this as an ideal fit. Despite having a childish appeal and big buttons, it offers simplicity and outputs quality credit-card sized prints (54x86mm). It has a flash that fires every time you click the shutter as it cannot be disabled.
You can also capture amazing close-ups at a distance of 35cm away from the subject. With a shutter speed of 1/60sec and automatic exposure control, this mini camera helps in capturing perfect photos every time. If you or your little one wants a camera that is easy to use and operates as point-and-shoot, the Fujifilm Instax mini 9 is a great choice to consider.
If you are a traditionalist who wants to enjoy the appeal of a modern camera but the functionality of an instant camera, then the Instax mini 90 is definitely for you. It is the only Fujifilm’s instant camera to come with a rechargeable battery that is claimed to last as long as 10 credit-card sized film packs. Unlike the Instax mini 9, you can disable mini 90’s built-in flash if you feel that your pictures are too bright. You also have manual control over exposure for better photography.
The camera also features a double exposure mode that can help extend your creativity. The shutter release button above its lens doubles as a selfie mirror. The advantage of using the mini 90 over other cheap instant cameras is its LCD display strip at the back that shows your chosen settings. If the scene is lit, the camera will automatically detect the surrounding brightness and adjust the amount of flash and shutter speed to provide you optimum results. If you switch it to the macro mode, you can even shoot at a close distance of 30-60cm. A great choice for both adults and kids.
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is a wide-angle instant film camera, featuring a 95mm f/14 lens that can provide you photos on larger prints (99x62mm). This is due to the type of film it uses, which is Instax wide rather than Instax mini. It has a chunky build that doesn’t make it much of a selfie camera but still, it is much lighter than you’d imagine (only 2.1 pounds). Its shutter release button can be pressed to extend its 95mm lens and click the photo.
It has two focus zones i.e. 0.9m to 3m and 3m to infinity. It requires four AA 1.5V alkaline batteries to power up (the company recommends using only polaroid batteries). If you are looking for an instant camera that can provide you instant prints, closer to the dimensions of standard photographers, then this one’s a perfect camera to buy.
Polaroid Originals 9002 OneStep 2 is a vintage-style instant camera that is inspired by the original OneStep from the 1970s, but the newer one is much easier to use. It uses polaroid I-type film that produces large, square instant prints on-demand. The only drawback with this camera’s film is that it’s expensive per print compared to its Instax rivals.
It features a powerful lens and a built-in flash that help provide great photos every time. Its long-lasting USB rechargeable battery enables you to shoot anytime without worrying about changing the battery over and over again. If you can afford to pay extra for the prints and want a high-quality camera, then you will certainly love the OneStep 2.
Lomo’Instant is a wide-angle camera that uses large Instax wide film. It is fully automatic and features several creative shooting modes. Its built-in flash is powerful enough to provide you high-quality pictures even if the scene is not bright enough, or you can attach an external flash with the given sync socket in it. By fully automatic functionality it means that this camera will determine the light needed for perfect exposure and adjust it without you changing any setting.
It has three focusing zones that make it convenient for you to shoot at the desired distance of up to 0.1m. Apart from its excellent features and specifications, the things that you may not like is its bulky size and expensive film that it uses. If size and expense is not an issue for you, then this camera is a suitable choice.
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is a fully automatic instant film camera that calculates the light in the surroundings and adjusts the shutter speed for optimum results. It doesn’t use rechargeable batteries but it comes with two small CR2 lithium batteries that the manufacturer claims to last a whopping 30 film packs. Its design resembles the former logo of Instagram, and you can choose from a number of colors according to your desire.
The camera also comes with three color filters that can be attached over the flash to add color to your photo. It has both landscape and macro modes that allow you to click perfect clicks according to the scene! If you are looking for a retro style camera that is able to produce quality images, Instax Square SQ6 is a good option.
Kodak Printomatic is a digital instant print camera for minimalists who want something compact and powerful in hands. It features a 10MP sensor with a wide-angle f/2 lens that is able to capture wide landscapes instantly and automatically print high-quality colored or black and white photos directly. The fact that it is a point-and-shoot camera, makes it even easier to use than most instant cameras out there. The size it prints is a tad smaller than the size of a credit card.
Unlike most instant cameras, this one uses Kodak Zink photo paper that prints digitally without requiring any toner, ink cartridge, or film. The photos it prints are water-resistant, durable, and tear-resistant. Another great thing about it is that it also saves your photos to a microSD card so you can see them on your computer screen later. It is a great, affordable choice for personal use or even for gifting purpose. Its Gift Bundle includes 20 sheets of Zink paper, a deluxe case, 7 fun sticker sets, twin tip markers, photo album, hanging frames, and a comfortable neck strap.
Instax Square SQ10 by Fujifilm is a hybrid instant camera, which means it packs the functionality of both: a digital and analog camera. With it, you can click digital photos and have them printed through its in-built printer instantly. It isn’t much of a pocket-friendly camera but it sure does have a sleek design that might appeal you. The benefit of a hybrid instant camera over an analog camera is that you can actually see the shot before you waste your film (and of course money). It gives you a digital backup of your photo in its internal memory or microSD card.
While its hybrid functionality may seem to appeal, the fact that it has a 3.7MP sensor leads to photos that look like they have been taken from early smartphones, which certainly weren’t that great in providing high-quality output.
Polaroid Snap is a hybrid camera, which means it incorporates the functionality of a digital camera and has an inbuilt printer like an analog camera. It’s a simple-to-use point-and-click camera that provides high-quality results in a click. Just like Kodak Printomatic, it also captures digital images and prints them without the need for ink, ribbons, or toner cartridges.
It is lightweight and compact enough to easily slip into your shirt’s or pant’s pocket. The package includes a wrist wrap and a micro USB cord for data sharing. It is indeed one of the best instant cameras on our list that provides such amazing features at an affordable price.
The fun of shooting and visualizing the clicked photo physically within minutes is simply amazing and only possible with these cheap instant cameras. No matter how great your DSLR or mirrorless camera is, it certainly won’t be able to provide you with instant prints as these instant cameras do. However, they cannot provide high-quality photos like a DSLR would so don’t expect that. But if you are looking for a fun little camera that is compact and takes you back to the good old days then an instant camera is certainly a great gadget to consider.
All the cameras we have listed above are some of the bests in the market and you can buy any one of them according to your needs and requirements. If you are looking for something that is a combination of digital and analog camera, you can opt for Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera or Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera. If you want an easy-to-use and compact instant camera that is suitable for both kids and family use, get the Fujifilm Instax mini 9.