The 8 Best Instant Cameras

Updated February 06, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. You might've thought they were as dead as the dodo, but instant cameras are back with high-tech features to meet today's demands. With all the style and pizzazz of Polaroids from back in the day, these cameras will help you capture everything from portraits to still lifes to candid party shots. The retro feel is baked right in. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best instant camera on Amazon.

8. Fujifilm Hello Kitty

The Fujifilm Hello Kitty makes a great gift for the budding young photographer in your family. It has a pink bow and accentuated cat's ears, plus it comes with a pink strap, making it a stylish accessory whether or not you actually use it to take pictures.
  • fits nicely in the hand
  • includes a pack of hello kitty film
  • images aren't the sharpest
Brand Fujifilm
Model P10GLB3501A
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Pop Digital

Thanks to their ink-free printing process, the Pop Digital from Polaroid allows you to combine the ease of digital photography with the fun of instant. It features a sleek design with a large LCD on the back that allows you to review images before printing them.
  • available in several fun colors
  • makes square polaroid-style prints
  • companion app is prone to crashing
Brand Polaroid
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Mini 90 Neo

The Mini 90 Neo by Fujifilm is crafted with both ease of use and high-end style in mind. It automatically detects the level of ambient brightness and adjusts its flash and shutter speed accordingly, making it a great choice in all settings.
  • built-in timer for group photos
  • bulb double exposure and macro modes
  • some units misread exposure count
Brand Fujifilm
Model 16404571
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide

For those who like to experiment with their images, the Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide offers plenty of opportunities. It comes with standard, close-up, and wide-angle lenses, colored gels for its built-in flash, and can be set to take long exposures for experimental shots.
  • can do multiple exposures per image
  • uses instax wide film
  • considerably expensive
Brand Lomography
Model pending
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Instax Wide 300

The Instax Wide 300 has a small LCD panel on the back that displays focal distance and film count, and it automatically flashes in low-light, making for great nighttime shots. It makes setting up and taking great photos easy, even for those with little experience.
  • produces crisp and wide prints
  • easy-to-hold side grip
  • lens extension is a bit fragile
Brand Fujifilm
Model Instax Wide 300
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Leica Sofort

From one of the most respected names in photography comes the Leica Sofort, a compact and stylish 21st century answer to the retro-revival trend. It uses the popular and widely available Instax Mini film format and boasts high-quality optics that are hard to beat.
  • precise adjustable focus
  • eight different modes to choose from
  • elegant matching strap
Brand Leica
Model FBA_19100
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Polaroid OneStep 2

With all the style of the 1970s models on which its design is based, the Polaroid OneStep 2 has been updated with a slew of 21st century features. It's easy to use right out the box, has a rechargeable battery, and makes prints with those iconic white borders.
  • adjustable exposure settings
  • available in white or black
  • backed by a 1-year warranty
Brand Polaroid Originals
Model 9003
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is small enough to take anywhere with you, and prints beautiful wallet-sized keepsakes. It comes with a macro lens attachment for close-up shots and a built-in selfie mirror for when it's time for your moment in front of the camera.
  • comes in fun pastel colors
  • available bundled with film
  • high-key mode for portraits
Brand Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

People Still Use Instant Cameras?

Instant cameras have come a long way since the days of the orginal Polaroid. Since the good old days, many companies have capitalized on Polaroid's original idea and developed instant cameras applicable to modern day use.

Today's instant cameras are digital cameras with built-in printers. Unlike the original instant cameras, they have features of a regular digital camera with the added option to print your favorite photos on the spot.

Most of today's instant cameras are small and can fit in your pocket or the palm of your hand. They don't always have as much memory as the average, more expensive, digital camera, but they are perfect for use at parties or on day trips where you might want to instantly compile some cute photos for your scrapbook.

The size of the instant photos you get depends on the type of camera you purchase. Many instant photos are printed the size of your average business card. Others print at half of that size. You can choose from cameras with basic features that focus, snap, and print; or you can invest in an instant camera with a few more bells and whistles that auto focus and make minor edits to your photos, such as removing red eye, before printing.

Two of the top companies that make excellent instant cameras with digital capabilities are Polaroid and Fujifilm. As you can see, Polaroid is still a popular name in the camera game.

You Need An Instant Camera

You might be wondering why you would even want to use an instant camera with all of today's tehcnology at your disposal. After all, even if you don't shell out for a fancy digital camera, you can still take high quality photos on your cell phone, right?

It's true, but ask yourself this: How often do you actually take the time to print and enjoy the hundreds, possibly thousands of photos on your cell phone or digital camera? How often do you take the time to transfer all of your photos to your computer, pick out your favorites, upload them to your favorite photo site, and print them?

We think there's nothing quite like the convenience of instant film and holding that special photo in your hand, carrying it in your wallet, or pasting into your favorite scrapbook.

There are several instances in which an instant camera comes in handy.

The most obvious advantage to an instant camera is the "instant" part. There's no need to head to the nearest photo kiosk, upload your photos, and print. You don't have to take the time to upload to your laptop and print on your home printer. Snap the picture, and you're holding a print in your hand seconds later.

Instant photos also make great party favors. Kids love instant cameras, and if you are hosting a birthday party, you can snap photos and hand them out to your guests before they leave said party. Everyone has a great time, and your guests have a unique way to remember the day.

We've already mentioned this one, but the third reason to use an instant camera is scrapbooking. It saves time and effort and gives you fun, retro-looking images that you can paste into your favorite event or vacation scrapbook.

Finally, if you are a teache or work with children, instant cameras can provide opportunities for unique craft projects*. You can snap a picture of each child in your class so they can make a personalized card for Mother's Day or let them create a class scrapbook of their most recent field trip.

Use your imagination, and you can find even more ways that an instant camera can be used. If you're old enough to remember the original Polaroid cameras, you will love the added element of nostalgia.

A Brief History Of The Instant Camera

The first instant camera was invented in 1923 by Samuel Shlafrock. However, it is Edwin H. Land who is credited with the development and marketing of the first commercially used instant camera.

Land is best known as one of the co-founders of Polaroid, possibly the most recognized name in the field of instant film and cameras. These cameras worked by loading film into its chamber and snapping a photograph that would then be printed.

While Polaroid remained highly popular, it wasn't long before other camera companies began producing their own versions of the instant camera. You might recognize some of these names: Kodak, Fujifilm, Konica, Keystone, and Minolta.

Polaroid thought that Kodak's version of the instant camera constituted patent infringement and slapped them with a lawsuit. Kodak was forced to stop production and reimburse many of their customers because they could no longer purchase the film needed to operate their cameras.

The digital age put a strain on the instant camera business, and Polaroid was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in 2008. In 2009, they were purchased by PLR IP Holdings, LLC and continued to manufacture instant camera-related products. There is a current market for film for the vintage Polaroid instant cameras found among serious photographers who appreciate the classic look of old Polaroid images, so this film is still in production.

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Last updated on February 06, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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