How to Pick the Right Instant Camera for You (Buying Guide)

Instant cameras, also known as Polaroid camera, are self-developing films that allow your camera to print pictures immediately. Instant cameras were the first type of advanced camera equipment before smartphones, DLSRs and point-and-shoots. Digital photography made them obsolete.

The popularity of vintage gadgets has seen a resurgence of the beloved gadget even in 2022. Young shutterbugs love cameras that can print because they provide instant satisfaction. A camera that prints instantly is a must-have for any photographer. Nothing can compare to having a tangible reminder of your most memorable moments.

instant cameras, fujifilm instant camera printing

You may feel overwhelmed by all the options and formats available when you’re looking for an instant camera. We will help you navigate the maze of instant cameras to find the one that suits your needs. Below is a selection of cameras that can print. Each camera has its strengths, and each one suits different shooting styles.

Film Size

The most important thing when choosing an instant pic camera is choosing a size for the film. Are you looking for something small and portable to take with you to a party or event? You want film with a vintage look and a square image. Do you prefer something larger and more expansive? Take a look at the photos below to see which style is best for you.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, Instant Film Camera, Lilac Purple

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, Instant Film Camera, Lilac Purple

FujiFilm’s Instax series makes many cameras that can print. Mini 11 Instant Camera has an automatic exposure function that removes the wheel you see on older models. This feature is fantastic as it eliminates the guesswork from the exposure. The improved selfie mode allows you to have the camera nearer to you while still keeping your face in focus.

Fujifilm Instax Square SM1 Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm instax SQUARE SQ1 Instant Film Camera, Terracotta Orange

Square SQ1 is a camera that produces square film. This format is most commonly known as instant film. The SQ1 compact instant camera is small and lightweight. It has a modern design and clean appearance. The SQ1 also features a close-up lens, which allows you to reach the camera up to 11.81 inches or 30 cm close. Look at that color!

Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300 Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300 Instant Film Camera, Black

Wide aspect films allow you to capture more people, landscapes, and any subject within a wider frame. This film is ideal for the Instax Wide 300. It has a 40cm focal length lens that allows you to shoot with great flexibility. The camera feels great in your hand. It feels very solid in the hand and looks very similar to a digital fixed-lens camera from years ago.

Polaroid Originals Now Instant Film Camera i-Type

Polaroid Originals Now i Type Instant Film Camera, Red

This is the great-granddaddy in instant photography. It’s the descendent from the company that invented instant photography. This is the latest entry to the Polaroid Originals i-Type family. The Polaroid Originals i-Type, the latest version of the One Step camera that was introduced in the 1970s, is the latest development. Two lenses are available to aid in the autofocus. To make it even more creative, the camera has a built-in double exposure mode. The camera also has a self-timer which is unusually not found on many newer cameras. You can also save money by using i-Type film, which does not have a built-in battery.

Lomography Lomo’Instant camera with 3x lenses

Lomography Lomo’Instant Camera, 3x Lenses, white

Lomo’Instant offers so much power and versatility for such a small price. You get a great instant camera that can shoot Instax Mini in four different styles for less than $100. The camera comes with a built-in wide-angle lens, fish-eye attachment, portrait attachment and close-up lens attachment. This camera offers many options for shooting, not only do they give you more options in your field of vision but also offer many other options. Multiple exposures can be taken and flash modes can also be used. The bulb function allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as possible. This instant pic camera is ideal for photographers who wish to create light paintings, long exposures, and other creative aspects that require longer exposure times.

Kodak MiniShot Instant Digital Camera

KODAK MiniShot Instant Digital Camera, Black

Kodak’s MiniShot Instant Camera is a departure from traditional instant photography. It focuses more on photo printing. These results are exactly what you would expect for a portable printer. The camera is at the border between digital and analog. The analog side of the camera is easy to use. The camera has only a few shots, so you need to be careful about choosing the right shot. The Minishot’s digital side has a tiny digital preview screen that shows you exactly what you will receive before you print. You can print photos from your smartphone or any other Bluetooth-connected device using Bluetooth. It also has filters and borders you can add to your photo before it is printed.

MiNT InstantKon R70

MiNT Instantkon Large Format Rangefinder Instant Cam with Real Image Viewer, Manual & Automatic Mode Control, Black

InstantKon RF70 uses Instax wide-format film. It has a pull-out bellows system and full manual control. It is the only fully-manual instant camera. The glass lens can be adjusted from f/5.6 up to f/22, and the shutter speed can go from bulb to 1/500 seconds. Combining this fast lens with the 800 ISO of Instax Wide film, you can get more light to your film faster. This is great for low light situations.

Which is better, Fujifilm or Polaroid?

It’s not difficult to ask which company has the best instant pic camera offerings in terms of image quality and performance. Fujifilm and Polaroid are the top two players in the market. Although Polaroid is often associated with instant photos because of their role in launching the industry, it is important to remember that the current Polaroid company wasn’t the original manufacturer decades ago.

The price of Polaroid models is usually higher than that of Fujifilm instant cameras. They are also less like Fujifilm instant cameras. Despite this, image quality is fairly comparable between the two companies.

Fujifilm is a great option if you are looking for a durable, fun toy camera that can be printed instantly. Polaroid is a fantastic choice for photographers who want a retro look but with a classic name and lots of film options.

Are Instant Cameras Worth It?

Print-friendly cameras have been around for decades. It’s satisfying to be rewarded with a printed copy right after you have taken the photo. Instant access was revolutionary when Polaroid was first released. With digital photography’s pervasiveness, we can now get the same instant gratification from any other source. Instant camera prints will never stand up to the same quality as professionally-printed images taken with a more robust camera. Instant cameras can be fun and offer a unique way to explore photography. They are quick, simple, and tangible.