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 can 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 pictures were taken.

instant camera

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.

How We Came Up With This List

You want instant pictures and instant results in trying to find the camera to give you those pictures. While some things can be done quickly, others take time. Researching instant cameras to find the best one to suit your needs may seem daunting since there are so many offerings available right now. We know you want that camera sooner rather than later, and that's why we put our list-making skills to task to come up with the six best options for you. We pride ourselves on providing the most up-to-date information in an honest and well thought-out way. We took the time to research the options available to you in the instant camera department and put the following best of the best together to make your shopping trip end in a snap (literally and figuratively).

instant camera

The 6 Best Instant Cameras Today

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/range:  Yes, recharges in 0.2 seconds to 6 seconds

Flash/range: 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, LCD screen, produces larger 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:

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: 1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  Constant fire/2.7 meters

Flash/range:  Yes

Battery:  Two AAs

Pros

  • Automatically adjusts exposure to lighting conditions, informs you of the proper light setting to use to get the best picture, slim, light design, large viewfinder expands visibility, variety of colors make it a fun camera, large amount of people will fit in a picture

Cons

  • Film is expensive, if you don't turn the dial the pictures won't develop, if jostled, the ring holding the lens will fall off, poor lighting conditions make for very poor photos, pictures of people wearing white come out very washed out

Customer reviews

Customers, by and large, enjoyed the camera. The majority indicated the camera was easy to use, and the pictures were sharp and clear. There were some comments about the size being larger than thought, but it didn't seem to be much of a hindrance or bother for those who mentioned it. Those who already have it highly recommended this camera.

Overall rating:

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: 1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  Constant fire/2.7 meters

Flash/range:  Yes

Battery:  Two AAs

Pros

  • Automatically adjusts exposure to lighting conditions, informs you of the proper light setting to use to get the best picture, slim, light design, large viewfinder expands visibility, variety of colors make it a fun camera, large amount of people will fit in a picture

Cons

  • Film is expensive, if you don't turn the dial the pictures won't develop, if jostled, the ring holding the lens will fall off, poor lighting conditions make for very poor photos, pictures of people wearing white come out very washed out

Customer reviews

Customers, by and large, enjoyed the camera. The majority indicated the camera was easy to use, and the pictures were sharp and clear. There were some comments about the size being larger than thought, but it didn't seem to be much of a hindrance or bother for those who mentioned it. Those who already have it highly recommended this camera.

Overall rating:

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/range:  1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  Yes

Battery:  Two CR2

Pros

  • Automatically adjusts exposure to lighting conditions, informs you of the proper light setting to use to get the best picture, slim, light design, large viewfinder expands visibility, variety of colors make it a fun camera, large amount of people will fit in a picture

Cons

  • Film is expensive, if you don't turn the dial the pictures won't develop, if jostled, the ring holding the lens will fall off, poor lighting conditions make for very poor photos, pictures of people wearing white come out very washed out

Customer reviews

Customers, by and large, enjoyed the camera. The majority indicated the camera was easy to use, and the pictures were sharp and clear. There were some comments about the size being larger than thought, but it didn't seem to be much of a hindrance or bother for those who mentioned it. Those who already have it highly recommended this camera.

Overall rating:

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera - Graphite Grey
  • 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/range:  1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  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 too long, takes longer to eject the pictures, wide angle means you have to get close to filling 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 digital camera produced by Instax. These had less to do with this product, and therefore we didn't take many of those comments into consideration.

Overall rating:

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: 1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  1/60 seconds

Flash/range:  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, micro SD card will expand the memory

Cons

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

Customer reviews

Customers had quite a lot to say about the Polaroid, and it was very mixed. A majority of the comments trended positive with people complimenting the Zink technology and the fact that the pictures developed quickly and free of smudges. There was no need to wait to touch the picture since it prints completely dry. On the other hand, there were quite a lot of negative comments relating to picture quality, the overpriced refill picture paper and the overall unhappiness with the product. We would say that the final results put this camera in the fair category.

Overall rating:

Comparison Table

The Verdict

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 real photo booth 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 scrap booking 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 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 5 out of 5 stars for the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 and 4.8 out of 5 stars for the Fujimax Instax Mini 9. Either way, you can't go wrong.

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