best instant camera

Best Instant Camera

Sure, your smartphone is great, but does it print its own pictures on the go? Don’t just keep those pictures on your phone and never see them again. You can just print those memories out and hold them in your hands the moment they’re made. Much better.

Sharing your pictures becomes way more exciting. And far more genuine than sticking them on social media. But, buying the best instant camera is a bit harder than just choosing the cutest looking or just choosing the highest megapixel rated camera. No, no, no. There’s so much more to consider. So, let’s consider it together, along with the expert opinions of our professional gadget reviewers.

The 7 Best Instant Cameras 

Below you’ll find a table of the best instant camera suggestions from our experts, chosen for their price, picture quality, print quality, overall look, ergonomics, size, and weight. You’ll also find links to the cheapest possible price we could find for these products. You’ll also see that our choices are focused mainly around 2 big brands in particular.

Instant CameraWeightPrint SizeFind it on Amazon.com
Fujifilm Instax Mini 80.95 pounds62x46mm
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90.7 pounds62x46mm
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic0.6 pounds62x46mm
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera2.1 pounds62x99mm
Polaroid Snap (ZINK)0.47 pounds2x3 inch
Polaroid PIC-3000.54 pounds2x3 inch
Impossible Polaroid 600 Square1.5 pounds3.5 x 4.7 inch
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid1 pound2.5 inch x 2.5 inch

Clearly Fujifilm and Polaroid are good choices when looking for the best instant camera for printing pictures on the go. We’ve also included a third-party choice or two, but for the most part the best two brands are Polaroid instant cameras and Fujifilm instant cameras for printing straight from the camera while on the move.

1

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 - Best Instant Camera for Holidays

best mini camera

If you want a camera that doesn’t take up any extra space, you can hardly go wrong with this great instant camera from Fujifilm. Mini in name and mini in nature. This pocket-sized picture snapper gives you the chance to hold your memories in your hands the moment you make them. Yet without all the weight and awkwardness of a full size DSLR. At only 15 ounces in weight, with a size no larger than 5 inches, this is a casual photographers dream camera.

Rather than taking a picture and then having it live only inside your camera or phone, you can print out your instant pictures on the go. With the Instax Mini prints that are 62x46mm in size and perfect for displaying anywhere. Or, even better, for giving away to others. The downside is that the prints aren’t cheap, but freezing time forever in a physical piece of art is definitely worth it. 

You can choose from a large variety of colours, including pink and purple. And white, of course. And even a Hello Kitty version for children. Yet this is anything but a toy. A new slimline and lightweight body won’t weigh your bag down, and the automatic exposure measurement will make every shot look gorgeous. Though, thanks to the crystal clear viewfinder, you’ll know it’s a great shot before you even press the button. Plus, you can adjust the outcome of the final picture by switching the brightness adjustment dial to different scenes. You can even choose a ‘high-key’ mode for pictures that favor bright light over dark scenes.

One of the best bits is the price. It’s a price that puts it well within the ideal range for a gift, but it also makes it a great price for those who aren’t totally sure about the purchase of an instant camera. Other cameras demand such a high price that you almost have to become a photographer just to pay off the equipment. Meanwhile, this joyously miniature camera is affordable enough to justify purchasing it just to have it around. Just in case.

If you do purchase the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, then be sure to pick up a twin pack of paper to go with it. Paper is relatively cheap, as are the kits and packs designed to provide you with more fun at a discounted price.

PROS
  • Slimline and lightweight
  • Very affordable price
  • Automatic exposure does the technical work for you
CONS
  • Pricey paper if not bought in twin packs
  • Prints may be too small for some
  • Not very serious looking
2

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 - Best Instant Camera for Selfies

fuji instax camera for selfies

The newer version of the highly regarded and globally popular Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. This Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 features a few upgrades that can transform casual lifestyle pictures into shots that look cut straight from the trendiest magazines. Turn your life into a glamorous vision of relaxed fun, shared with your friends via gifts of physical prints from your instant camera.

A selfie mirror is the first noticeable addition to the camera. Despite its rather silly names, it’s extremely useful for saving yourself a lot of time and money. Especially helpful for group selfies, a selfie mirror helps you frame a shot much better at a glance. What is also helpful is the improved automatic exposure measurement that signals the best aperture setting using a flashing LED light. That way, you also get the best shot possible. Or, at the very least, you are aware of how the camera is reading the scene. You can break all the rules while being creative without ever leaving the safety of the automatic exposure reading of the camera.

Further improvements are the 35 cm close-up lens attachment that is INCLUDED with your purchase. That way you can photograph everything from food or flowers or watches or jewellery in crystal clear quality between 35-50 cm. Besides that, there are a ton of new colors available which you can check out yourself – our favourite is the Lime Green, but we do wish that yellow was an option.

Thankfully, print sizes remain the same as the previous Instax model, so there is no increased print costs that come with this upgrade. You are free to buy the twin packs of paper at the same old price as before.

PROS
  • Upgraded version of the Instax Mini 8
  • Selfie mirror and close-up lens attatchment
  • New camera color options
CONS
  • Not a huge upgrade from the previous version
  • Prints could still be cheaper
3

Fujifilm Instax 90 Neo Classic - Best Vintage Style Instant Camera

cool vintage style instant camera

Another Fujifilm Instax Mini camera, yet this time we’re looking at the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic instant film camera. In a nutshell, this camera is designed with the classical features of older cameras in mind; and the benefits that they brought with their mostly mechanical design.

An improved flash adjusts itself depending on the distance of the subject, and can also be set to Party Mode — which lights the background as well as the subject. Ideal for dark scenes. Kids mode is also an option, which allows you to capture fast moving subjects such as children and animals in low-light situations. It also features many of the same aspects of the other Instax models, though you will have to double check a few details to make sure it has what you need. It’s also slightly larger and heavier, but the gorgeous classical design is worth the extra weight if you’re a fan of classic features such as bulb mode

Again, it takes the same print paper as its sister cameras, so be sure to buy twin packs of prints to ensure you get the best possible price. And speaking of price, the Mini 90 Neo Classic demands almost double the price of the Instax Mini 8 & 9 models, but comes with improved features and, some would say, a much better aesthetic to it.

PROS
  • Gorgeous classic design
  • Advanced automatic features
  • Bulb and close up shooting
CONS
  • Higher price
  • Vintage design not for everyone
  • Slim colour choice
4

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 - Best Wide Film Instant Camera

compact print size instant camera

If you’re not a fan of the standard Instax film sizes offered by Fujifilm, but still want a relatively compact print size, then the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 film camera is ideal for you. You can take much more panoramic pictures, which are slightly longer/wider than usual, which is great for including more of the scene when capturing landscapes images, group photos, or selfies.

It comes with the same close up lens as mentioned in the previous instant cameras and the same automatic flash for low-light photography in dark areas.

If you’re intrigued by the Instax Mini range but find that it’s a bit too mini, then this may be the best instant camera for you.

PROS
  • Panoramic photos
  • Affordable price
  • Close-up macro accessory
CONS
  • Instax wide film only
  • No self timer
  • Little large to be considered pocket sized
5

Polaroid Snap ZINK - Best Instant Camera for Photographers

affordable instant polaroid camera

This cute little instant camera from Polaroid is what 90% of people think of when they imagine the best instant camera. It’s thin, vintage yet minimalist, pocket sized, and it prints pictures instantly from a slot on the side. It’s a magical box that keeps the best moments of your life from ever being forgotten. It’s the Polaroid Snap instant digital camera. With ZINK zero ink printing technology. No ink cartridges, just paper and camera.

Yes, the paper is something you have to buy. But a pack of 50 retails for $25, packs are sometimes on sale, and you have the option of using third party paper which brings costs down even more. Considering the camera itself is really affordable, Polaroid have stepped up with a very strong contender in the battle for title of Best Instant Camera. PLUS, you a 32mb onboard memory that saves 10MP copies of your images, which means you can use it as a fantastic digital camera. Can you tell we love this affordable printable camera?

Polaroid invented the genre of instant photography, and so it’s not surprising that their Snap camera is a huge hit.

PROS
  • Fantastic minimalist, slim, light, pocket-sized design
  • Affordable and easy to use
  • 32gb memory
  • Adhesive back
CONS
  • No extra bells or whistles
6

Impossible Polaroid 600 Square - Best Genuine Polaroid Refurb

best old fashion instant camera

Instant cameras are all inspired by the instant film-developing cameras of old. They try to achieve the vintage feel and performance of this exact camera from Impossible. Well, Polaroid. But Impossible has bought the rights to the ability to refurbish and sell these as-good-as-brand new classic Polaroids. If you like the idea of owning a 100% genuine Polaroid instant printing camera, then this is the only camera that is going to satisfy that need; newer, digital cameras just won’t fill the void that Impossible will replace for your with the real thing.

The quality of your Polaroid remake depends entirely on the condition it was received in by Impossible, and Impossible attempt to keep as many original parts as possible. So, you may find that your Polaroid has a few signs of use and scratches. In some cases your Polaroid might be flawed in a particular way that will make your pictures unique. If that doesn’t excite you then you need to reconsider if you’re actually into vintage photography – or if you’re just a bit of a poser. Real enthusiasts, step up!

PROS
  • Collectors dream
  • 100% genuine Polaroid refurbish
  • Uses the same film, mechanisms, and design as it always did
CONS
  • Each camera is used and may have unique signs of use
  • A bit pricey
7

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid - Best Hybrid Instant Camera

best hybrid instant polaroid camera

Not to be outdone by Polaroid’s snap instant printing camera, Fujifilm created their hybrid instant camera. It functions as both a digital camera as well as an instant camera. Letting you save your photos on the go while also printing them instantly whenever you wish. The beauty of this is that you can shoot everything you need and then choose the best from the bunch to print. Or, you can simply wait until later to print, since your images are perfectly safe where they are for now — it’s still a lot better than buying a completely un-portable printer with ink and paper, that’s for sure.

If you think the design is strange, then you’re absolutely right. It’s totally bizarre and it certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you can get past the fact that it doesn’t really resemble a camera at all, then you’re in for a treat. The compact design is very solid and designed to be easily held with a single hand. Either hand. This is possible thanks to two shutter buttons either side of the camera, as well as a central design. By keeping everything symmetrical and within the center of the camera body, you can operate it with any hand, reversed or not, looking or not looking. The entire design is focused around being used easily and quickly. It’s a camera designed especially for the sort of situations that you would want an instant camera in. And it’s designed to provide the best looking pictures for almost every given situation. It also has the added benefit of having a rechargeable battery rather than having to buy batteries once a month.

PROS
  • Hybrid film & digital
  • Ergonomic design
  • 2.5 x 2.5 inch prints
CONS
  • Design not for everyone
  • Square prints not for everyone

Best Instant Camera - Buyer's Guide

When buying a camera a lot of people focus most on the megapixel rating and other such features that they may or may not use. We fall into the trap of thinking that these numbers are limitations. For example, a lot of people read ‘11 megapixel’ and see ‘only 11 megapixel’ when in fact it’s all a bonus. Every extra megapixel or megabyte of memory is just that – extra. Don’t fall into the trap that just because one camera has 12 megapixel, and the other has 6, that 6 megapixel is somehow too inferior for your uses. The army has bullet-proof vehicles that can carry 8 people across land at incredible speeds and even transport people across water; does that mean your 2-door hatchback is absolutely useless? No, because it’s still an incredible feat of engineering and technological advancement.

In fact, simpler is often far better.

Megapixels

The most common way to judge a camera is also the least important when comparing instant cameras. Rather than referring to quality, megapixels refer to the size of the image. And, since you’re printing it on consumer sized prints, it really doesn’t matter. Even if you plan to print it on much larger sized prints, it’s unlikely you’ll need to worry too much. In fact, a lot of Instant cameras won’t even show you the megapixel rating because the images aren’t actually saved to the device. Which leads us to the next feature.

Memory

Again, thankfully, nothing you really need to worry about with an instant camera. Your free memory is the amount of blank prints left, and your saved memories are already printed out. Some instant cameras can store the images too, which is useful for uploading to websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That said, it’s extremely common for people to print the pictures, display them, and then take a picture of it with their phone to show to the world. Instant printing adds a whole new dimension to your photography in which digital memory is an afterthought. It’s all about the now and the real.

The Price of Prints

You need to also consider the price of packs of blank prints, and whether or not you want to use the official paper or third party paper. Personally, we’d recommend having both on hand. Nice paper for when it’s worth it, and third party (non manufacturer made) paper for daily snaps and fun. If you’re about the price of either, then compare it to the price to print your pictures at other places and you’ll soon see the savings. Plus, you don’t need to travel to print them because you can do it on the go. Amazing.

Weight

Surely weight doesn’t matter? Wrong! Weight is the most important factor to consider when purchasing an instant camera. Why? Because if it’s not portable to carry then what is the point? The most important camera is the one you have with you. So, if you can’t be bothered to take it with you, then you’re better off with something smaller and lighter that you can keep in a pocket or a bag.

Selfie Mirror

Some instant cameras come with a selfie mirror that helps you frame selfies or shots of your and your friends without guesswork. This is valuable because a large part of buying an instant camera is the ‘candid’ nature of using it. After the first spontaneous shot, if you didn’t frame it quite right, then things might be missed out of the picture or you might have to retake it — potentially ruining the mood. While more expensive cameras often come with a tilting LCD screen, using a small mirror is refreshingly traditional and a lot more ‘real’ than seeing the world through a computer screen.

Color, Black and White, Special Effects, Filters

Pay attention to the type of pictures that an instant camera produces. Some instant cameras only produce black and white pictures, intended more for street photography and arty type shots. Some produce flat photos with ‘washed out’ colours for a more relaxed, minimalist, vintage feel. Some give you a whole variety of filters to choose from which are similar to Instagram and specialist film types. Some cameras are even designed to take pictures that, by traditional standards, would be considered ‘mistakes’; e.g featuring lens flares and ‘light-leaks’ and producing images that are either too bright or too dark in order to create what are now called ‘low-fi- images. Intentionally faulty images to exaggerate the spontaneous and real aspect of your photos.

Print Size

This is a little more difficult to judge because, while the measurements of the print sizes will be clearly stated, it’s hard to know what you want until you have it. That said, consider where you’ll be putting the images, not what will look better in your mind. If you want to have a scrapbook, then small prints may be perfect for you. Or, perhaps you want to be able to print multiple images on the go while out with groups of friends? In that case, business card sized may be your ideal choice. Alternatively, if you want to proudly display your images and have a bit of an arty-side, then perhaps the largest print size possible is for you? A lot of the time, a camera capable of printing large prints can also print small prints. That’s not always the case however, so you should make sure 100% before purchasing.

Accessories and Kits

Accessories can empty your bank account with their small individual prices that soon add up. It is possible to buy kits with everything you need to get started, and for the most part these are good deals. However, always consider if you really need a particular accessory. If the kit includes multiple accessories that you don’t need, then it’s not a good deal. Anything you don’t want to buy is never a good deal. That said, accessories can open up your world creatively, so don’t ignore them. A cheaper camera with more accessories might be exactly what you need, rather than a more expensive camera without accessories.

Conclusion


It’s easy to see from our breakdown that the choice is split between Fujifilm and Polaroid. Even our third party choice, which is a rare find in the instant camera industry, is a Polaroid refurbishment. There’s just no getting away from these brands. Especially since the prices are incredibly competitive. There are few great cameras as cheap as these.

But you’re wondering what we’ve chosen for our absolutely best of the best instant camera choice. Well, we’ve chosen our top pick based on every feature that we mentioned in our introduction and buyer’s guide. We’ve also taken the opinions of verified customers to heart; because no matter how good it sounds, what matters is how it works in the real world.

Our top choice will need to be the best instant camera, not just the best camera, but the best camera for instantly printing your shots on the move. It should also be said that, since both of these companies have decades of film production history under their belts, print quality isn’t going to change massively between the two brands.

It’s still something we’re considering strongly, but for the most part a lot of this cameras use the same film anyway, and all of them will produce great pictures (as long as you take great pictures of course!).

So, all that in mind, our top choice for best instant camera is the Polaroid Snap. Sure, it doesn’t have the genuine vintage appeal of its refurbished ancestor, but it has its own neo-vintage flair.

It’s also one of the few that are actually pocket size. With its smooth, slimline body and lightweight, it’s perfect for slipping into a bag or a coat pocket so that you never miss those all-important shot.

In our opinion, it’s the only instant camera that really ticks every box for portability. It’s got none of the extra bells and whistles of its competitors, such as a macro lens, but besides that it is an absolutely amazing choice for any budding photographer or anyone who wants to save those memories on the move.

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