In recent years, the popularity of instant cameras has once again begun to rise and low-price options have hit the market. They play up the nostalgia of days long past, where Kodak film cameras were used for an easy point-and-click photo format to make beautiful, faded photos filled with memories. Nowadays, Fujifilm is at the forefront of this movement, but many other manufacturers from Canon to Leica have joined the bandwagon and started producing their own cameras.
While digital cameras are reliable and easy, few things beat having an instant print of your photos. Here are our tops picks for instant cameras and how to choose the perfect one for you. We loved Fujifilm's Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera, with its retro look, flash abilities, and various features. Read on for nine other great picks, and read until the end for a buying guide full of useful shopping tips.
A digital camera may have all the latest features and great photo quality to boot, but there's just something extra special about holding an instantly-printed photo in your hand. Here are three reasons on why you should consider buying an instant camera.
Today, almost everything is done digitally. In fact, we spend most of our waking hours browsing and being connected online. It might be worth taking a step back and going back to times when technology wasn't so important and physical items were of greater value.
If you want to give a small but thoughtful gift, a perfect way to do it could be through a picture. Have you ever been traveling and had a hard time saying goodbye to your newfound friends? You can leave them a personalized note and a photo of you together that's ready as quickly as a smartphone photo.
Back in the old days, developing photos involved spending time in a dark room and seeing the process of your film come to life. Even though that era is long gone, the magic of the development process is still alive in instant photography. Seeing your picture print out and having to wait for it to show up is exciting, especially for younger ones.
Instant cameras can also give you a greater appreciation for film and living in the moment since you will no longer have as many attempts as you want for the "perfect" photo. So, even though you may not get the perfect pose, you will have a genuinely candid photo of that moment.
Besides being a perfect asset at a party, instant cameras are also fun to play around with using different modes and filters. Take photos of your friends in vintage mode, or adjust the flash to snap great quality photos in different colored filters.
There are plenty of accessories that go well with instant cameras. Different strap bags and a removable selfie mirror are just a few that will make your photo taking journey much more fun!
Without further ado, here are our top picks of the best instant cameras we found after careful research of reviewer comments. They're ranked based on factors such as their lens, flash features, and reviewer satisfaction.
*Please note that these products were chosen through extensive research and by combing through customer reviews by our staff at mybest. They are not necessarily affiliated with Melissa Castor.
|Dimensions||5.9 x 4.37 x 3.8 in.|
|Batteries||1 Lithium ion battery (1100mAh), rechargeable via USB|
|Flash||Built-in vacuum discharge tube strobe flash system|
|Dimensions||4.5 x 3.61 x 2.25 in.|
|Batteries||1 Lithium metal battery|
|Flash||Automatic electronic flash, forced firing mode, flash off mode, red eye reduction mode|
|Lens||60 mm, f/12.7|
|Dimensions||6.6 x 3.7 x 4.7 in.|
|Batteries||4 AA 1.5V alkaline batteries (LR6)|
|Dimensions||6.1 x 6.1 x 4.1 in.|
|Batteries||2 CR2/DL CR2 batteries|
|Flash||In macro mode: Built-in automatic flash; In all other modes: Flash on|
|Dimensions||5.79 x 4.06 x 3.39 in.|
|Batteries||1 lithium ion battery|
|Flash||Auto, compulsory flash, suppressed flash|
|Dimensions||5.5 x 5 x 3 in.|
|Batteries||2 Lithium ion batteries|
|Flash||Constant firing flash|
|Dimensions||4.72 x 2.95 x 0.98 in.|
|Batteries||1 lithium ion battery|
|Lens||3.4mm, f/2.8 (1 in. equivalent)|
|Dimensions||4.8 x 3.1 x 9 in.|
|Batteries||Built-in rechargeable battery|
|Dimensions||4.83 x 3.11 x 1 in.|
|Batteries||1 lithium ion battery|
|Dimensions||4.4 x 3.7 x 5.9 in.|
|Batteries||Built-in 750mAh lithium-ion battery|
Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera
Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera
Instax Square SQ6
Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera
Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
Snap Instant Digital Camera
Smile Instant Print Digital Camera
Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera
Convenient Digital Features in a Classic Polaroid Look
The Camera With the Best Photo Quality
Wide Format Film and Tripod Compatible Camera
Print Out Square-Shaped Photos With This Camera
An Ultra-Compact Instant Camera With Audio Features
Intuitive, Simple Design With a Selfie Mirror
Increase Memory Space Easily on This Small Polaroid
A Digital Spin on an Instant Film Camera
Waterproof Prints That Double as Stickers
|Dimensions||5.9 x 4.37 x 3.8 in.||4.5 x 3.61 x 2.25 in.||6.6 x 3.7 x 4.7 in.||6.1 x 6.1 x 4.1 in.||5.79 x 4.06 x 3.39 in.||5.5 x 5 x 3 in.||4.72 x 2.95 x 0.98 in.||4.8 x 3.1 x 9 in.||4.83 x 3.11 x 1 in.|
|Weight||17.28 oz.||10.4 oz.||33.6 oz.||8 oz.||8.9 oz.||12.8 oz.||7.5 oz.||16 oz.||7.05 oz.|
|Batteries||1 Lithium ion battery (1100mAh), rechargeable via USB||1 Lithium metal battery||4 AA 1.5V alkaline batteries (LR6)||2 CR2/DL CR2 batteries||1 lithium ion battery||2 Lithium ion batteries||1 lithium ion battery||Built-in rechargeable battery||1 lithium ion battery|
|Flash||Built-in vacuum discharge tube strobe flash system||Automatic electronic flash, forced firing mode, flash off mode, red eye reduction mode||Automatic built-in||In macro mode: Built-in automatic flash; In all other modes: Flash on||Auto, compulsory flash, suppressed flash||Constant firing flash||Not provided||Automatic flash||Built-in flash|
|Lens||103mm, f/14||60 mm, f/12.7||95mm, f/14||65.75mm, f/12.6||28mm, f/2||60mm, f/12.7||3.4mm, f/2.8 (1 in. equivalent)||8mm||08mm, f/2|
Melissa Castor is a concert photographer who enjoys traveling for the music, and taking photographs of the sights along the way. There are so many places to see, and she's trying to share a little of what she sees with the world. We asked her for some expert insight on how to choose the best instant camera for you. You can check out her Flickr to see some of her work!
Besides being small, handy, and perfect for people on the go, what else should you be looking for in a camera? Here four major points to keep in mind as you shop.
Taking a good photo often requires a lot of thought in the placement of the object you want to capture. The photo format, which defines the overall end result of your image, is also a huge consideration when buying a camera. Wide and square are the most common formats. Here's how to choose between the two.
The two most popular formats of polaroid photos are rectangular or square. The rectangular format is quite small - usually measuring two by three inches - and can fit nicely inside your pocket or your purse.
There are also many instant cameras that produce square prints. It can be difficult to perfectly center and balance the images in a square frame. You might need to practice a few times before getting the hang of it.
However, square formatting offers a nostalgic effect. It looks like a classic Polaroid image - a nice all-round photo frame that is perfect to use for amateur photographers and professionals alike.
Consider what you want to do with your photo once it's printed. Are you going it in your wallet to look at often? Scrapbook it? Frame it and hang it on a wall? There are many possibilities and that will help determine what format frame you will want to use.
At a party or any other occasion where you have a lot of friends and family gathered, it's always a good idea to capture moments with photos. However, oftentimes, it can be a struggle for everyone to fit into the picture frame, especially if you're attempting a selfie!
An instant camera with a wide format allows you to fit more people into the picture without having to squeeze everyone into the frame. However, accommodating this format type means the camera has to be designed a bit bulkier and heavier. Wide formats are also perfect for landscape and panoramic-type shots.
Wide formats will allow you to fit more in the frame, but you will lose some of the details you would get with a closer-up photo. These cameras also tend to be heavier, so keep in mind the weight of the camera if you'll be traveling with it.
Focal length and aperture are the two basic indicators of lens performance. In this section, we'll show you why they are important!
Focal length is represented in millimeters (mm) and determines the field of view or how much of a scene is captured by your camera. A short focal length would be around 14mm, and 35mm could be considered as a wide field of view.
A camera with a short focal length will allow you to capture more of the scene in front of you. Meanwhile, a longer focal length like 85mm and 105mm means a smaller angle of view. It's useful when you want to take a photo of an object that's far away from you since the distant object will be magnified to fit in the frame.
Picture in your mind's eye what you want the picture to look like before you snap the shutter! Are you going for a close up, or do you want an entire landscape? What will you typically be shooting with an instant camera?
If you'll only be shooting friends and family close up, that will require a different type of focal length compared to photographing a wide landscape scene.
Aperture is defined as the opening in a lens where light enters the camera. It's expressed in f-numbers such as f/2, f/8, f/14.
A low aperture allows more light to enter the camera. So if you tend to take photos in a low-light situation, go for a camera with a smaller f-number such as f/1.4 and f/2.8. A low aperture can create the shallow depth of field that makes your subject stand out while blurring your background. So it's great for portraits as well.
On the other hand, a high aperture number like f/16 means that less light can enter the camera. So, make sure your surrounding is well lit so that the photo doesn't turn out dark. Also, a high aperture can show everything in focus and is great for group shots or landscapes.
You can't always control the light in which you'll want to take a photo, and that's okay. That's why cameras have aperture to allow for more or less light. The bigger the f-stop, the less light will come in. The smaller the f-stop, the more light will come in. It's opposite of what you would expect!
Maybe film photography is a long-time hobby of yours, or maybe you just want a camera to help you capture brief moments at social events. Whatever you're shooting and no matter what skill level you are, there are certain camera features that can help you get the picture you want.
One of the unfortunate problems of taking a large group photo is that one person is nearly always missing - the photographer! This goes doubly so for instant cameras, which tend to be point-and-click.
Make sure to look for an instant camera with a self-timer if you plan on taking these types of pictures. You can just set the time on the camera, prop it up on something, and then join the group for the photo!
There isn't always a friendly stranger around willing to take a photo for you, and that's where the beauty of self-timers come in. Self-timers allow you to be in the shot with friends or to take photos of yourself when you're alone! It's a great feature to have on any camera, especially an instant camera.
Do you love instant cameras and their features but still want the convenience of newer technology? Nowadays, many instant cameras have new digital features along with their classic analog charm. Specifically, some products are rechargeable via USB, so there's no need for batteries!
And with an instant camera with an option for Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily share your best photos to a smartphone or other device. You can enjoy your printed photo and save a digital copy for your Instagram feed! This function allows you to print photos directly from your devices as well.
Many instant cameras have automatic features such as automatic exposure control or automatic flash. With them, you won't have to think too much about all the settings and can take your photo right away.
However, for those who want to take control of the photo, look for an instant camera with a manual mode. It will allow you to manually change the settings yourself and be creative!
You don't need to be a professional photographer to enjoy using an instant camera, but sometimes it is nice to have more control over your settings. Automatic isn't always the best option depending on your lighting situation, and manual mode gives the control you want to switch features around.
Selfies are an important feature to consider when buying a camera. The selfie mirror is an extremely convenient tool that can help make sure that your selfies come out perfectly!
Though a selfie mirror isn't always included with instant cameras, you can often find attachment mirrors sold separately. They help you to center the image and understand where you're pointing the camera in relation to yourself, so it's a feature you should definitely consider if you plan on taking lots of selfies.
There's nothing worse than taking a selfie and having your friend's head get cut off. Selfie mirrors help solve that problem! They aren't perfectly clear like camera phones, but they do allow you to see yourself. Some cameras have a little mirror built in, but if not, you can buy an attachment that will simply clip onto your camera lens.
Whether you want to amp up your simple point-and-shoot photos or you want to evolve your instant film hobby into a lifestyle, there are plenty of add-ons that can enhance your photography experience.
Why not add a color close-up lens to your instant camera to enhance your photos? With lenses coming in colors such as blue, red, or yellow, you can play with your photos to get different filter effects depending on your target object and surroundings.
They're often simple to attach to your camera and are a fun and easy way to get creative with your pictures.
You never know when you will get the best opportunity for a great shot. With a camera strapped around your neck, you'll always be ready. You won't have to dig around your backpack to find your camera, meaning you won't miss your chance for the perfect shot!
Being able to carry your instant camera on your neck also means an extra layer of security. Even if it slips out of your hand, it'll still be safe with the strap attached and won't fall to the ground, where it could crack and break. Some instant camera bundles include a strap, so read product descriptions carefully.
Straps are available to wear around your neck or on your wrist. Both are convenient ways to keep your camera handy without worrying if you may drop it.
I highly recommend having a strap on your camera to keep it safe at all times, and a lot of cameras often come with a strap in the box when you purchase it.
Make sure you keep your camera protected with a camera bag. While traveling, your camera is often one of your most important items, so treat it as one.
There are many different designs for camera bags, ranging from extremely simple ones to many-pocketed ones. You can choose from harder or softer fabrics, depending on your preferences - though hard cases are a bit safer if you're afraid of dropping the camera too much.
There are water-resistant options for cases and bags if you want more protection, too. You can even take fashion into account when choosing a bag, by color coordinating it with your outfit.
A camera bag is a great addition to your gear. When you're traveling, you don't want people to know what you're carrying, and a camera bag helps keep your gear both private and secure. It will also keep your camera snug as camera bags are more padded to protect gear in contrast to a standard purse or backpack.
Unsatisfied with only simple, white-bordered printed photos? There are so many more options for frames that instant cameras can offer. You can choose to change the type of film you use and purchase ones with fun colors or character borders.
This is a fun way to be creative while taking pictures and adds more charm to a photo album or gift. Certain cameras are only compatible with certain kinds of film, though, so double-check the product description for both the camera and film before purchasing!
Looking to get creative with your shots? Not every instant film camera can do this, but a couple can be used to take beautiful double exposure shots. In double exposure, you allow the camera to take two shots layered on top of each other in unexpected and oftentimes aesthetic ways. To learn how to do it, take a look at this video by Photography Concentrate.
There are more options for photography tools other than just instant cameras. There are phone attachments, camera lenses, digital cameras, and classic film cameras. If you're considering something else, or wanting help deciding on accessories, we've got you covered.
When considering buying an instant camera, you want to look out for the format of the film the camera can use, what features it comes with, and what additions you can add to it. In conclusion, here are Melissa Castor's closing words of advice:
"Just like with a standard roll of film, instant film also expires. But fear not - even if it's technically expired, you can still use it! Sometimes, there are even light leaks or other cool effects that may occur. You just never know - that's the beauty of film. Each shot will always be unique."
Author: Vicky Taylor
If you love taking pictures with your phone, you don't want to miss out VSCO, an editing app recommended by photographer Michelle Tirronen. It offers a lot of filters and editing features that will help you tap into your creativity!
Home electronics, PC, camera
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management
Credit cards and loans