A lot has happened since the first commercial instant camera, the model 95 Land Camera, appeared in 1948. Throughout these seven decades, instant cameras have seen better and worse times. However, despite the advent of digital cameras, they still retain great popularity.
The magic of being able to enjoy a photograph immediately after capturing it is priceless. In any case, choosing a suitable model of instant camera is not always easy. Several questions and buying criteria need to be taken into account. We have put together this complete guide to make it easier for you.
The most important
The latest craze is digital and hybrid instant cameras that allow you to choose and edit your photos before printing. However, many photo enthusiasts prefer to experience the magic of the analog experience and still go for the more classic models.
There is no doubt that the two most prestigious instant camera manufacturers are Fujifilm and Polaroid. However, Leica and Lomography are also brands that have made a solid commitment to this type of device, which is why they are so popular.
As with any camera, you can use instant cameras to capture memories of your travels or memorable moments. You can also use them for parties and special events, or even to introduce children and young people to the fascinating world of photography.
The best instant cameras on the market: our recommendations
Here is the ranking we have prepared with the five best instant cameras available on the market. We have designed it to include a wide variety of items. In any case, they are all products that stand out for offering excellent value for money and for being from well-known brands.
Choose from a variety of frames and filters for more printing fun.
What you should know about instant cameras
When buying an instant camera, there are several essential things to consider. As you can imagine, there are different instant camera models, each offering additional features. That’s why in this section, we will answer the most common questions from buyers.
What exactly are instant cameras?
Instant cameras are analog or digital photographic devices that allow you to capture photographs and get a hard copy on photographic paper almost instantly, or at most a few minutes later. They use photographic film to produce a single positive image to achieve this.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of instant cameras?
Having an instant camera offers several significant advantages. To begin with, with them, you can have the photograph in a paper format almost immediately. This way, you can give a particular photo as a gift when you have captured it. In addition, their designs are beautiful.
- They make it possible to obtain a photograph on photographic paper instantly.
- Their price is usually not excessively high.
- They are straightforward to use
- You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enjoy them.
- It is necessary to buy photo paper from time to time. And its price is not always very economical.
- In analog models, it is not possible to edit the photo.
- Many do not have rechargeable batteries.
What are the most common uses for an instant camera?
The possible uses of instant cameras are very varied. For starters, you can use them to take pictures of your travels or special moments as you would any other type of camera. You can also use them for parties or events where you want to give your guests an immediate souvenir.
Another possible use for this type of camera is to introduce children to the magic of photography. Imagine the amazement on their faces when they see the photo appear in paper format. There are some models specifically for children. And, of course, they can be used for artistic creations, just as Andy Warhol once did.
Who should I buy an instant camera for?
Instant cameras are ideal for all those people who look at life differently. They are also suitable for children, as they are perfect for introducing them to photography. They are also recommended for professional photographers working in events where instant photos are required.
How does an instant camera work?
Not all instant cameras work the same. In general, it depends on whether they are analog or digital equipment. In the former, light enters the camera through the lens and is captured on the film. Then, the camera brings out the photographic paper by activating the chemicals integrated into the camera for development.
What are the most common mistakes when using instant cameras?
One of the most common mistakes is not removing the protector (black protective screen) before using the camera for the first time. Another of the most common is to shake the photo after taking it. Contrary to what many people think, it does not develop faster no matter how much you shake it. It is better to wait a few minutes for it to dry.
Likewise, it is widespread that many people do not use the camera settings, so they do not get the most out of their photographic equipment. Similarly, starting using the camera without reading the instruction manual is widespread. Finally, another typical mistake is to stack photos improperly.
Are instant cameras worth it?
Features that may be good for one person may not suit another’s shooting style or personal preferences. Instant cameras are enjoyable to use and take practice to shoot beautiful photos, but it’s worth it.
Why are instant cameras popular?
Land compacted all the chemicals and equipment into a small package, letting the whole process happen instantly as soon as the photo was taken. This technology was unheard of and led to the cameras’ massive success. Throughout the 20th century, Polaroid instant cameras remained popular.
Do instant cameras come with film?
Save and shoot straight from the box with three film packs. Capture and keep your everyday moments forever with the Polaroid Now. Our new analog instant camera comes with autofocus to help you catch life as you live it in that iconic Polaroid instant film format.
Where to buy paper for instant cameras?
This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns you may have when considering the purchase of an instant camera. However, you can rest assured. It is not usually difficult to find paper for instant cameras. For starters, you can always turn to online stores like Amazon.
In addition, the excellent distribution work done by brands like Fujifilm ensures that you can buy sheets of paper for your camera almost anywhere in the world. Thus, you can find form in all specialized photo stores and most large department stores.
If you decide to buy an instant camera, you must consider several criteria. To make it easy for you, we have selected the most important ones. We hope they will serve as a guide to help you get the best value for money from the camera you buy.
How you are going to use the camera
You will not need the same type of camera for a gift as for taking snapshots at a wedding or birthday party. In the latter case, you may be interested in an inexpensive, easy-to-use model. If you need a camera that offers good performance, the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 or the Leica Sofort may be right for you.
The Instax Square SQ10 is also an exciting option if you want to use your camera creatively. You also don’t need the same camera to take snapshots of your travels or your children to learn the magic of photography. For the latter, we recommend the Fujifilm Mini 8 or even the Polaroid Snap Touch.
One of the characteristics for which instant cameras stand out is their design. You can find cameras with a vintage look like the Lomo’Instant Wide, with more original designs like Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8, or with a more classic and elegant look like the Leica Sofort or the Instax Mini 90.
If you prefer a more modern design, an exciting option is the Instax Mini 70. Similarly, a camera specially designed for children is the Hello Kitty camera. In addition, most manufacturers generally offer their models in different color combinations. The truth is that there is a lot of variety to choose from.
Size of photos and photo paper
When buying an instant camera, one of the most critical questions is what size you want the photos to be. Each camera model uses a specific size. And that, in turn, will influence the photo paper you need to buy.
Fuji sells paper in three different formats: Instax Mini (54 mm x 86 mm), Instax Square (86 mm x 72 mm), and Instax Wide (108 mm x 86 mm). Some Lomography models also use the latter. Another size you can find is Polaroid’s 50 x 76 mm, although the most famous size of this brand is its iconic square format.
The battery of instant cameras can be rechargeable or consist of a series of AA batteries that need to be replaced from time to time. Undoubtedly, the first option is much more convenient and economical. Thus, it would help if you considered not only the autonomy of the battery but also what type it is.
Another thing to consider when buying an instant camera is what “extra” features it has. Some cameras offer the possibility of enjoying multiple exposures, filters, and even interchangeable lenses.
When choosing a camera, it is essential to opt for a camera of a recognized brand with extensive experience in the field of photography. Of course, the case of instant cameras is no exception. Undoubtedly, the first brand that comes to mind is Polaroid when talking about this type of camera.
However, as you can imagine, it is not the only one and nowadays not even the most prestigious. At present, Fujifilm is undoubtedly the brand with the most significant recognition and the most incredible variety of models.
Not only have instant cameras not gone out of fashion, but they have retained all their appeal. Indeed, it can be said that they are living as second youth. They are undoubtedly ideal for an original gift, to liven up the holidays, and even to introduce children to the art of photography.
However, choosing a suitable model requires at least a basic knowledge of photography and several essential purchasing criteria. Of course, the first of them is the use you will make of the camera. From there, you can think about which design or brands suit you best.
Finally, if you think this guide has helped you in your choice process, you can leave us a comment or share it on different social networks.