Top 3 Instant Camera Brands

Instant camera, also known as a Polaroid camera to older generations, is a compact, vintage device that is equipped with self-developing film to print your pictures right after capturing them. Back in the good old days, instant cameras were considered cutting-edge technology. However, their popularity and usage became obsolete when digital photography came around. 

Thanks to the vintage lovers, instant cameras have made a comeback recently and are now popular among younger generations and photography enthusiasts.

Here are the top 3 instant camera brands that were remarkable back then and are still popular among a large audience:

Polaroid

The first brand on our list, Polaroid, is the one that invented the first-ever instant camera in 1948. Polaroid is an American brand that was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land to utilize the use of its Polaroid polarizing polymer. The company has been a trusted brand for more than 80 years globally. They are best known for pioneering instant photography.

The idea of instant photography struck Edwin during a family vacation back in 1944, when his daughter Jennifer asked him why she couldn’t see the photos that she has captured just “now”. Edwin H. Land claimed that he had visualized the camera, film and chemistry within an hour after her question. It took him another three to four years before he realized his vision. In short, it was a child’s question that no one knew would alter the photographic landscape for the years to come. 

Land was a great inventor who had about 535 patents to his name. Before inventing the world’s first instant camera, he invented the first synthetic sheet polarizer in 1928 that reduced the glare from the sunlight. 

Shortly, after introducing instant photography, Land hired Ansel Adams, who was the West Coast landscape photographer. He tested cameras, filters, films, and film processors for Land’s company, Polaroid. It was his expert input that all the next products were improved continuously and adjusted. 

Later in 1977, Edwin H. Land introduced the Polaroid Instant Home Movie camera which he named Polavision, based on Dufaycolor process. However, unfortunately, he launched this camera when video-tape based systems were rapidly gaining popularity in the market. Hence, his invention failed to sell well in retail stores. After all that success and great inventions, Land finally decided to resign and leave the company in 1981. The peak revenue that the company generated was $3 billion in 1991. 

Keeping up with all the vintage lovers’ wishes, Polaroid Originals was launched in September 2017 to relaunch instant film cameras and built a community of analogue fans around it. 

Here are three best instant cameras by Polaroid:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Polaroid Originals OneStep+
Polaroid Pic-300 Instant Film Camera
Impossible Polaroid 600 Square Instant Camera
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera
Fujifilm Instax mini 9
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera
Kodak Mini Shot Instant Print Digital Camera
Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera
KODAK Smile Instant Print Digital Camera

 

Polaroid Originals OneStep+

Salient Features:

  • Film type: uses Polaroid originals for i-type cameras
  • Image size: 108x88mm
  • Offers a minimum shooting distance of approx. 60 cm. 
  • Offers three different modes: Macro, Normal, Landscape
  • Equipped with a built-in flash
  • Has a self-timer
  • Has an optical viewfinder 
  • An excellent choice for beginners

Polaroid Pic-300 Instant Film Camera

Salient Features: 

  • Weighs 11.3oz only
  • Provides four different scene settings
  • Image size: 61x45mm
  • Has a 60mm lens
  • Has a shooting or focusing range from 0.6m to infinity
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 seconds
  • Equipped with a built-in automatic flash
  • Uses four AA-size batteries as a power source

Impossible Polaroid 600 Square Instant Camera

Salient Features:

  • Image size: 79x79mm
  • Has a shooting or focusing range from 4ft to infinity
  • Shutter speed: 1/3 to 1/200 seconds
  • Equipped with a built-in flash
  • Uses batteries in film packs
  • Uses polaroid 600 type film

Fujifilm

Fujifilm is one of the most popular names and a leader when it comes to digital cameras and accessories. Such a level of success and popularity doesn’t come overnight. The company has been in this field for more than eight decades. The Japanese government planned to develop a local industry for the photographic film in the 1930s, which led to the invention of Fuji Photo Film Company in 1934. 

The company’s first factory, Ashigara, was located at the foot of Mount Hakone. However, because the name “Hakone” was already registered to another company, they had to take the name of a nearby mountain, Fuji. 

As Fuji grew as a photographic company, it produced photographic, motion picture and X-Ray films. It was in 1948 when the company created its first camera, known as the Fujica Six. The camera was known best for its lightweight construction and compact body. The series became so popular among people that Fuji launched a series of Fujica still-photo and motion picture cameras and continued their production. 

Although there isn’t much information available on Fujifilm’s website about the full range of their Instax cameras, we have managed to write about a few that were most popular. 

The first camera to premiere as an instant camera from Fujifilm was Instax mini 10, in November 1998. Next, in the Instax series, 500AF was the first-ever instant camera of its time with autofocus. 

The company took a break from Polaroid cameras for some time but back in November 2012, Fujifilm released its Mini 8 instant camera that quickly turned into people favorite due to its vintage looks, vibrant colors, and easy-to-use functionality and corpus. 

The Mini 8 instant camera comes originally in white, black, yellow, pink, and blues. You can get the one that perfectly aligns with your personality and liking. With the increasing popularity of its instant cameras, Fujifilm decided to launch another new addition to the Mini line, known as Instax Mini 90. This camera is considered one of the best and most functional instant cameras with lots of features and excellent specifications, including selfie mirror, long exposure, etc. 

Currently, Mini 8 has become a big star in today’s life that you can find many vloggers, influencers, and bloggers rocking one of them. These cameras are compact, lightweight, cute and easy to use. The last one from Fujifilm premiered in April 2017, was the Instax square with the latest technology that no one has ever seen in the previous instant cameras. 

Instax Square has two symmetrical shutters, and it is operated/controlled via LCD. With all this new technology, you will have the option to print automatically or choose from your history and printing up to 50 photos back. The camera also allows you to edit your photos and then print them immediately. 

Here are three best Fujifilm instant cameras:

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera

Salient Features:

  • Image size: 62x46mm
  • Equipped with Fujinon 60mm f/12.7 lens
  • Has a shooting or focusing range from 0.6m to infinity
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 seconds
  • Has an optical 0.37x Real Image Viewfinder
  • Provides auto exposure with a manual switching system 
  • Equipped with a built-in constant firing flash
  • Uses Fujifilm “Instax Mini” instant color film
  • Uses two AA-size 1.5V alkaline batteries
  • Weighs 10.82oz

Fujifilm Instax mini 9

Salient Features:

  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax mini 
  • Image size: 6.2×4.6cm
  • Equipped with a 60mm f/12.7 lens
  • Has a minimum shooting distance of 35cm
  • Provides different exposure modes: cloudy, sunny, indoor, and Hi-key
  • Equipped with a built-in flash, which can’t be deactivated
  • Has an optical viewfinder
  • Good choice for beginners

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera

Salient Features:

  • Image size: 99x62mm 
  • Offers three shooting modes: Motor-driven 2-range switching, Normal Mode, Landscape Mode
  • Equipped with a retractable 95mm f/14 lens
  • Has a 0.37x optical viewfinder with target spot
  • Weighs 21.59oz
  • Small built-in LCD screen 
  • Uses Fujifilm Instax Wide Instant Color Film
  • Uses four AA-size batteries as a power source
  • Comes with an additional close-up lens adapter

Kodak

Kodak has been considered one of the most innovative photography companies for over a century. However, it has struggled to remain in competition in the face of cheaper film produced in Japan and then, digital cameras in China. Kodak was founded back in 1892 by an American inventor George Eastman in Rochester, New York. He also has a patent in his name for photographic film stored in a roll (1884). After four years of this invention, Eastman perfected the first camera to test out and take advantage of his creation. 

The name Kodak is meaningless and was chosen because it was impossible to mispronounce, and wasn’t similar to any other existing word. From 1963 to 1969, Kodak manufactured Polaroid’s instant film products. However, later, Polaroid decided to manufacture its own. In 1976, Kodak introduced its own instant film products, which was much different than Polaroid’s in many ways. 

One of the early models in the Kodak instant line of cameras was the EK4, which was released in 1976. It offered very basic features, unlike other cameras. It lacked an electronic motor for ejecting the film and required a hand crank instead for film ejection. Later, EK6 was introduced that had motorized ejection for more convenience. 

Since Kodak is known well for its instant films and products, it also offers some great instant cameras, which are as follows:

Kodak Mini Shot Instant Print Digital Camera

Salient Features:

  • Equipped with a powerful 10MP sensor that captures images in high quality
  • Point and shoot
  • Prints photos in seconds
  • Image size: 2.1×3.4 inch
  • Portable
  • Equipped with a 1.7inch LCD viewfinder
  • Offers autofocus, gamma correction, white balance, and exposure

Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera

Salient features:

  • Equipped with a 10MP sensor
  • Point and shoot
  • Offers a wide-angle f/2 lens
  • Automatically turns on the flash when the available light is low
  • Image size: 2×4 inch
  • Uses Kodak Zink Photo Paper
  • No ink cartridges, toner, or film required
  • Comes in a variety of fun colors
  • Can save photos to a micro SD card

KODAK Smile Instant Print Digital Camera

Salient Features:

  • Uses zero ink technology to print photos in high quality
  • Image size: 2×3 inch
  • Rocks a sliding design unlike traditional instant cameras
  • Equipped with an 8mm lens with autofocus
  • Rocks a 10MP sensor
  • Offers auto flash and LCD viewfinder
  • Built-in editor to edit your photos on the go before you finally print them
  • Fixed focus and dual picture mode
  • Can be recharged via mini USB cable

Final Verdict

Instant cameras are a thing of the past now, but still, vintage and retro lovers would definitely admire one or all of the cameras from the brands mentioned above. No matter how expensive digital camera you buy, it won’t be able to provide the fun of getting photos printed seconds after capturing them. Also, the best thing about instant cameras is that they aren’t as expensive as digital cameras and yet they can offer so much fun!