Before DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones, instant cameras were one of the most advanced types of photography equipment.
The popularity of vintage items in recent years has led to the return of the beloved gadget. After all, nothing compares to tangible memories of the most special moments of life.
Best instant cameras for 2022
If you decide to buy an instant camera, then you may be confused by the variety of options. Don’t worry — we will guide you through this dense forest.
Fujifilm’s Best Camera: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Fujifilm is famous in the world of instant cameras for a reason. The brand is constantly innovating and expanding its line of instant cameras, such as the popular Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. This cute and portable instant camera offers automatic flash exposure that reads the picture and adjusts the lighting accordingly.
In addition, you can take selfies thanks to the mirror on the front camera, and choose from five suggested body colors: blue, black, pink, lilac and white.
Dimensions: 107.6 x 121.2 x 67.3mm;
Lens: 2 components, 2 elements, f=60mm, 1:12.7;
Minimum shutter speed: ½ sec;
Maximum shutter speed: 1/250 sec;
Photo development time: 90 seconds;
Image size: 62mm x 46mm;
Weight: 293 g (excluding batteries, strap and cartridges).
Instax Mini 11 is compatible with Fujifilm Instax cartridges. Stock up on them more so that the photo session does not stop at the most inopportune moment. Credit card-sized photos can then be given to friends, used as decor, or simply kept as a keepsake.
Best Polaroid Camera: Polaroid Originals Go
One of the most iconic Polaroid instant cameras is the Polaroid Originals Go film camera. This portable camera is suitable for everyone: travelers, schoolchildren, and your grandparents.
The Polaroid Originals Go camera is equipped with a double exposure function, self-timer and selfie mirror, so you can take memorable shots with friends and family.
It also features a USB rechargeable battery, so you can even charge your device from a laptop or power bank. Let’s not forget about the convenient wrist strap for carrying.
Dimensions: 105 x 83.9 x 61.5 mm;
Weight: 242 g (without cartridge);
High performance battery: 1100 mAh;
Focal length: 34mm;
Aperture: f/12 and f/52;
Shutter speed: 1/125 to 1 second;
Photo size: 54 x 67 mm.
The Polaroid Originals Go camera works with Polaroid Go cartridges. In just 10–15 minutes you will see freshly developed pictures.
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
The Instax Wide 300 is like an old fashioned medium format rangefinder camera. Despite its relatively large size, it is light and easy to use.
Unlike Instax mini, it uses Instax wide format cartridges, which makes its photos look very similar to standard shots.
Image size: 99 x 62 mm;
Focal length: 95mm;
Two shooting modes: Normal mode (0.9m to 3m);
Landscape mode (from 3 m to infinity);
Shutter speed: 1/64 to 1/200;
Optical viewfinder;Built-in flash;
Additional adapter for macro lenses;
Compatible with Fujifilm Instax Wide cartridges; Runs on AA batteries (4 pieces).
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is compatible with specialty Instax Wide Instant Color Print Film Cartridges that offer ISO 800, vibrant colors and high definition.
Best Fujifilm Camera for Kids: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is the perfect option for parents whose kids want to indulge in an instant camera. Because it’s one of the most affordable instant cameras, you’ll be a little less upset if your kids end up accidentally breaking it or wasting cartridges like gum packs.
This camera has a large plastic body and lacks the complex controls found on more expensive models, but large buttons and vibrant colors make the tool visually appealing and easy to use.
This version of Instax also includes a built-in flash so you can easily take photos in the dark, a front mirror that helps you take selfies, and different shooting modes.
If you’re a beginner photographer looking for a cheap instant camera, this should be the one for you.
Lens: 60mm f/12.7;
Image size: 6.2 × 4.6 cm;
Maximum focal length: 60mm;
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec;
Exposure modes: Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor;
Size: 116mm x 118.3mm x 68.2mm;
Mount for macro lens.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera is compatible with all Instax Mini cartridge options. The most commonly used cartridges are Instant Daylight Film, but other cartridge options are Monochrome, Rainbow, Shiny Star and Candy Pop.
Polaroid Originals 600
Rare Polaroid 600 series cameras: Polaroid 636 Close-up, Impulse, Supercolor and others are not the most compact and convenient cameras for travel and transportation, but if you like the iconic design of classic Polaroid cameras, this is a great option.
Image size: 79 x 79 mm;
Shutter speed: 1/3 to 1/200 sec;
Built-in automatic flash;
Compatible with Polaroid 600 Type cartridges.
Color 600 cartridges are the original cartridge type for vintage Polaroid 600 cameras. Photos come out vibrant, and the iconic white frame turns every photo into a small work of art.
Polaroid Originals Now+ i‑Type
The Polaroid Originals Now+ i‑Type camera is one of the most creative analog instant cameras on the market. The camera comes with five lens filters: four color filters (blue, yellow, orange and red) and another filter with a geometric pattern.
This instant camera also features fast and intuitive autofocus, which ensures that your shots are sharp.
Another advantage of the Polaroid Originals Now+ i‑Type is its rechargeable USB battery, which means that this camera can also be charged from a portable battery or laptop.
Exposure: 1/200 — 1 sec;
Minimum Shooting Distance: 102.35mm;
Includes 5 filters;
Size: 150.16 x 112.2 x 95.48mm;
Weight: 457 g (without cartridge).
This camera is compatible with Polaroid Originals i‑Type cartridges.
Fujifilm Instax Hybrid Mini LiPlay
Fujifilm Instax Hybrid Mini LiPlay is a new generation of instant cameras. It’s one of the smallest and lightest cameras Fujifilm has ever made, making it easy to carry in your pocket.
The camera is equipped with a 2.7‑inch display on which you can preview the image. In this way, you can perfectly set up scenes and lighting.
You can even use the remote shooting feature to take photos while standing away from the camera.
In addition, LiPlay includes a unique sound function: you can record your voice, which will be displayed as a QR code on one of the photos — it turns out that the camera will capture not only a picture of an important moment, but also sound!
Focal length: 28mm;
Maximum aperture: f/2;
Focus range: 10 cm to infinity;
Shutter speed: 1/8000 to ¼;
Dimensions: 82.5 x 122.9 x 36.7 mm (excluding protrusions); Weight: 255 g;
Instax Hybrid Mini LiPlay is compatible with Instax Mini White Instant Film Cartridges. The resulting photos will easily fit in your wallet. Instax guarantees high quality photos with sharp and clear reproduction, vibrant colors and natural skin tones.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40
Another high quality instant camera that is perfect for beginner photographers.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 automatically adjusts the exposure based on the lighting. The faux leather body and metal details further enhance the vintage aesthetic, making it perfect for both urban photography and retro home décor.
Lens: 2 components, 2 elements, f=60mm, 1:12.7; 0.37x viewfinder;
Film development time: 90 seconds;
Requires two AA alkaline batteries;
Size: 104 x 121 x 65 mm;
Weight: 330 g (without batteries, strap and film).
Like other Instax cameras, the Instax Mini 40 uses Fujifilm Instax Mini cartridges.
Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat
The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat is loaded with features and incredibly easy to use. For example, it has options not found on other Fuji cameras, such as long exposure and multiple exposures.
It automatically adjusts the exposure according to the lighting conditions, so your shots will always be sharply focused and clear.
Dimensions: 118.90 x 93.60 x 60mm;
Lens Focal Length: 60mm;
Aperture: f/8, f/22;
Auto flash and flash off mode;
Infrared remote control.
The Lomo’Instant Automat uses Fujifilm Instax Mini Film cartridges.
Fujifilm instax SQUARE SQ1
The Fujifilm instax SQUARE SQ1 camera prints photos in a square format.
SQUARE SQ1 automatically adjusts to lighting conditions, ensuring the quality of every shot, even in dark rooms.
The built-in selfie mode and mirror on the front help you take great pictures together.
You can also choose between several body colors: white, terracotta orange and glacier blue.
Lens: 2 components, 2 elements, f=65.75mm, 1:12.6; 0.4x viewfinder;
Shutter speed: 1/2 to 1/400 sec;
Film development time: 90 seconds;
Size: 130.7 x 118.6 x 57.5mm;
Weight: 390 g (without batteries, strap and film).
SQUARE SQ1 produces quadrant photos, so the cartridges here will be special — with this camera you will need FUJIFILM instax SQUARE cartridges.
What to look for when choosing a camera?
In the case when you are at a crossroads and cannot decide which instant camera to choose, it is important first of all to decide on the format and size of the printed images. Therefore, choose a camera with the right size cartridges.
Which is better: Polaroid or Fujifilm?
Since Polaroid and Fujifilm are both established top players in the instant camera market, the question often arises as to which company offers the best options in terms of image quality, performance, and product features.
Polaroid models tend to be more expensive than Fujifilm instant cameras. They also look more imposing than their more toy-like Fujifilm counterparts. However, the image quality is about the same there and there.
If you’re looking for a fun, durable instant print toy camera, Fujifilm is a great choice. Polaroid is a great choice for photographers who prefer a retro, old-fashioned look.