It’s not hard to understand why instant cameras have made a huge comeback recently. Capturing a photo and having it immediately delivered in your hands has a certain magical appeal that can’t be matched by digital photography. Although the film can be pretty expensive, it’s still worth it in the end if you’re a fan of the concept. Want a GoPro gimbal or maybe a green screen background? I wrote articles about those as well.
The market for these devices is quite crowded, Fujifilm especially seems to dominate it with lots of models with cool and interesting features and looks. Shopping for the best products is generally the smartest choice you can make so as to spend your money wisely only on those items that are truly worth your cash. We’ve selected the best instant cameras that are currently the most revered for their quality, performance, and for their amazing designs and capabilities. If you’re part of the artistic crowd and can’t decide which one should become your new instant camera, have a look at this list where you’re very likely to find something to suit your tastes and needs.
Fujifilm is the most popular brand on the market for instant cameras and it’s easy to see why. Their unparalleled quality and reliability have made many customers satisfied. The Instax line by Fujifilm has received a new update through the Mini 9 which has some promising features sure to appeal to enthusiasts of these fun devices.
The design of the Mini 9 is similar to its predecessor with a shape resembling a square but thanks to a rounded grip, it fits nicely in your hand. You’ve got a wide choice in the color department like blue (two shades), flamingo pink, lime green, and white. A nice improvement over the old generation is the selfie mirror which makes it much easier to take photos of yourself.
Coming in packages of 10 sheets, the film is contained within each pack in a very compact plastic cartridge. The print area is quite small at 6.2 by 4.6 centimeters but it’s perfect for retaining little keepsakes that fit in a wallet. They can be scanned to make larger prints but the compact size is ideal for such a device.
The image quality is good for an instant camera, it gives off a special feeling through the slight blur near the edges of the objects and people photographed. There’s a fuzzy haze that makes it a bit difficult to distinguish specific details but this is all part of the appeal of an instant camera. The captured moments in the pictures induce a state of nostalgia somehow that some people really appreciate.
Another factor you will like about the Mini 9 is the ease of use. The whole process is rather straightforward though you need to be aware of certain things. You’ll have to install the film carefully so as not to pinch it when inserting it through the film door and then press the shutter button once.
Other than the higher cost of prints than a digital format, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a very sleek instant camera, with cool features, solid quality of photos and simple to use. Highly recommended.
- 2 AA Batteries
- Selfie Mirror
- Lens adapter ideal for close-ups, 13.77 inches to 19.68 inches
- Automatic exposure measurement.
- Signals the optimal aperture setting with a flashing LED
- Battery Type and weight: Manganese, 24 grams
- Camera with Strap, Close up lens, manual and 2 AA batteries
Polaroid’s PIC-300 is a well-received product in the instant camera community because of its balanced features and the affordable price. The old days of instant film cameras are revived with the help devices like this one.
As opposed to other instant cameras on the market, the PIC-300 has a more modern look. Its bubbly design with bulging curves may have a particular appeal to some, especially if you choose one of the more cartoonish color options. The construction is solid and can feel a bit heavy but the plastic reduces the weight. Holding the camera feels slightly awkward as the grip is not very comfortable.
Operating the camera is easy, and the choice of modes should fit well most situations. The ISO 800 film for the camera needs to be purchased separately and the size of the photos (2.1 by 3.4 inches) is adequate to keep the pictures in your wallet. Considering the price per shot, I’d say this has an interesting effect as it can make you value each shot more and choosing the right moment to take a photo much more meaningful so as not to spend too much.
PIC-300’s performance is good, delivering quality images for the size, kind of dark in certain lighting. With a 5 seconds delay between shots and also considering the 15 seconds needed for the camera to boot up, this means that action shots aren’t exactly possible. For stills, outdoor scenery, and selfies, this model works excellently though. The battery life is decent, you will need four AA batteries to power the PIC-300.
In conclusion, Polaroid’s instant camera is a solid all-around option for someone fascinated by the grainy old film style of photos obtained with these devices. The cost of the camera is not very high for its features so for this reason alone I think it’s a valuable choice.
- Compatible with Polaroid 300 film
- High-quality small instant photos
- Auto flash in low light
- Electronic shutter
- 2×3 film format
- 60 mm min focal length
If you’re into instant cameras for the aesthetic rather than other qualities, then Leica Sofort is pretty much the best choice. This model strongly inspires that retro thrill and considering how iconic the Leica brand is, you won’t be disappointed by the quality and the design of the Sofort.
The boxy shape has a certain appeal, straying away from the retro looks into something that gives an expensive vibe. It basically feels like a really cool and sophisticated disposable camera. But this is extremely well built compared to a disposable camera.
Controlling the camera is done mostly from the back where you can find the on/off switch and the buttons for cycling through various shooting modes and for toggling other settings like the exposure compensation or flash. Some symbols might seem a bit strange at first but you’ll get the hang of it in no time as the Sofort is very comfortable to use.
In the front of the camera is the area where the focusing can be controlled. Using a ring around the lens, the camera can be focused depending on your preference either closer or further away. The image quality is quite sharp overall considering the plastic lens. If glass would have been used instead, perhaps the quality would have been much better but still, it’s pretty decent. The film provided is definitely capable of creating quality pictures.
If we take into account the price which is significantly higher than other instant cameras, the image quality of the Leica Sofort is not really up to par. Someone more concerned about the looks shouldn’t mind this but it’s still a weak point for this camera. Considering the design, the ease of use and the overall enjoyment, Leica’s Sofort instant camera is a blast to take photos with. If budget is not really a consideration for you, getting this model is sure to attract a lot of attention for its very pleasing looks.
- Built-in flash
- Battery charger, Strap
- f/12.7 apperture
- Mininimum Focal Length of 60 mm
- Mininimum Focus Distance of 11.8 inches
- Manual focus
- Exposure Range of 1/400 sec to 1/8 sec
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is an instant camera with great build quality, simple focusing, a really nice grip and is overall quite fun to use. This fully-featured model also comes at a surprisingly affordable price so you get a lot for the money.
The first thing you can notice about the Instax Wide 300 is the standard Instax look for the most part. In the front of the camera, Fujifilm went with a more minimalistic approach as you can only find the grip, the shutter release, the flash, and of course the lens. Around the latter, you’ll find grippy plastic material. Using the ring from the lens you can easily toggle between two focusing settings. The build quality of the Instax Wide 300 is decent though Fujifilm relied on too much plastic. This is to be expected considering the low price.
There is no manual control on the camera but the camera meters well even though it’s difficult to measure it exactly. Something particularly odd is how there’s no reliable way to tell the camera to not activate the flash. You can either choose forced flash or automatic flash. Taking into account the fact that this camera uses a plastic lens, the quality of the photos will give off a pleasantly LoFi look. If that’s something you prefer, this is definitely a fitting choice.
The price of this instant camera is probably among its main selling points, as it is especially well suited for those with more reduced budgets. The features are solid all-around and the small drawbacks aren’t really deal breakers so overall, the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is recommended for all kinds of instant cameras enthusiasts.
- 95mm lens
- Optical viewfinder and Tripod socket
- 62 mm × 99 mm images
- Light and Dark control
- Works with Fujifilm Instax Wide Film
- Alkaline Battery
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo is a gorgeous instant camera that brings the nostalgia back for those who miss the feeling of instantly having the physical photo in their hands. Let’s see how well equipped it is feature-wise and if it’s worth the money.
The look of the camera is definitely one of the strongest points. This retro design is sure to please many people and for most of the fans of these devices could be enough of a reason to make the purchase. With a low button count, the learning curve is quite small, the Mini 90 is easy to use and quite fun to own.
If you aren’t really that serious about photography, the features packed with this camera are more than enough. There’s a total of seven modes which you’ll get used to in no time but the double exposure mode will probably take a bit more until you get the hang of it. The portrait mode is very well done, though even in brightly lit rooms the image quality is still not that incredible.
Speaking of image quality, as with all the instant cameras, the quality of the photos taken with the Instax Mini 90 is not amazing but still decent, above most cheap digital compact cameras. The colors produced are deep, with nice skin tones and the camera is able to render lots of details if you use the proper mode.
The film used by the Instax Mini 90 is rather expensive but that’s something you probably have to get used to eventually if you intend to buy an instant camera. One great advantage is the ease to install the film as the cartridge form is very practical.
Considering the price which is in the medium range for an instant camera, this model is great for people looking to get back into the joys of instant film. The features are adequate for the cost and the potential for quality images is definitely there. All in all, this is one of the best instant cameras on the market right now.
- Double exposure mode
- Bulb mode
- Macro mode short distance photography 30-60 cm
- Kids mode suitable for photographing fast moving subjects
- Film Format Type: 6×8
- Lithium Batteries
Developed by Lomography through a Kickstarter campaign, Lomo is considered one of the most advanced automatic instant film cameras money can buy. Using the popular Instax film, this attractive camera has lots of features to satisfy even the most pretentious enthusiasts of instant photography.
The first thing you can observe about the Lomo at a simple glance is the design which is obviously quite retro looking. The shape is very box-like and the camera is giving off a bulky impression. This elegant blocky design is complemented by a faux-leather covering and for the best minimalist style, the white version of the camera is ideal.
The only accessory for the Lomo besides the optional lenses is the shoulder strap, good for relieving the weight. A protective case would have been nice but sadly there’s no such thing. The physical controls are kept to a minimum but they are simple to use and intelligently placed.
A mode switch allows for easy toggling between activating the flash or setting it on auto where a sensor detects the right conditions for turning it on based on the ambient light. The camera offers a lot of flexibility if you like to manually set the mode according to the shooting conditions or prefer to keep things simple by setting it on auto each time.
The aperture range is quite impressive, one of the largest available right now for an instant camera. Getting the right amount of light in your photos can be done more conveniently though it will take some tries before you’ll get the hang of it. Another useful feature of the Lomo is the round mirror on the front of the device, handy for lining up selfies.
The image quality is good for an instant camera, all the photos seem to be slightly on the soft side. For the best results, you need to get the right mix of lens and aperture to improve the sharpness of the picture. For powering up the camera, four AAA batteries are required so there’s no messing around with charging cables.
Taking everything that’s been said into account, a favorable picture is painted for the Lomography Lomo as it seems to be a solid quality instant camera. It may not be for everyone, but if this looks like something that suits your tastes, it’s a recommended investment.
- 3 Shooting Modes
- Unlimited and long multiple exposures
- Modern lens technology with capabilities of different options including wide and portrait.
- Large aperture setting compared to the instant photography market
- Works with Fujifilm Mini film
With the resurgence of the trend of instant cameras, many people moved in reverse from digital photography back to the instant gratification pleasure of instant film cameras. One of the best entry-level cameras is the small and stylish Fujifilm Instax Mini 26 which has many promising features.
In the design department, the Mini 26 is quite balanced, offering many color variants, and the overall sleek and discrete look should fit most people’s styles. The hourglass shape of the sides allows for a comfortable and secure grip when taking photos. With a body made of plastic, there’s the advantage of the light weight and the sturdiness is not too bad either, the camera will most likely survive a short fall without any issues.
The lens has a versatile focal length fitting for a large variety of photography styles. Two shutter buttons are placed on the body of the Mini 26 and each one has a special function. One of them can be used to capture vertical images and the other one works best for capturing horizontal pictures. Taking photos is tremendously simplified this way as you only need to press the corresponding button for obtaining the desired result.
Capturing a photo is easy and the printing only takes 90 seconds. The images are instantly created on 2×3 inch instant film which is similar in size with a credit card. On the top right of the Mini 26, you will find a button that controls the color intensity of your print. Adjustments can be made to darken or brighten your photos depending on the setting or subject you’re shooting. This is one of the strongest points of this Instax camera as it gives you plenty of creative control.
Fujifilm offers different options for the film of this model. You can opt for the black and white one in case you decide to get a more retro look in your photos. For extra colors, there’s the possibility to get film packs with custom borders if you are tired of the classic white one.
Don’t miss out on the Fujifilm Instax Mini 26’s awesome features and excellent price. This is a great choice for starters and those looking for something simple to capture special moments and have them delivered instantly.
- Selfie mirror
- Two shutter buttons for vertical and horizontal photos
- Light-Dark Setting
- Close-up lens
- For use with Instax Mini style film
- Lithium Battery, weight of 0.26 grams
Fujifilm is known to offer practical value and reliable products with their acclaimed line of Instax Mini Film cameras. For those seeking more performance in their instant cameras, the Mini 70 is an ideal solution as it offers access to the latest technology at a reasonable price.
The shooting modes of the Mini 70 are quite complex. The selfie mode is more than just a gimmick as it provides various settings and interesting enhancements that will exceed your expectations. An aspect worth mentioning is the automatic adjustment for the selfie mode. The liquid crystal on silicon design permits the switching of the camera’s sensitivity to light to get the optimal amount of brightness for a selfie shot.
The Mini 70 includes a built in flash unit, powerful exposure control and advanced focusing technology as well as the retractable lens. You have the ability to select between three focusing ranges from macro to normal mode and finally to landscape mode extending the potential of the 60-millimeter lens for the best clarity possible.
Other useful modes are the automatic shooting, self-timer, and the high key. The latter provides enhanced extra lighting for shots taken in flash mode. This adds an artistic effect to be able to obtain brighter and clearer photos. The automatic shooting allows you to sit back and let the camera choose the correct settings for aperture, focusing, and flash among others. A self-timer mode can be effective at taking some specific shots that require a delay.
The Fujifilm Instant Color Film is used in this Instax camera and although it provides high-quality shots consistently, it’s a bit of a hindrance that you can’t use other films from different brands which could be more economical. The price for the film is not exactly cheap but if you get some deals for buying them in bulk then you should be fine.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 has a lot of qualities that make it stand out in the market and is definitely deserving of a spot in this list of the best instant cameras around. Thanks to Fujifilm’s innovative approach to instant photography, it enables you to capture precious memories easily and conveniently. A very recommended option considering the performance and the design of this model.
- Beautiful design
- Selfie mode with mirror
- Tripod compatible
- 2 CR2 Batteries
- Lithium Battery
- Multiple colors