Instant cameras have made a huge comeback in recent years – but what are the best instant cameras? We’re going to answer that question by exploring the best instant cameras from Polaroid, Fujifilm, and other manufacturers. By the end, you’ll know the price, tech specs, and features of the best instant cameras money can buy.
Best Instant Film Cameras
- Camera Features: 10MP images; 2ʺx3ʺ sticky-backed prints; Automatic flash; 10-second timer; Fixed focus; LCD viewfinder display; MicroSD™ compatible (up to 256GB); Built-in rechargeable battery; 40 prints per charge
- Editing Features: Color Filters; Borders; Photo booth mode
- Included in Package: KODAK SMILE Instant Print Digital Camera; Micro USB charging cable; Starter pack of KODAK ZINK Photo Paper; Quick start guide
The Kodak Smile Instant Print Digital Camera brings Kodak’s patented instant camera aesthetic into the 21st century. Well, kind of sort of. The Smile Instant Print Digital Camera features a new body but it still uses Zink print technology.
Perhaps the greatest strength and weakness of the Kodak Smile Instant Print Digital Camera is its use of Zink print technology. Zink turns the Smile Instant Print Digital Camera into a camera/printer unlike most of its competitors – but it comes at a cost; the photo quality simply doesn’t stack up to the rest.
Best Instant Picture Cameras
- Camera Features: 2 x 3 inch Photo Paper Size, Sticker Back, Smudge-Free, Water & Tear Resistant; 5MP Camera; Autoflash; Autofocus; ISO (Range 100-1600)
- Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.2 x 0.9 inches
- Accessories/Batteries: Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer (700 mAh); Full Charge in Approx. 90 Minutes (Measured at 5V/1A Charging Speed)
Canon decided to enter the instant photography market with its line of Ivy CLIQ instant cameras. Like the Kodak Smile, the Ivy CLIQ2 uses Zink (Zero Ink) technology – so it doesn’t quite have the same look as Polaroid and Fujifilm’s instant cameras.
But the CLIQ2 makes up for its deficiencies with unique features, such as the ability to print photos from phones and iPads. In truth, the CLIQ2 may work best as a portable printer – but it allows for photo capture too.
Best Instant Picture Cameras
- Camera Features: Automatik-Hektor 60mm f/12.7 lens equivalent to 34mm in full-frame; Three-zone manual focus system with macro; Automatic, Self-Portrait, People & Part, Action & Sport, Bulb, Macro, Self-Timer, and Double Exposure; Exposure compensation settings of -0.7, 0.0, and +0.7 EV Automatic metering range of 5-15.5 LV at ISO 800
- Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.28 x 4.88 inches
- Batteries: Powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack (3.7V, 740mAh)
The German camera company Leica introduced its first instant camera in 2016 to fairly rave reviews. First and foremost: the Leica Sofort Instant Camera isn’t cheap. It retails at $300 but it isn’t widely available for purchase.
So, why is the Leica Sofort so expensive? Well, a lot of it has to do with brand name. Leica is a premium brand and its product prices reflect that. Leica products are also generally well-regarded for their premium feel, and the Sofort is no exception.
Best Instant Film Cameras
- Camera Features: Optical grade polycarbonate lens, coated
- Shutter system: Custom design using precision step motor; Optical System; Lens Focus: Fixed focus lens’, Standard lens focal length: 103 mm; Portrait lens focal length: 89 mm;Field of view: 41° vertical, 40° horizontal; Flash System: Vacuum discharge tube strobe; Bluetooth LE connectivity
- Dimensions and Weight: L 5.9 × W 4.3 × H 3.8 in (L 150 × W 111 × H 97 mm); Weight: 1.08 lbs (493 grams) (without film pack)
- Accessories/Batteries: Neck Strap and USB charging cable included; Tripod mount on base of camera; High performance lithium-ion battery (1100mAh), rechargeable via USB
The Polaroid OneStep+ i-Type Instant Camera appears on just about every list of the best instant cameras. Personally, I think the Polaroid Now offers a better value for the money, but both are great instant cameras.
The OneStep+ is very similar to the Now, but it features bluetooth connectivity and a dual-lens system as well. If you don’t mind spending the extra ~$40, then surely check out the OneStep+.
Top Instant Cameras
- Camera Features: Retractable lens, 2 components, 2 elements, f = 65.75 mm, 1:12.6; Inverted Galilean finder, 0.4 x, with target spot; Motor-driven 3-range switching (0.3 m - 0.5 m/1 ft. - 1.6 ft., 0.5 m - 2 m/1.6 ft - 6.6 ft., 2 m/6.6 ft. and beyond); Macro Mode (0.3 m - 0.5 m/1 ft. - 1.6 ft.) ; Normal Mode (0.5 m - 2 m/1.6 ft - 6.6 ft.); Landscape Mode (2 m/6.6 ft and beyond); Programmed electronic shutter release, 1.6 sec - 1/400 sec.; Automatic, Interlocking range (ISO 800): LV 5 - LV 15.5; Exposure compensation: ±2/3 EV
- Dimensions: 118.7 mm x 128.1 mm x 58.1 mm/4.7 in. x 5.0 in. x 2.3 in. (not including protrusions); 393 g/13.9 oz. (without battery, strap, and film pack)
- Accessories: Two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries, Shoulder strap, Three flash color filters
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is regarded by many as one of the best instant cameras in the world. It’s a little more expensive than the Instax Mini models – but it adds a bevy of features that improves the image quality.
But although the image quality may be better than the Mini’s, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Instax Square SQ6 is the best Instax camera for you. For example: I prefer the smaller prints from the Instax Mini cameras because they fit better into my wallet.
But if I were to hang up the photos on my wall, I’d prefer the Square SQ6. In the end, it’s a matter of weighing the pros and the cons.
Top Instant Cameras
- Camera Features: Manual focus as close as 10.4 in (26.4 cm); Automatic variable shutter speed/aperture system; Lighten/darken wheel; Flashbar slot
- Product Information from Polaroid: Comes with protective film shield (requires installation); Refurbished by Polaroid – may show signs of wear; 1 year limited warranty; Due to stock availability, the model you receive may differ slightly from product shown; Please note: This camera does not come with a flashbar fitted. Compatible with the MiNT SX-70 Flashbar.
No list of the best instant cameras is complete without the one that started it all: the Polaroid SX-70. In many ways, the Polaroid SX-70 is viewed as the crowning achievement of Polaroid founder Edwin H. Land’s legendary career – its compact design and solid build quality is revered to this day.
The SX-70 is more than just an instant camera though, it’s a historical artifact. So whether you’re looking to use the SX-70 for instant camera photography or to simply keep it in your bookshelf, you’ll be receiving a portal into the past like nothing else. Just be warned that the SX-70 is available in limited stock.
Best Instant Picture Cameras
- Camera Features: Shutter Release via Remote Control; Aperture: Automatic f/4.5, f/22; Shutter Speed: Bulb (max. 30 seconds), Auto: 8s - 1/250; Focal Length: 38mm; Exposure Area: 62mm x 46mm; Film Format: Instax Mini; Focusing Distance: 0.3m - infinity
- Accessories/Batteries: Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan; Lomo'Instant Automat Glass Close-Up Lens Attachment; Remote Control Lens Cap; Lomo'Instant Automat Glass Splitzer; Colored Gel Filters; Inspirational shooting tips; Magnet Stickers; Glue Dots; Photo Stands and Photo Clips; 2 x CR2 batteries (2 x 3V)
The Lomo’Instant Automat Glass is an interesting mid-premium instant camera. It’s not exactly cheap at $179 but it’s less expensive than many of its glass-lens instant camera competitors.
The body of the Instant Automat Glass is clean – and its minimalist design makes it an aesthetically pleasing camera to look at. If you’re considering buying the Instant Automat Glass, keep in mind that the camera uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film.
Best Instant Film Cameras
- Camera Features: Outer shell: Polycarbonate + ABS plastics; Lenses: Optical grade Polycarbonate and Acrylic lenses, coated; Shutter system: Custom design, using precision step motor for shutter; Autofocus system via 2 fixed focus zones 0.55m-1.3m, 0.6m-infinity; Focal length: Close-up (lens 1) 94.96 mm, Distance (lens 2) 102.35 mm; Field of view: 41 degrees vertical, 40 degrees horizontal; Flash system; Vacuum discharge tube storage
- Dimensions: Dimensions: 3.7 × 4.4 × 5.9 in (94 x 112.2 x 150.2 mm); Weight: 0.95 lbs (434 grams) (without film pack)
- Accessories/Battery: Neck Strap and USB charging cable included; High performance lithium-ion battery (750mAh), rechargeable via USB
The Polaroid Now i-Type Instant Camera was a 2020 model refresh that added the ever-so-asked for autofocus feature that budget consumers had been asking Polaroid for years. The i-Type Instant Camera is Polaroid’s cheapest instant camera model – and although it lacks some of the features its more expensive counterparts offer, it succeeds due to an abundance of style and simplicity.
Note: i-Type film is cheaper than Polaroid 600 and SX-70 film, but it’s more expensive than a lot of the film other camera manufacturers use.
Best Value Instant Cameras
- Film – Fujifilm Instant Color Film “instax mini” (separately available); Film Size – 86mm x 54mm Picture Size 62mm x 46mm; Film Developing Time – Approximately 90 seconds (Varies depending on the ambient temperature)
- Camera Features: Real image finder, 0.37x, with target spot; Lens – 2 components, 2 elements, f = 60 mm, 1:12.7; Focusing – 0.6m – ∞; Automatic Exposure, LV 5.0 to 14.5 (ISO 800); Shutter Speed -Programmed electronic shutter 1/2 to 1/250 sec.; Exposure Control – Slow synchro for low light; Constant firing flash (automatic light adjustment); Recycle time – 0.2 sec. to 6 sec. (when using new batteries); Effective flash range – 0.6m – 2.7 m
- Batteries and Dimensions: Two AA-size 1.5V alkaline batteries Capacity: 100 shots (Approximately 10 instax mini film packs with new AA batteries); 107.6 mm x 121.2mm x 67.3mm / 293g (without batteries, strap and film pack)
- Accessories included: 2 x AA batteries; Hand strap; 2 Jewel buttons
The Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras are some of the most popular instant cameras in the world. In fact, many would argue that the Instax Mini 11’s predecessor, the Instax Mini 9, is still the most popular instant camera in the world. Essentially, the Instax Mini 11 is a model refresh. It looks and feels similar to its predecessor, but usurps it with better performance in low-light.
Best Instant Camera on the Market
- Camera Features: Film Size – 86mm x 54mm; Picture Size – 62mm x 46mm; Film Developing Time – Approximately 90 seconds (Varies depending on the ambient temperature); Lens – Move in / out type lens, 2 components, 2 elements, f=60mm, F=12.7; Focusing – Motor-driven 3-range switching, 0.3m – ∞ (macro mode: 0.3m – 0.6m, normal mode: 0.6m – 3.0m, landscape mode: 3.0m – ∞); Real image finder, 0.37x, with target spot and parallax adjustment for macro mode; Shutter Speed – Programmed electronic shutter release, 1.8 – 1/400 sec. shutter speeds (macro mode: aperture automatically fixed at F22, bulb mode: maximum 10-second shutter open time); Exposure Control – Automatic, LV5.0 – 15.5 (ISO800), lighten-darken control ±2/3EV, +1EV; Automatic electronic flash (with brightness adjustment function), forced firing mode (with brightness adjustment function), flash off mode, red eye reduction mode; Electronically controlled, approx. 10 second delay, Continuous shooting mode can be stopped mid-run; Liquid Crystal – Exposure counter (number of remaining shots), Macro mode, Brightness control, Self timer, Flash ON / OFF, Mode button(Party / Kids / Landscape / Double exposure / Bulb)
- Dimensions: 113.4mm x 91.9mm x 57.2mm, 296g (excluding the battery, strap and film)
- Accessories/Batteries: Rechargeable Li-ion battery (NP-45S); Shoulder strap; Battery charger; Instruction manual; Power Supply – NP-45A lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Charge capacity: 10 film packs (based on our test conditions)
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is widely regarded as the best of the best for the Instax Minis. It’s not quite a premium instant camera, but it’s targeted at users who want a better build quality than the Instax Mini 9 or the Instax Mini 11.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the Instax Mini 90 is its iconic retro design. Pop a flash on it and the Instax Mini 90 will resemble a paparazzi camera from La Dolce Vita. But the design isn’t all that’s good about the Instax Mini 90 – it also features advanced shooting modes such as double exposure and bulb exposure as well.
Best Polaroid Cameras
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is the best instant film camera?” let’s look at the best Polaroid cameras on the market! We’ll break down a variety of polaroid cameras by looking at what makes each of them unique. Don’t just read along, snap a picture too!