For some, instant cameras bring back memories of a simpler time, evoking a sense of nostalgia and igniting the magic of photography. These cameras produce physical prints, often in the form of polaroids, that serve as a physical keepsake. And who doesn’t like the aesthetic of a film?
Over the years, instant cameras have evolved, offering improved image quality and features such as built-in flash, zoom lenses, and connectivity options. But with so many models available, what is the best instant camera? In this article, we narrow down the best instant cameras, so you can choose the perfect one to meet your needs.
Best Instant Cameras Comparison Chart
|Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6|
|Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo|
|Fujifilm Instax Mini 11|
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
The best instant film camera
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is the best camera for instant photos. Stylish and durable, it offers a satisfying instant photography experience sans the cost. The SQ6 is available in six colors. Weighing 393 grams, it’s fairly lightweight, too. Plus, the camera’s compact size makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.
Now, the SQ6 isn’t as feature-packed as other models. Nonetheless, it’s surprisingly easy to use. It also uses some of the most affordable films at about 90¢ each. You can get pricier instant cameras but would you want to use them if the film is too expensive?
When it comes to picture size, the SQ6 prints 2.4-by-2.4-inch images. It’s slightly smaller than the classic Polaroids but the picture quality is comparable. The SQ6’s 65.75mm lens is also one of the sharpest in the market. It comes with three shooting modes — macro, normal, and landscape — and offers double exposure if you want to get creative.
Film type: INSTAX Square | Film size: 2.4 in.x 2.4 in. | Flash: Yes
Self-timer: Yes | Self-portrait mirror: Yes
Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo
The best hybrid instant print camera
If you want the ease of digital and the charm of film, consider the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo. The Evo comes with an LCD screen similar to a digital point-and-shoot. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can print smartphone photos using the camera or transfer saved images from the camera to your smartphone.
The Evo’s design, however, mimics a classic analog camera. Across the camera, you get a faux leatherette coating that looks genuine from afar. It also Evo uses tactile dials for switching between film and lens effects. It also comes with a print lever you pull when you’re ready to process pictures — making shooting with the Evo enjoyable.
The obvious advantage of the Evo’s digital qualities is cost efficiency. Since you can review the pictures you take, you can select the images you want to print. There’s no trial-and-error here. And with ten film and lens effects each, you get up to 100 effect combinations.
Film type: INSTAX mini | Film size: 2.4 in x 1.8 in. | Flash: Yes
Self-timer: No | Self-portrait mirror: Yes
The best portable instant camera
Steeped in the history of the first instant camera, the Polaroid Go distinguishes itself from the Polaroid legacy with its portability. The Go weighs a mere 240 grams. It also measures 5.9 inches long and 2.4 inches deep, allowing it to fit into your palm and pocket. Due to its size and button layout, the camera also allows for one-hand operation.
Although diminutive, the Go is big in features. It has a 51.1mm lens with ample 65.1° diagonal FOV. The standard instant camera features like self-timer and double exposure are also present. Of course, there are some corners cut. Unlike its larger Polaroid Now sibling, the Go lacks auto-focus, which can result in some blurry shots.
The Go does a decent job if you’re into casual instant photography. You get ample exposure from the pocket-sized camera, although indoor shots inevitably require the flash turned on. Its film is also more expensive than the likes of the Instax Mini. However, the Go uses a rechargeable battery, which is more convenient than relying on AA batteries.
Film type: Polaroid Go | Film size: 4.7 cm x 4.6 cm | Flash: Yes
Self-timer: Yes | Self-portrait mirror: No
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
The best instant camera for kids
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a fun, instant camera that’s perfect for capturing memories on the go. Belonging to the top-rated Mini lineup, the Mini 11 is a beginner-friendly unit that captures better close-up images than the Mini 7 or 9.
Unlike other cameras, the Mini 11 sports a non-traditional exterior with eye-catching colors. It’s also compact and lightweight, making it easy to store in your bag. The camera’s automatic exposure and simple button layout make it easy to operate, even for kids and those new to instant cameras.
With the Mini 11, the photos produced had bright colors and sharp details. A high-performance flash also enables the camera to handle subjects well in low-light conditions. The only downside is that you can’t deactivate the flash.
For self-portraits, however, the Mini 11 will please the kids. The camera boasts a close-up lens attachment, making it ideal for taking photos of yourself or for macro shots.
Film type: Instax mini | Film size: 2.4 in x 1.8 in. | Flash: Yes
Self-timer: No | Self-portrait mirror: Yes
The Fujifilm Instax Sqaure SQ6 is the best instant camera to get. For beginners, however, the Instax Mini 11 is a recommended entry-level purchase.
With the popularity of smartphones and social media, it’s easy to just take a photo and share it online. For those who want a physical keepsake, however, instant cameras are hard to beat.
If you’re in the market for one, we recommend the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6. The SQ6 boasts a solid feature set that delivers some of the best prints today. It’s also a cost-friendly camera, with films averaging just under a dollar each.
For kids and beginners, look no further than the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. The Mini 11’s unique design and vibrant colors have become emblematic of today’s crop of instant cameras. However, it’s the ease of use that will draw over users to this product.
Fujfilm says that the Instax Square SQ6 has a developing time of 90 seconds.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 has a close-up range of 30 to 50 cm.
No. The Polaroid Go is only compatible with the Polaroid Go film.
Yes. The Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo supports remote shooting. This allows users to user their smartphone as a remote control for the camera.