The Best Instant Camera

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Polaroid

Back in the day, we didn’t waste photos, we held on to them. Now we take photos constantly and they just vanish into the digital world of computers and internet.

Ooh, but wait! Polaroid Instant Cameras have not faded away, they are making a come back in 2017!

It’s true. I have seen them on the parties and the Fujifilm, one of the last instant film camera makers sold the record 6.5 million units last year and expects to sell even more this year.

6.5 Million Instant Cameras Sold In 2016

Why are they still popular?  Because it’s Fun, "A lot of Fun" and smartphones have taken away some of the magic of photography. So which one should you get? I tested a bunch of the cameras and a few photo printers and found that Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is currently the best instant camera available on the market. However, there are different models for different taste and the following guide will definitely help you to find the best camera for your needs.

Tip: By the way do not shake polaroid picture it does nothing and it can even ruin it.

Best Instant Camera 2017

Instax Mini 90 NEO Classic


The Instax Mini 90 deserves to be at the top of our list as the best instant camera on the market with its impressive features, perfect design, and versatile shooting modes. As a photographer, I love the ability to manually control the lighting, to get a desirable shot in every situation. However, it's worth mentioning that camera can automatically detect the brightness and therefore adjust the flash and shutter speed according to the surrounding you are shooting in, to deliver optimal image every time.

 The camera delivers excellent pictures with additional controls to play with, all solidly built in cool retro body.

All in all, this Mini 90 is a perfect camera for enthusiast photographers who are looking for sharp and clear images. Moreover, it’s super compact and feels really durable with an intuitive button layout that anyone can understand. The images are really bright and detailed, something that you might not expect from an ordinary instant camera.

Best Hybrid Polaroid Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10


The Fujifilm Instax square SQ10 is Fuji's first instant camera with a digital imaging sensor, which helps you to shoot more accurate clearer instant photos. The camera body itself is a rounded square with no bulky protrusions. It also comes with two shutter buttons and they can be assigned to either fire the shutter or change shooting modes whichever you prefer. A built-in flash is useful for use in dim situations, but it can be turned on or off manually as desired.  

The camera also has a 3-inch color LCD screen for composing and reviewing photos, adding filters, adjusting brightness and more. With the resolution of 1920 by 1920, this camera is not meant to replace your regular digital camera however it's more than sufficient to produce small high-quality prints.

The Instax SQ10 also offers the manual shooting mode, where you can review and edit your picture before you decide to print it. You can even change a brightness, add artistic filters and save your images to the memory or on micro SD card and then share online. Plus you can review the photos before you print, so you won't waste film anymore which saves money and quite possibly your sanity. Once the film comes out it takes just a few minutes to develop. Also, the great thing about the SQ10 is that you can basically use this device as a portable printer. Overall it's fun and versatile camera, perfect for Polaroid enthusiasts.

 Wide Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10


The following camera is twice the size and weight of Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 but it also costs less and provides larger prints. Despite the similar look, it has a better ergonomics and features that truly improve the user experience. Now with Wide 300, it's possible to switch between the two focus zones (0.9-3m and 3m to infinity) by only twisting the dial on the lens.

The camera runs on four AA batteries which are less convenient compared to Mini 90, but they are easy to replace and you still have the option to use rechargeable AAs once you purchase the camera. The main downside of Wide 300 is that it offer less control over exposure and the flashlight can't be disabled entirely during the shot.

Although the camera produces bigger images they are still sharp and impressive, so you don't have to worry about taking Wide 300 on the parties. Personally, i think that people love larger size pictures and they are rarely concerned about image quality once they see the actual photo. So at the end, this camera is perfect if you want to capture more details from the scene, plus it resembles the size of an original Polaroid camera which we all love.

Best Portable Photo Printer

Fujifilm Instax Shar​e SP-2


The Instax Share SP-2 printer is a great new little tool that I absolutely love. It's a perfect device for documenting travels or just sharing exciting moments with your friends just by sending photos from a smartphone using the free SHARE App. The SP-2 is available in two color variations Silver and Gold. Plus it has a rechargeable battery and a special indicator to show how many prints you have left on your film pack.

Moreover, the new laser exposure system prints the images in under 10 seconds including the data transfer and the printing time. The great thing about Fujifilm is that pictures are very colorful and you can really see the detailed gradations, facial expressions, characters or objects clearly. In addition, new SP-2 has some great templates, for your images. You can even connect to Facebook or Instagram using the app and it will automatically print photos with some little details, about the date that you posted the photo, how many likes you got and whatever little caption you had put on your image.

So overall it's a great device if you want to keep shooting with your smartphone but still, like the idea to share those photos with your friends especially when you are hanging out with a big group of people.

Table of contents

What constitutes a great Instant Camera?

This year will be 70 years since the Polaroid Land Camera became commercially available. So the Polaroid photography is one of the purest, simplest pleasures, but what camera should you get highly depends on following criteria.

Quality Materials: It's worth mentioning that most of the instant cameras are made of plastic, but despite the fact, many of the models are surprisingly durable and they also offer high-quality materials like Leica Sofort.

Photo size: Today there are different instant camera films available on the market. The trouble is that most cameras take small pictures similar to Credit-Card - 5.4 x 8.6 cm, however, there are better alternatives like Wide Instant Film - 10.6 x 8.4 cm.

Instax Wide vs Instax Mini

Extra features: Some of the additional features which are most common is the self-timer, landscape, and auto mode. Also, some models have the adjustable flash and compact size which is perfect for traveling as well as HD video recording capabilities and internal memory card.

Price-tag: Typically most of the instant cameras will cost you around $100 but we have seen some models with a higher price tag with more features and functions. Either way, most of this products are not expensive compared to DSLR and other mirrorless cameras.

Stylish design: The main factor why people decide to buy Polaroid cameras is the nostalgia they inspire. Therefore if you are searching for a new device then play it up by choosing the camera which offers modern features with vintage design. So you get the best of both worlds.

Rankings & Reviews

The following section will provide you with a full in-depth review of each camera so you get a detailed information about the pros and cons of each product. Moreover, if you need help to choose your next camera gear with more precision you can use our quick navigation bar.

Editor's Choice 2017


Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90

After reviewing different instant cameras I came to the conclusion that Fujifilm has the best product combining the great look and retro style all with reasonable price. This little device can make instant pictures with little films (62 x 46mm) that you can simply put in your pocket, which makes it perfect party camera in 2017. Compared to other brands there are a lot of advantages and one of the most notable is a bigger lens on the front which helps you to capture high-quality images in any condition.

At night when the built-in flash and party mode is activated the camera can capture both the subject and ambient background almost perfectly and unlike other models in this category the Mini 90 allows you to tweak the flash output. Also, a bulb exposure mode lets you leave the shutter open for up to 10 seconds while pressing the shutter button in order to shoot long trail of exposures. However, it's worth mentioning that you have to physically press the button for the entire time while keeping the camera steady which is very hard since there is no tripod mount. Last but not least there is a double exposure mode, which enables you to capture 2 images on 1 film sheet by simply pressing the shutter button twice. All these features make Mini 90 unique and classy camera for professional photographers, who are looking for new ways of capturing the exciting moments of their life.

The great thing about Instax Mini 90 is that it can automatically detect the brightness of the surrounding and optimize the shot by adjusting the amount of flash and shutter speed to produce quality photos each time. But in case if you prefer to manually adjust the settings you can simply disable the flashlight and use different exposure modes depending on the situation you have. Another advantage of this camera is that the flash is capable of handling illumination thanks to F/12.7 fixed aperture.

The leathery type texture is very cool but it’s all made of plastic and it looks and feels like a bit rubbery. At the back, you will find all the buttons that you need to change settings as well as the battery compartment. The good news is that on Mini 90 battery is rechargeable compared to other cameras which offer only AA batteries. Moreover, it can take about 100 pictures (10 film packs) before it goes out, so that is pretty good. Another good thing about the charger is that you can actually change the prongs, so that way your charger can fit different electrical outlets around the world.

The thing that I like most about Instax Mini 90 is that it has two shutters. The first one is at the front where the power button is and the other one is actually at the top, so you have two different buttons in order to take your picture. At the back, you only have 5 buttons and also two LCD screens in order to precisely control all of your settings including; battery life and a number of films left in the camera.

What I do like about this camera is that you can actually take very easy selfies, plus the power buttons act as a shutter and it has a little mirror on the front. I do like the quality of the pictures, they look authentic and nice. So if you love to party and share instant photos with your friends to capture memorable moments of your life, then I highly recommend this Instax camera to everybody.

Pros 

  • Four Brightness Controls
  • Automatic Exposure Control
  • Built-In Automatic Flash
  • Small Built-In LCD Screen
  • Accepts Instax Mini Instant Film
  • Comes With a Rechargeable Battery

Cons

  • Instruction Manual is Not Very Helpful
  • Film Is Quite Expensive 

Best Runner-Up


Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10

New Fujifilm Instax SQ10 is an instant film camera just like all the Instax cameras that have come before it, but with one huge difference, it's also digital. this is Fujifilm's attempt to taking the fleeting fun that's associated with its instant camera and finding a way to keep it relevant in the age of Instagram. They did that by putting a 3.7-megapixel sensor inside in a 3-inch LCD screen on the back. The camera also uses a new format of Instax film. It's called an Instax Square which is a little bit bigger than the Instax's mini and little bit smaller than the Instax's wide. There are two different ways to shoot with the SQ10. There's an auto mode where it prints everything that you shoot and there's a manual mode that lets you shoot digitally as much as you want and decide what to print later. You can also edit those photos, there are ten filters built-in plus a vignette tool and an exposure tool.

Now one of my favorite things about the SQ10 is actually the animation that plays when you print a photo, it is a total gimmick but it's also one of the most fun traits of the camera. It's also a sign of just how much this camera can delight others. People get genuinely happy when they see it start printing photos, they all want to be the one that's holding the picture while it develops and they also want to be the one that gets to take that picture home. The difference with this camera more than any other Instax is that you can finally accommodate that request.

It's also easier than ever to try out the creative modes like a double exposure, or long shutter because you can try and try until you finally dial it in all without wasting a print. The battery is great too, it will last you through a full weekend of shooting editing and printing. luckily the camera performs well enough that that price doesn't seem so unreasonable. It turns on fast, focuses fast and shoots fast.

The only hang-up I really had was the missing exposure from time to time and it's a bit awkward to get back to the live view from playback mode. The viewing angle of the screen which is not a touchscreen is also pretty bad, you have to be looking straight at it to get a good read of anything that you're framing up. Otherwise, it's really easy to use, the shutter buttons on the front is satisfying as well as the ones on the back.

The new square film is just like Instax film in the past. It's super contrasty, it's got good colors but it's definitely going to take you a few packs to get a feel for it and the flash on this camera is strong but it's not strong enough to wash things out. it can actually help create some of the best photos this camera has to offer and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually shoot with flash. The most dumbfounding thing about this camera is that in order to get the files from this camera to your phone you have to take the microSD card out of the camera put it in an adapter, put that on your computer and then get those files to your phone from there. For a camera that's supposed to be all about the Instagram generation, it feels awfully disconnected from Instagram. Maybe it's good that it's not connected in the sense that you don't wind up interrupting the moment to focus your attention on which photo you want to post to Instagram, or some other social media network. Besides Instax cameras have always been at their best when they've been used to capture fleeting moments like partying with friends.

Fujifilm Square SQ10

Something that the SQ10 is missing is that sense of urgency. With other Instax cameras, people know that their time and attention is precious and so they're more willing to play along so that you don't waste film. That goes away when they know that they can take 20,000 photos and print the best later. Now don't get me wrong there is something I love about the idea of this camera, it's sort of what I always thought would make me want to buy an Instax in the first place and Fujifilm got a lot right here. I really love the design, I love the way it feels to grip and shoot with it and the interface is quick and fun. The printed pictures look great and the hoarder in me is happy to have digital backups, but now that it's here I'm realizing this idea isn't all I thought it would be. Maybe a more connected version of this camera is exactly what I'm looking for or maybe I just need to learn to cut the cord and stick to the instant film.

Pros 

  • Prints on Larger Square Instax Film
  • View Your Photos on Large 3-inch LCD Screen
  • 10 Fun Creative Filters
  • Internal Memory and Micro SD Card
  • A Fair Amount of Settings
  • Shoots Both Digital and Film Photos

Cons

  • Laggy Interface at Times
  • Not so Simple For Selfies

Best Wide Instant Camera


Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300

Fujifilm Instax wide 300

The Instax Wide 300 is the latest instant camera for a new generation, that's grown up on megapixels. With a chunky silver and black design, the Fujifilm is trying to resemble an old film camera. like all instant cameras, the Wide 300 is a great party camera. The photos will never look as sharp as the ones your smartphone takes but they're full of character that will make you feel emotional every time you look at them. Personally, my favorite part about instant photos is a real-life social aspect, the idea that you can even share the photos with your friends once they are taken.

The Instax Wide 300 is a bigger camera however it does produce double the width the inspect Mini film. So it's perfect for a wedding photography when you need to get as many guests in that photo as possible to keep that bride happy, or maybe you're on the hill in Scotland and you're trying to get as much detail on that landscape or you just have way too many friends and you can't fit them in the Instax Mini film. All these facts prove that this camera is ideal for shooting wide images (99 x 62mm) to get as many details in one photo as possible.

The thing that I love most about this camera is the special sensors which sense if the flash needs to go on or off. However, you definitely want to check the L&D button, that stands for light and dark which is especially helpful if you are in a situation when the photo should be lighter or darker and you want to have more control over the settings. In addition to great form factor camera also features LCD screen that tells you how many shots you got. Of course, a brand new cassette will give you 10 shots but I think you have to be picky about what picture you are taking as you can't change them later.

In the Box, you get four AA batteries and neck strap and clever little gizmo, which is a selfie/close-up lens. To use it when your 300 is on, just simply put it in and you're ready to take your photo and finally, one of my favorite features of the Wide 300 is the ability to change the focus. As I mentioned before this camera if perfect for weddings, landscapes and awesome if you have lots of friends. Now as standard on Wide 300 we've got 90 centimeters to three meters lens. So if you're taking a photo of a landscape or a group of friends more than 3 meters away, all you have to do is turn the dial and it becomes three meters to infinity (3m~∞).

To sum it up it's big, bold and beautiful instant camera which is great for any situation. It may not be the prettiest instant camera around, but it’s one hundred percent analog fun and that's all that really matters when you at a party with your friends.

Pros 

  • Automatic Extending 95mm f14 Lens
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • Nice Build Quality
  • Light and Dark Control
  • Tri-Pod Socket
  • Includes Close Focus Adapter

Cons

  • Limited Exposure Control
  • Expensive For High-Volume Shooters

Best Smartphone Photo Printer


Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-2

SHARE SP-2 Smart Printer

Composing your shot, capturing a moment and seconds later having a single tangible picture is the main principle of instant camera. In order to follow this idea, Fujifilm decided to create the new generation of Instax SP-2 portable Wi-Fi photo printer, which works perfectly with modern smartphones and tablets. Device is pretty small and produces old Polaroid-style photos about the size of a credit card. At first, It might sound a little bit confusing because, Polaroid and Fuji are two different companies, but the fact is that FujiFilm basically now owns this technology. So if you're already a fan of Instax, this is a perfect addition to your collection, as you can continue using the same film to create awesome photos. The camera is also available in two gorgeous colors silver and gold, with new added texture for classic good looks.

The printer itself is very lightweight and compact, the high-resolution images, new laser exposure system and fast printing time makes it an ideal printer for any kind of situation. Plus it uses a special app to transfer images over wireless LAN connection as well as many fun templates. But most importantly this App is completely free and can be downloaded from App Store and Google Play. For starters I would say the setup is very intuitive, the Instax share App really guides you through the setup process. So you don't have to be a tech geek in order to start using this printer. You just have to connect the device to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone or tablet and you are ready to go.

Generally speaking, the app is pretty easy to use and navigate, you can simply pull photos from your gallery or directly from a social network. There are also different filters and effects, to get really creative with your photos. You can even change the orientation of your picture as well as spread a single image across two prints, which is a nice feature. The print time is also pretty quick (less than 20 seconds), and images take only 5 minute to fully develop. But one of the great things about the Fuji Instax share printer is that there are no ink cartridges to buy, that's because the film develops right on the paper.

Also if we compare this camera to its predecessor it's clear to notice that SP-2 is more streamlined and stylish. However, I feel like the weight-wise they're pretty much the same, but the new version has a more ergonomic design so it's much easier to hold. Moreover, the batteries are different as well as printing time. Now the SP-2 uses rechargeable lithium battery instead of cr2, which gives us the enough power to print 100 images. Plus the camera is few seconds quicker and produces slightly sharper photos thanks to 320 DPI compared to 254 DPI. So It's Anytime, Anywhere photo printing device for immediate sharing with a touch of nostalgia.

One final thing that's worth mentioning about the Instax share SP-2 is that it goes to sleep after about 4 or 5 minutes, meaning that you have to reconnect to Wi-Fi as if you're starting from scratch. It doesn't remember your Wi-Fi network though it will retain the password, so at least you don't have to sign in again. Well, I found that annoying but it's easy enough to remedy, still would be nice if company somehow solves this issue in the next firmware update.

So to the question now of would I buy one of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 printers for myself: The answer is a definite yes!

The device is pretty easy to use, I love the vintage Polaroid-style film and particularly all of the different little film packets you can get. I think they're super fun they'd be great for weddings, parties and anniversaries. Aside from the Wi-Fi reconnection issue, the Fujifilm App is pretty intuitive and easy to use.

Overall Fujifilm's Share sp-2 mobile printer is a perfect piece of technology if you want to turn your smartphone shots into instant prints. A faster exposure system lets you print in about 10 seconds and quality has been improved significantly from the SP-1 giving you sharper, more detailed results.

Pros 

  • Stylish Than The Original
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Faster and More Compact
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • App Includes Basic Editing Tools
  • Chemical Printing Process

Cons

  • Small Print Format Lacks Impact
  • High Material Cost

Best Compact Travel Camera


Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 is the unofficial successor to the ultra-popular Instax 8, arguably the most popular instant consumer camera. Though similar design Fuji has refined a look of their new offering which now has a slim down form factor that doesn’t have as much protruding curved as the Instax 8. It’s thinner and more streamlined and it actually looks more like a vintage camera than it does a toy. Yes, it’s still made out of plastic but the build quality is definitely a step up. Overall it’s a much more mature looking camera that still holds on to a certain playful personality, without looking like it’s inspired by a children’s cartoon. The Mini 70 like the Instax 8 does come in a verity of cool colors that come up with more polished looks. It almost gives off the impression of a metallic finish which is actually pretty nice.

Now on the front of the camera, the first thing you will probably notice is a retractable lens, which has two component and two elements and you will see the sensors on the front of the lens itself that actually meters for exposure. The shutter speed is automatically adjusted between the 1/2 to 1/4 second, after determining lighting conditions the picture is being taken in. The camera also features a built-in flash which works in conjunction with the sensors in the lens and will automatically detect whether or not you need the flash. This is actually really sophisticated feature as the Instax 8 always made you use the flash and had a locked shutter speed, whereas here everything is modified and you have more control over your camera. Now, this should provide better color rendition and dynamic range, not washed out images that are constantly overexposed.

Probably the biggest difference between the Mini 70 and Instax 8 is the new control features. Turning on the camera will activate the lens and will display how many exposures you have remaining on the LED screen. There are also modes for macro, landscape, selfie and the mode called high-key that slows down the shutter speed in order to brighten up the image.

Instax Mini 70 is also perfect for shooting selfies thanks to a small polished selfie mirror right next to the lens, that helps you properly frame the shot when you are taking a picture. A great addition as the Instax 8 made you take selfies without any way of knowing if you are properly in the shot. On the side of the camera, there are two anchoring points for straps which are perfect protection against drops. Also one the side of the camera there is a battery compartment for two cr2 lithium batteries, which are not as common as AA or AAA however they last a lot longer than both which is pretty nice. On the button there is a threaded hole that allows you to mount the camera to a tripod and on the back, there is a door that opens upwards where a film can be loaded into the camera. The Mini 70 take Fuji's mini films corteges that are super easy to install.

I really like the versatility that the camera offers. It’s obviously not as powerful as having a manual mode, but it is nice to be able to adjust the camera settings. The timer also gives the option to set up a delay before the shutter is released and there is a cool feature that will take two pictures in case you are shooting with friends and you want to have another copy to give away. The selfie mode will also adjust the focal length of the lens allowing for proper selfie framing. Again this is a really nice added feature as selfies have become the most popular way of taking photos these days and really complements the fun nature of the Mini 70.

In conclusion, the Fuji Instax Mini 70 is a cool camera, something that should make an awesome gift for anyone who is interested in photography. I know everyone has a nice camera on their smartphones this day, but there is something genuinely rewarding about capturing a moment with the instant camera. It’s just so different from a digital image. The Mini 70 will make you a lot more selective of the moment you want to capture, but it will consistently make you excited every time the shutter button is released and the film pops out. No matter what you are doing you will stop and wait for the picture to fully expose and the picture will mean more to you than any digital image that is sitting on your phone. It's much more memorable and fun experience, something that in a weird way technology has kind of taken away. Hence why I like devices like this, which try and use technology to preserve this magic rather than inadvertently destroy it.

Pros 

  • New Sleek Streamlined Design
  • High Key Lighting Mode
  • Built-In Selfie Mirror
  • Improved Picture Quality
  • Tripod Socket
  • 0.3-Meter Focus In Macro
  • Optical Viewfinder

Cons

  • Fully Automatic Operation Only
  • CR2 Batteries

Modern Polaroid Camera


Polaroid Snap Touch

Polaroid Snap Touch

We are living in a digital world, all the devices have an integrated camera including mobile phones or even cars, but we forgot the feeling to touch printed pictures. We just take thousands of them storing dozens of albums in our laptops but something is changing though, people want to print pictures and instant cameras are coming back. So now I would like to introduce you the Polaroid Snap the cheapest, smallest and most interesting instant camera in Polaroid's Line.

Snap is not like any other instant camera. In fact, it prints in less than a minute on zinc paper. Inside there is also a microSD card that’s pretty unusual for this type of device. Combining all these features in a tiny form factor Polaroid is a perfect camera for traveling, outdoor activities or just capturing special moments with your friends. The camera comes with the strap, a micro USB cable, a 10 pack of Polaroid Zink paper to print your photos and of course the user guide and the warranty info.

The internal memory can hold up to 10 images and you can also insert a microSD card. Plus it's possible to connect your phone to the camera to share photos from your phone to the camera and vice versa. You just make sure Bluetooth is on and you have download free Polaroid app on your phone. What's really cool about this technology is that you can simply print photos directly from your phone. In addition, you can even choose different borders and filter from camera settings as well as fun stickers. Snap also features a self-timer and a selfie mirror, so it’s perfect for selfies if you don't have anybody to take your picture. It literally has everything you need.

Digital pictures are also acceptable like other cheap digital point-and-shoot, so don't try to shoot in the dark. The LED flash is small and not so efficient, but with a good light, you can have nice pictures. As far as you push the button the snap needs around 30-40 seconds to print the 2x3 inches picture and if you have the microSD card inserted you'll be able to manage also the digital version. So it’s definitely not the premium camera, of course, and there is a good reason behind the low price, but it's still one of the best products you can buy within this range. Plus I really like the magnetic cap for the lens which is almost impossible to lose, but the mechanism in the viewfinder is unreliable, because several times I found it turned on inside my pocket. 

The only problem is that, sometimes the touchscreen lags a little bit, but it will take couple seconds to catch up and it's not a super big deal. Speaking about the picture quality it depends also on the paper you buy. 30 sheets of the premium ink paper cost 15 bucks, but to save money you can choose the zinc photo paper for Pogo cameras which also works perfectly with this model.

To sum up, Polaroid Snap is a perfect camera for somebody who wants to take an instant picture but also needs a digital copy on their device. Personally, my favorite feature of this camera is the multi-functional LCD touchscreen which enables you to edit the image before it's printed, so that way you don't have to waste the film if you don't like the picture. Moreover, the camera has a video option and can record at 1080p using a 10-megapixel sensor. All these features make Snap truly the best instant camera for 2017, by combining new technology and camera printer in a small compact body.

Pros 

  • Charming Design
  • Smartphone Compatible
  • Cool Touchscreen Display
  • Zink Zero Ink Printing Technology
  • Filters, Borders, and Digital Stickers
  • Pocket-Friendly

Cons

  • Slow Autofocus
  • Quirky UI

Best Camera Money Can Buy


Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a Polaroid camera, which is pretty simple to operate even for the beginners who have never tried the instant camera before. The company itself is famous for its Instax line and the following model is one of their most popular and the budget version available on today's market. In addition to affordable price, it's also very slim and lightweight (6.4 ounces) and is perfect to carry around anywhere you go.

The design has not changed a lot compared to the previous models but, there are cool new features which make this device unique in many ways. First of all, it's a very user-friendly, even the instruction manual comes in a whole bunch of different languages so you won't be left out if English isn't your first language. Plus, you get a special strap that you can attach to the camera and protect it from drops. The Instax Mini 8 now has fixed shutter of 1/60 sec. and brand new flash which performs especially well in low light conditions. Moreover, the little sensors above the lens control the brightness to help you get the best image despite the fact what settings you are using. Users also have the option to manually control the exposure depending on the environment they are shooting.

The great thing about Mini 8 is that it's slimmer and lighter, still providing same quality and accuracy. It's extremely easy to use and can capture some decent photos even if you don't have previous experience in photography. The camera also performs especially well in bright light, which is a clear sign that this might be the perfect outdoor camera for you.

Instax Mini 8 also has an improved viewfinder and new high-key mode which takes brighter pictures than a previous model and most importantly it's perfect for portraits. Now it provides clear and sharp images with a wonderful soft tone in any light condition. Moreover, the camera has an automatic exposure measurement, which is normally found on more expensive models and it helps to capture perfect images every time you press the shutter button.

Note: You have to buy a film separately, otherwise you won't be able to use your camera because it's not included in the box. Plus it's worth mentioning that you only get 10 shots with one package, so you don't want to mess up a single picture.

In conclusion, this is an awesome Polaroid if you're looking to capture decent images with an accurate exposure level. Mini 8 is a budget version of the premium instant camera that has all the same features which can be found on other expensive models. But the only thing I would add is probably a selfie mirror because it's really hard to take a picture and frame yourself in the camera without it. Other than that it's a great Polaroid especially if you are on a budget, but still, need a compact camera to get high-quality instant images.

Pros 

  • Slimmer and Lighter Body
  • Relatively Affordable Film
  • Fujinon 60mm f/12.7 Lens
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • Built-In Flash
  • Uses AA Batteries

Cons

  • Not fully Automatic
  • No Selfie Mirror

Premium Instant Camera


Leica Sofort

Leica Sofort

Leica was always known for its high-quality products and their new camera Leica Sofort is certainly no different. Despite the fact that camera is pretty affordable for Leica, it's still much more expensive than just about any other instant camera on the market. The reason is that Sofort has an array of new features and functions which can not be found on other cameras in this category. In addition, Leica is really simple to operate and allows photographers to create stunning images while remaining compact shape.

The build quality is also premium and the overall angular shape provides better grip for different shooting situations. Despite the compact shape camera has a verity of shooting modes, and most importantly it allows the users to manually adjust the focusing distance, flash settings as well as exposure compensation. Therefore every image is completely unique and original.

The Leica Sofort is also world's first instant camera that has a 34-millimeter lens and like all Leica cameras, it also produces perfect images in low light condition. Moreover, a new optical viewfinder is pretty accurate for simple and easy composition. Plus the redesigned shutter button on the top and a tripod mount brings new possibilities for still photography, which is a nice addition from Leica.

The only thing that I don't like is the fact that you have to turn the camera to the right if you want to get a portrait orientation, otherwise, the border which you can write on will be above the photo. I find it a bit counterintuitive since I normally turn my cameras to the left if I want a portrait shot. Plus Sofort is still totally plastic, no metal or other fancy stuff which is a bit disappointing considering the price. However, it still looks very stylish.

While Sofort offers some quite great manual control, its breeze to take pictures with its auto mode, which is the most fun way to capture memorable moments of your life. The camera also gives you the option to choose between self-portrait, party, sport and macro mode. Plus you can also make the image darker or brighter with the sun icon and more importantly completely disable the flashlight while shooting completely in manual.

So is Sofort worth it?  Well, it's probably the hardest question you could ask about it. Instant photography is not about dynamic range or corner sharpness, it's all about fun. The Sofort definitely takes all these boxes and if you want a rational argument here's one. Even if it's pretty expensive it's Leica, so you won't be able to find such high-quality product on the market. Moreover if we take a look at the returning of instant photography from a more philosophical perspective we are knee-deep in the digital age, nobody prints images for more than ten years, all our photos and memories live in a digital format. I'm usually never watching them again, but holding a photo in your hands is totally unique feel. Now that's why it was necessary for a film to come back sooner or later and the instant film is a more radical statement than just normal film, because it's unreproducible, which means the picture you took exists only in that frame and you can't copy it. So whenever you give a photo to a person you literally give a piece of your time which is a really captivating concept in the age of digital photography.

There was film-only and after it there is digital-only and now it seems that maybe they can peacefully coexist bringing us the synthesis of photography. But will instant photography become even more popular or really fade away again, well with cameras like the Leica Sofort I can definitely say it's here to stay.

Pros 

  • An Affordable Leica
  • 34mm (equivalent) Lens
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • Built-In Flash
  • 100-Photo Battery Life
  • Sport and Macro Modes

Cons

  • Niche Product

Best For Beginner Photographers


Instax mini 50s

Instax mini 50s

By reviewing different instant camera models I can say for sure that they are pretty costly especially when it comes to films. So the ideal instant camera for me would be the one which costs around $50 and it provides same image quality as other cameras in the segment. So an absolute winner in this category is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 50s, which is a perfect for parties and even for basic photography if you are not looking for more creative exposures or some extreme details in the image.

The great thing about Instax 50s is that there are no extra buttons so it's pretty simple to operate even for the beginner. Plus the compact body feels really durable and makes it a perfect device to carry at your next party. The ergonomics are also really good, especially the battery compartment at the back, which protrudes slightly from the body, creating a nice area for you to firmly grip the camera. Despite the solid build quality, the 50s is entirely made of shiny plastic, but again for this price, this is a simple yet impressive portable camera for instant photography.

The thing that I personally don’t like is that this camera comes with CR2 batteries which are pretty hard to find and they are not rechargeable. However, the good news is that surprisingly these batteries tend to last much longer than AA batteries. Another thing that I would like to have is more manual control like we have on Instax Mini 90 and on other instant cameras.

The Instax Mini 50s also feature few controls including flash mode, landscape mode, as well as a button for exposure compensation. Other then that it pretty simple and straight forward and I think you won’t need any experience to operate the camera. In addition, the 50s is really flexible and the cartridge indicator is a nice feature, which helps to find out how many films you have left in the camera.

To sum up, the camera is simple to operate and easy to carry especially if you are going to a party, or on a trip with your friends. It comes with built-in flash and a self-portrait timer, which I think is a great addition to this type of camera. So I highly recommend Instax 50s to enthusiast photographers who are on a budget but still want to try the instant camera.

Pros 

  • Shutter Speeds of 1/3 to 1/400 sec.
  • Built-In Intelligent Flash
  • Focuses From 1' (30 cm) to Infinity
  • Exposure Compensation
  • Self-Timer
  • Landscape and Fill-Flash Modes

Cons

  • Uses CR2 Batteries
  • Fully Automatic Operation Only

Classic Polaroid Camera


Polaroid PIC-300

Polaroid PIC-300

When you think of a Polaroid instant camera this might not be the model that you envision, but Pic-300 still gives you everything that's great about instant photography with an updated twist. Taking a look at the design as you can see it's available in a variety of colors, giving it sort of a contemporary look. The camera is also designed to be easy to hold and fun to use. There are 4 scene settings as well as automatic flash and manual exposure compensation, in order to get best possible shot every time. But most importantly all these settings are easy to change and no previous experience is required to properly operate the camera.

Pic-300 is the modern version of the old-school Polaroid which we all love and it's perfect for your wedding, anniversary, birthday or even a big event. The camera takes business card size instant color photos with dimensions of 2.1x3.4 inches, but the total size of the picture will actually be a bit smaller. Like you probably remember you can watch your photos instantly develop in front of your eyes which is obviously one of the main draws to this style of camera. The compact body makes it perfect for traveling or outdoor activities to capture exciting moments with your friends.

Film wise this Pic-300 works perfectly with Polaroid 300 instant film, which is not included with the camera. So I highly recommend you to buy the special cartridges once you decide to purchase the camera, otherwise, you won't be able to use it. Also, camera features special indicator at the back, so you always know how many pictures are left before you change the film. When the camera isn't used for 5 minutes, all the lamps automatically turn off and the camera enters an energy-saving state. So in order to reset the system, you should press the shutter button or push the lens section.

So if you are looking for that nod back to your own childhood or just like old school things, in general, this camera is a safe bet. With an ergonomic design and decent quality it's an ideal pick for young photographer's who love to experiment with instant cameras.

Pros 

  • Electronic Shutter 1/60 sec.
  • Auto Flash In Low Light
  • Uses AA Batteries
  • Stylish Design
  • Works With Polaroid 300 Instant Film
  • Four Scene Settings

Cons

  • Not Suitable For Action Shots
  • Small Images Don't Recapture The Classic Polaroid Vibe

Analog Instant Camera


Impossible Project I-1

Impossible Project I-1

The impossible project is the group responsible for resurrecting the old Polaroid instant film after its inventor discontinued both the film and the camera production. The company just started shipping its first camera the I-1, which is considered as a Fuji Instax for artists. The camera itself looks like a piece of Modern Art which means you'll probably love it or hate. Personally, I'm not fond of the gray angular shape, but the designers do face some limitations in reinventing the camera. So I would say I-1 is something you have never seen before and it's all about the future of instant photopgeaphy.

The camera itself is really intuitive and provides different visual signs to precisely control the settings. For instance, the red light next to the film door shows whether the battery is sufficiently charged, and when the light starts blinking it means that the camera doesn't have enough power to support the flesh. Also, the ring flash provides visual information about how much photos you have left to shoot as well as the battery life, by the number of lights around the lens. Plus the Project I-1 comes with different accessories including the hand strap and tripod socket, which you can attach to most of the standard tripods pretty easily.

Impossible Project I-1

The special App is also very simple to use and at the same time really helpful. It gives the photographers ability to accurately control shutter speed and aperture, so that way you will be able to create instant pictures that were never possible before. Moreover, you have the option to choose from one of 5 lenses: Macro, Close Up, Near, Mid and Far. Once you know the optimal "Focus zone" for each lens, you will be able to capture clear and sharp images with a wonderful soft tone. In addition, you can remotely control the camera and use the self-timer to put yourself in the frame. The I-1 App also gives photographers ability to manually adjust the focus distance and flash, which gives you the full control of every exposure.

Tip: In order to frame your subject and get a well-composed shot, you need to move the viewfinder about 4 to 5 centimeters away from your eye and then line up the silver dot, in the middle of the circle. Also, while shooting you have to remember that the viewfinder sits above the camera's lens and at close distances you need to aim your camera a little higher. Plus to be more accurate you can use the shutter button to focus on your subject by gently pressing it. However, you have to remember that the focusing works best when you have your subject in the middle of a composition.

For the best results place your subject in one of the sweet spots and try to shoot in bright light, because that way more of the image area will be in focus

When the instant film first came out in 1972 it was the most incredible product people had ever seen, but what's amazing about this product is that it's still magical today. life is so busy and fast-paced when you think about composing that image, it's almost like pausing the time. The thing is that there hasn't been a camera system developed specifically for this format more than 20 years, so this fact really motivated the team behind the Project I-1 to create something unique for the future of instant cameras. The Impossible Project I-1 is really a great point-and-shoot camera but mainly for photographers and artists, because they want more control and the following camera has everything they need for their creative work.

Pros 

  • Manual Control Via The App
  • Pretty Accurate Autofocus
  • 12 LED Ring Flash
  • Wide-Angle Prime Lens
  • Compatible With Original Film
  • Supports Autoexposure

Cons

  • Battery Drains Pretty Fast
  • Flash Doesn't Work When Power Is Low.

Final Words – Wrapping It Up

After reviewing different Polaroid cameras I came to the conclusion that each of them is unique in some way. 

But the hardest question is - Which one should you pick?

I think all of them are great , but it would better if you get one for yourself and really feel the magic of instant photography. Because at the end of the day, all that really matters is the fun you had shooting instant photos with your friends.

let me know in the comments below which one is your favorite!

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