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Polaroid Now vs Instax Mini 11 (2021): Which Is The Better Instant Camera?

It’s amazing how instant cameras made it to the mainstream in this age of digital photography. Who wouldn’t want to own one? It’s fun and easy to use. Most of all, it’s instant! You get to see your photos almost instantly because it prints and develops right before your very eyes. In this article, we will be comparing Polaroid Now vs Instax Mini 11 to see which instant camera will better suit your needs.

Polaroid Now vs Instax Mini 11 Comparison Chart

ModelPolaroid NowInstax Mini 11
 Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Instant Camera - Black (9028)Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera - Ice White
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Film TypePolaroid Originals i-Type, Polaroid 600Instax Mini Instant Film
Film Developing Time10-15 minutes90 seconds
Focal Length94.96 – 102.35mm60mm
Focus TypeZone FocusFixed Focus
Minimum Focus Distance1.80′ / 55 cm11.81″ / 30 cm
Viewfinder TypeOpticalOptical
Exposure ModeAutomaticAutomatic
FlashYesYes
Selfie MirrorNoYes
Self TimerYesYes
Tripod MountNoNo
Battery & ChargingMicro-USB2 x AA Batteries
Dimensions3.7″ x 4.4″ x 5.9″4.24″ x 4.77″ x 2.65″
Weight Without Film Pack0.95 lb0.65 lb
WarrantyLimited 1-Year WarrantyLimited 1-Year Warranty

The Beginnings of Polaroid Now and Fujifilm Instax Mini

Polaroid and Fujifilm currently dominate the instant photography scene.

Polaroid Now vs Fujifilm Instax
Before the launching of Polaroid Now (left), Fujifilm’s Instax cameras (right) were the only camera options for instant photography in this age of digital photography.

Instant photography has been in the industry for years. Generation X babies will attest to this as they, most likely, grew up with a Polaroid. Yes, it was Polaroid that started it all with the launching of the first Polaroid instant camera in 1948. The instant camera was warmly received and became popular in the 20th century. But despite its success, Polaroid Corporation declared bankruptcy in 2001. As a result, the company finally ceased operations in 2008.

Meanwhile, Fujifilm started in 1934 as a photographic film maker in Japan. The company first launched the Instax Mini 10 and the Instax Mini film in 1998 and it slowly gained popularity among the Millennial generation. In short, the absence of Polaroid became a golden opportunity for Fujifilm’s Instax to shine.

But loyal fans did not want the magic of Polaroid to end. Through the efforts of the Impossible Project, the brand and intellectual property rights were acquired from Polaroid Corporation in 2017. Fast forward to 2020, Impossible Project’s Polaroid Originals was rebranded to Polaroid. In the same year, Polaroid Now was released.

Design

Polaroid Now sports a retro vibe while Instax Mini 11 looks cute and youthful.

Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11 boxes
Sharp edges and corners are seen in the box-like body of the Polaroid Now (left) which is the total opposite of Instax Mini 11’s (right) smooth, curvy body.

It’s like a trip down memory lane with the Polaroid Now as it still has the same layout as the earlier models but with fewer buttons. Front and center of its boxy body is the lens with the flash and the buttons for the self-timer and shutter surrounding it. The wide slit where the photo comes out is still in its usual place but the viewfinder is now ergonomic as it extends back into the camera. Meanwhile, at the back of the camera are the flash button, power button, and LED film counter.

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 11, on the other hand, has curvy edges making it look more like a toy than a camera. It may be intentional as this instant camera is targeted towards the teen and millennial market. In addition, each camera comes with a hand strap and “jewel button” of the same color. This “jewel button” by the way is made of rubber and is attached to the shutter button to make it softer to touch. Lastly, Instax’s developed film comes out of the slit on top.

Both instant cameras spell fun but it appears that they target photographers of separate age groups. Even with its bright colors and special editions, Polaroid Now cameras still give a retro feel which may be preferred by Polaroid loyalists. On the contrary, Instax Mini 11’s design is more on the playful side with its pastel color choices not only for the cameras but also for its accessories.

Performance and Quality of Photos

The Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11 shoots decent photos but do not expect DSLR-like quality.

Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11
Polaroid Now’s film (left) is bigger than Instax Mini 11’s (right).

Compared to other models, Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11 are considered entry-level instant cameras. A common feature between these two is autofocus which is best for beginners or those who just want to shoot a decent instant photo. But Polaroid Now has a double-exposure built-in feature and Instax Mini 11 doesn’t have any. Moreover, both Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11 have improved exposures compared to their predecessors.

It is very important for users to know the type and size of film that is compatible with the instant camera. Just in case you didn’t know, Polaroid films use different technology and formula in developing photos. This is why it takes 10 to 15 minutes for Polaroid photos to fully develop, unlike Instax photos that only take less than two minutes.

Polaroid Now is compatible with both the older Polaroid 600 films that have batteries inside its cartridge and the newer Polaroid i-Type Films. Both are longer and wider than the wallet-sized Instax Mini films used for the Instax Mini 11. Nevertheless, these films all have the classic white border that is bigger at the bottom where details about the photo are usually written.

Battery and Charging

Polaroid Now is rechargeable while Instax Mini 11 still uses two AA batteries.

Polaroid Now vs Instax Mini 11 battery and charging
Polaroid Now (right) has a micro USB charging port on its side while Instax Mini 11 (right) has its battery slot in the hand grip area. .

One of the major differences between these two instant cameras is battery charging. Polaroid Now has a built-in rechargeable battery that is recharged with the micro USB charger included in the package. One full charge is enough juice for a 16-pack film and you will just have to recharge again to get it back up and running.

On the other hand, Instax Mini 11 is still powered with two 1.5V AA batteries. The package does not include batteries so you will have to buy it separately. We strongly recommend getting a fresh pack of Alkaline batteries after 100 shots (10 packs of film).

Verdict

Your choice will depend on how you’re planning to use your instant camera.

Polaroid Now and Instax Mini 11 are undeniably two of the most affordable instant cameras. The cameras are both beautiful, yet uniquely, designed. It’s now up to you whether you’re pro-edges or pro-curves. But in terms of performance and photo quality, we believe that Polaroid Now is the better instant camera. Its autofocus feature is better, though still not at macro shooting levels. The double exposure feature is cool but may take a bit of trial and error, especially for beginners.

If you’re one of these beginners, we recommend practicing with an Instax Mini 11 in the meantime. Instax Mini films are more affordable so you’ll feel less guilty with imperfect shots. Also, the Instax Mini 11’s auto exposure is definitely an improved version of its predecessors. Best of all, it only costs almost half the price of the Polaroid Now.

We hope that this Polaroid Now vs Instax Mini 11 review helped you with your decision. In case the bulky body of Polaroid Now is holding you back, we recommend you check out our review of the Polaroid Go. It is still in the same price range but is considerably more compact and portable. But take note that its photos are smaller than the Instax Mini’s is compatible only with Polaroid Go films.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Polaroid Now rechargeable?

Polaroid Now has a built-in rechargeable battery that you can recharge using a micro-USB charging cable.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do Instax photos fade?

If not stored properly, especially when exposed to high temperatures, Instax photos may fade.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Instax Mini 11 better than the 9?

There are significant upgrades in the Instax Mini 11 which makes it better than Instax Mini 9. This includes a fully automatic exposure system that gives you photos with better lighting.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which Instax Mini is the best?

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is by far the best Instax Mini. It boasts of a double exposure mode, self-timer, and portrait/landscape lenses.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mauie Flores

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying, blogger and content creator passionate about writing, music, and good food.