Best Instant Camera: Camera Equipment Chosen by the Experts

instant camera

We have been caught up in our digital world for more than a decade. Gone are the days when you used to load film into a camera and then have pictures printed when that film was full. Even further removed are the old Polaroid instant cameras with the image produced magically in your hands a couple of minutes after the picture was snapped. If you ever had a Polaroid, you remember shaking the picture to try to get it developed faster so you could make that sought-after image appear quicker. Do you know why the Polaroid was invented? It was to give people instant gratification and access to pictures. The traditional film method yielded a set of prints days or weeks after the photos were taken.

In our digital world, there seems to be a push lately to return to the nostalgic ways of the instant camera. In fact, for the past few Christmases, it was one of the top 10 gifts for teens and moms alike. Kids as young as 8 years old are clamoring for the small device that allows them to take a picture and get results in their hot little hands within minutes. If you have decided to take a shot on an instant camera, we've compiled the following list of the six best available models out there today.

Comparison Table

How We Came Up With This List

gray and black Polaroid camera on gray surface

Image source: unsplash.com

You want instant pictures, and researching cameras to find the best one to suit your needs may seem daunting since there are so many offerings available. That's why we put our list-making skills to task to come up with the six best options for you. We considered features such as price, customer ratings and picture size while devising the list.

The 6 Best Instant Cameras Available Now

1. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera + Instax Wide Instant Film

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera (Black)
  • Automatic extending 95mm f14 lens with two focus zones (0.9 to 3m and 3m to infinity)
  • Optical viewfinder.Tri-pod socket. Four size AA 1.5 V alkaline batteries (Best with Polaroid AA Batteries). Dimensions-...
  • Picture Size 62 mm × 99 mm , Close-up lens for shots up to 40 cm from the subject. Shutter Release- Programmed...

Picture size:

2.4 x 3.9 inches

Shutter speed:

1/64 seconds to 1/200 seconds

Flash

Yes, recharges in 0.2 seconds to 6 seconds

Battery:

Four AAs

Pros

  •  Professional settings in an instant camera;
  • retractable lens;
  • optical viewfinders are large;
  • glossier pictures;
  • more professional-quality prints in minutes;
  • focuses as close as 15.5 inches;
  • flash won't wash out the subject

Cons

  • Can't turn the flash off; larger than most instant cameras

Customer reviews: It was difficult to find a negative review about the camera itself. Customers speak highly about the speed of development and the quality of pictures produced. Most of the complaints we saw were about a bundled pack, including a tripod that was not large enough to support the camera. This camera is a great choice for an instant camera product.

Overall rating:

2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera - Lime Green
  • New Selfie Mirror, Picture size: 2.4 X 1.8 Inches
  • New Macro Lens adapter for close-ups - 35cm to 50cm
  • Automatic exposure measurement. The camera signals the recommended aperture setting with a flashing LED. This helps...

Picture size:

62 x 46 millimeters

Shutter speed:

1/8 seconds to 1/400 seconds (depending on model chosen)

Flash:

Yes

Battery:

 Rechargeable lithium ion

Pros

  •  Detects the light in the area of the picture and adjusts exposure and flash deployment accordingly;
  • double exposure mode allows two photos to be developed on top of each other;
  • kids mode allows better pictures of movement such as sports, pets and the like;
  •  short distance mode allows for extreme close-ups with clarity and brightness; 
  • throwback look is reminiscent of older cameras; does not look like an instant camera; 
  • high-performance flash; different modes (kids, party, macro, high flash) control the brightness of the picture

Cons

  • Common error "E" problem with the lens that locks camera from use and typically results in replacement of the camera (if within the one-year warranty period);
  •  pictures can appear fuzzy and scratched; film cartridge can become stuck if it isn't inserted in just the right way; sensitive to temperature change

Customer reviews: The Neo is the highest customer-rated camera available at this price point. It offers far more features than some of the other popular colorful competitors (all made by Fujimax as well). Most customers who reviewed this product had no problems with it and highly recommended it. The modes, especially the kids mode, were one of the most highly complimented features of the camera. The resulting pictures are crisp, clear and deployed in less than 90 seconds. You do have to be careful about not touching the pictures for a few seconds after they are ejected, or you may smear the ink in some places. The most pressing complaint was the error code "E" that showed up randomly. Some customers got the E from the very beginning, and for others, it occurred out of nowhere. This error is a common one and can be reset using a few fixes put out by the company, or the camera should be returned and replaced if within the warranty.

Overall rating:

3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera
  • Automatically detects the brightness of the surrounding and adjusts the amount of flash and shutter speed to optimize...
  • Double exposure mode 2 images are produced on 1 film sheet by pressing the shutter twice
  • Bulb mode the shutter remains open while the shutter button is depressed (10 seconds maximum) and a light trailcan be...

Picture size:

62 x 46 millimeters

Shutter speed:

1/8 seconds to 1/400 seconds (depending on model chosen)

Flash:

Yes

Battery:

 Rechargeable lithium ion

Pros

  •  Detects the light in the area of the picture and adjusts exposure and flash deployment accordingly;
  • double exposure mode allows two photos to be developed on top of each other;
  • kids mode allows better pictures of movement such as sports, pets and the like;
  •  short distance mode allows for extreme close-ups with clarity and brightness; 
  • throwback look is reminiscent of older cameras; does not look like an instant camera; 
  • high-performance flash; different modes (kids, party, macro, high flash) control the brightness of the picture

Cons

  • Common error "E" problem with the lens that locks camera from use and typically results in replacement of the camera (if within the one-year warranty period);
  •  pictures can appear fuzzy and scratched; film cartridge can become stuck if it isn't inserted in just the right way; sensitive to temperature change

Customer reviews: The Neo is the highest customer-rated camera available at this price point. It offers far more features than some of the other popular colorful competitors (all made by Fujimax as well). Most customers who reviewed this product had no problems with it and highly recommended it. The modes, especially the kids mode, were one of the most highly complimented features of the camera. The resulting pictures are crisp, clear and deployed in less than 90 seconds. You do have to be careful about not touching the pictures for a few seconds after they are ejected, or you may smear the ink in some places. The most pressing complaint was the error code "E" that showed up randomly. Some customers got the E from the very beginning, and for others, it occurred out of nowhere. This error is a common one and can be reset using a few fixes put out by the company, or the camera should be returned and replaced if within the warranty.

Overall rating:

4. Fujifilm Instax Mini 26

Fujifilm Instax Mini 26 + Rainbow Film Bundle - Blue/White
  • Selfie mirror for perfect framing of your selfie photos
  • Two shutter buttons allowing comfortable and convenient vertical and horizontal shooting
  • The Lighten-Darken Control allows you to make the print finish brighter or darker

Picture size:

2 x 3 inches

Shutter speed:

 1/60 seconds

Flash:

Yes

Battery:

Two CR2

Pros

  •  Selfie mirror; fill-in flash;
  • ill-in flash; close-up lens to take better pictures at a short range;
  • two buttons that allow you to orient the picture vertically or horizontally;
  •  buttons to adjust the color intensity prior to printing to make sure your most vivid colors are captured and your lighter colors can be darkened to avoid washing out; 
  • printed pictures in 90 seconds

Cons

  • Expensive batteries that don't last long;
  •  photos can be cloudy or unclear, especially in lower light or inside light situations

Customer reviews: Feedback regarding this camera was on the high side. Most comments had to do with the quick picture snaps and prints. Many people commented on the dual shutter buttons that allow the operator to change the orientation of the photos without turning the camera. This feature is an overwhelming favorite among users who enjoy not having to fumble with flipping the camera unit. Many users indicated this camera was operated very easily by children as young as 8. This may be why it is one of the most popular cameras on the market. The negative comments included feedback on picture quality and the fact the camera does not come with batteries, even though the product description says it does. The battery is also expensive, as is the film required.

Overall rating:

5. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera - Graphite Grey

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera - Blush Gold
  • 1: 1 square format. Use Instax square style film
  • Auto exposure control - the high performance flash automatically calculates surrounding brightness and adjusts shutter...
  • Includes 3 Color Filters, orange, Purple and Green, that can be fitted over the flash to add Color to your photo

Picture size:

2.4 x 2.4 inches

Shutter speed:

 1/60 seconds

Flash:

Yes

Battery:

Two CR2

Pros

  • Camera includes three color filters (green, orange and purple) that can be fitted directly over the lens to add color to your photos; 
  •  auto exposure calculates the surrounding light and brightness and adjusts the exposure and flash accordingly;
  • uses square paper only; its three modes are timer, mode and selfie, selfie mirror for better pictures

Cons

  • Only uses square paper; batteries are expensive and don't always last long; takes longer to eject the pictures; 
  • wide angle means you have to get close to fill the frame (except in selfie mode); film can be expensive; flash can be ineffective and weak

Customer reviews: Customers who reviewed this product seemed to enjoy it. Some of the positive comments included the optimal photo quality with vivid colors and sharp images. The paper can be expensive, and the batteries don't last for more than 300 shots, if they make it that far. The batteries are expensive and can be hard to find, so some customers recommended stocking up on them for those times when you run out and can't find replacements anywhere. The negative comments had to do with comparison features between this and the previous Instax digital camera. These had less to do with this product, and therefore we didn't take many of those comments into consideration.

Overall rating:

6. Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera With ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology

Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (White) with Zink Zero Ink...
  • SNAP, PRINT, SHARE - The Polaroid Snap instant digital camera captures all the fun and spontaneity of the legacy...
  • ZERO INK, ZERO TONER, INSTANT RESULTS - The integrated ZINK printing technology enables you to instantly print...
  • EMBRACE YOUR INNER PHOTOGRAPHER - Get snapping, capture details with the powerful 10 megapixel sensor, insert a microSD...

Picture size:

 2 x 3 inches

Shutter speed:

 1/64 seconds

Flash:

Yes

Battery:

Rechargeable

Pros

  • No ink or toner means pictures develop dry;
  • photos are printed and ready to use in less than a minute;
  • adhesive backing on the pictures makes it easy to use in scrapbooks or memory keepers; fits in a pocket;
  • holds up to 10 sheets of picture paper;
  • keepers; fits in a pocket;

Cons

  • Battery life is lacking; picture quality isn't always great;
  • film often jams; sometimes prints blank photos; not good in low-light situations; paper is expensive

Customer reviews: Customers who reviewed this product seemed to enjoy it. Some of the positive comments included the optimal photo quality with vivid colors and sharp images. The paper can be expensive, and the batteries don't last for more than 300 shots, if they make it that far. The batteries are expensive and can be hard to find, so some customers recommended stocking up on them for those times when you run out and can't find replacements anywhere. The negative comments had to do with comparison features between this and the previous Instax digital camera. These had less to do with this product, and therefore we didn't take many of those comments into consideration.

Overall rating:

The Verdict

person holding instant camera

Image source: unsplash.com

The instant camera has made a comeback in recent years and is especially popular at weddings and with kids. Teenagers are the number-one market targeted through colorful ads. However, the instant camera can be so much more to a large number of people. In fact, it can be a game changer when it comes to weddings and parties. A camera that returns pictures immediately may take you back to the time when the mall was the place you found an actual photo booth, where you crammed in with your friends and got four small pictures in a film strip. Now you can get small pictures in a couple of minutes without the cramming.

Some photographic paper has sticky backs, handy for scrapbooking or memory planning, and the instant camera's recent success may have to do more with a dying practice of printing out pictures than anything else. With cellphones being the primary camera these days and everything moving to digital media, more and more moments are locked away on an SD card than displayed behind glass in a frame.

Regardless, there was a clear winner and a decent runner-up in our quest to give you the best instant camera. The clear favorite was the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. It produced the best-quality pictures and had the least amount of negative feedback and number of complaints of any of the other products above. The close runner-up would be the popular and inexpensive Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera with its array of colors and simple operation.

Our final rating is 4.8 out of 5 stars for the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 and 4.5 out of 5 stars for the Fujimax Instax Mini 9. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Sharing is caring!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here