There’s nothing like the click and whir of an instant camera. Press the shutter button and you’ll enjoy a satisfying buzz as your film emerges from the camera. The results may not be as instantaneous as a compact camera, but instant cameras are in vogue once more thanks to their old-school ways and their vintage look. They're also just great fun!
Following the advent of the digital camera, everyone predicted the instant camera’s imminent demise. But whether it’s the old-school novelty of it or simply that some of us miss holding a paper print in our hand, instant cameras are back with a vengeance and gaining in popularity too.
And with the instant camera comeback, we’re seeing a host of Polaroid cameras and Fujifilm Instax cameras hitting the market. But what’s the best instant camera brand to go for these days?
Polaroid vs Fujifilm Instax
In days old, Polaroid was synonymous with instant cameras and their photographs. But that’s just not the case today. Fujifilm has emerged with its competitive range of Instax cameras. Today they are some of the best instant cameras going around.
With the competition between brands, many people ask us which is better: Polaroid or Fujifilm Instax?
This answer, unsurprisingly, is that it depends. Just as DSLR cameras may not be worthwhile if you’re only wanting to take casual holiday or family snaps, so too do your needs and interests shape which instant camera would be better for you.
Fujifilm has created a reputation as the go-to brand for fun-loving instant cameras for the birthday party or wedding. Many Fujifilm Instax cameras, such as the Mini 90, have smaller business-card-sized prints (62x46 mm) ideal for the wallet insert or pin board display.
Fujifilm offers a large Instax range so you can choose between the simplest models or something more complex with plenty of added features. They are known for creating cameras that range from cute, easy-to-use designs through to professional, retro chic, making Fujifilm Instax one of the most popular instant camera brands around.
If you’re after something with a bit more bite, their advanced models offer features such as dual printing or high performance flash and macro modes, such as the Mini 90 or the Instax 300.
Today, many photography experts recommend Fujifilm Instax as the most popular and reliable instant camera model.
Fujifilm Instax’s instant film have hit the mark for crisper, clearer shots while maintaining the vintage look we love so much in our instant photos. The film is predictable and reliable, meaning it will keep its relatively sharp quality over time.
There’s a lot to love about Polaroid instant film cameras, especially the role it played in the good old analogue days ... Without this brand, we couldn’t ‘shake it like a Polaroid picture’, that’s for sure.
But today, Polaroid has lost some of its influence, pushed aside by the innovative Instax range. Still, the brand is making a comeback with a series of high tech instant cameras and a resurgent interest in its classic models.
While the Fujifilm Instax is great for fun-loving occasions, Polaroids are where instant photography gets serious. The newly-released Polaroid Now - White i-Type Instant Camera features Autofocus 2-lens system that will help you capture sharper photos with ease.
Polaroid's models like the Snap or Pop ranges have a similar bubbly, fun design to FujiFilm’s Instax Mini 8 at an equally attractive price and come with enough features for the camera-happy snapper who's looking for a simple instant camera designed to optimise enjoyment.
Polaroids are best for the artsy photography. Skip the birthday party – this is an instant camera you want to use on holiday or for your next photography project.
Most Polaroid cameras embrace the ZINK® Zero Ink technology, which is smudge-proof and tear-resistant. As with all instant photographs, the image quality isn’t what you’ll get with photos from a DSLR. But that’s not exactly the point with instant cameras, is it?
Thanks to The Impossible Project, it’s now actually possible to keep using your outdated 80s Polaroid model – in new, original photographs as well. The Impossible Project offers a range of stylised photograph options, including black and white. But as with the ZINK prints, they’re on the pricey side.
Choosing Instant Cameras for Your Needs
Choosing the right instant camera depends on your price range and how you plan to use it. Someone looking for a polaroid camera for their child or to take on holiday (an instant camera makes a great addition to your travel kit) will prefer a different option to someone who wants one for professional purposes or to capture awesome moments at parties...
Below, we analyse the best instant cameras for all photography enthusiasts. Our fave instant camera picks include:
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO Classic
- Polaroid Originals OneStep+ i-Type Camera
- Polaroid 600 Type 80s
- Polaroid Now i-Type Instant Camera
- Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Instant Camera
- Lomography Lomo'Instant Camera
Read more below and get the top features to find the best instant camera for you.
For Instagram-Worthy Pics: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO Classic
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO Classic is a fantastic instant camera. It makes the perfect gift for that teenager who is obsessed with social media and wants to be in with the latest trends.
The instax mini 90 offers advanced features, such as bulb and double exposures, that are attractions of traditional analog cameras and offer an enhanced capability to capture light creatively. The instax mini 90 is also equipped with new functions and features like macro mode and high performance flash, making this an instant camera for every photographer developed under the concept "NEO CLASSIC."
- Performance flash
- Macro mode
- Traditional build and feel with modern results
For Tech Buffs: Polaroid Originals OneStep+ i-Type Camera - Black
Polaroid Originals is the perfect marriage between retro instant photography and modern digital photography. The Polaroid Originals camera features Bluetooth compatibility and built-in flash for easy quality pics.
Additionally, it integrates with an Android or iOS mobile devices, Polaroid Originals app can be used to enable manual mode, noise trigger, remote trigger and the features to create light paintings or double exposures.
It’s perfect for travel, print your photos and share them with people you meet on your adventure, and upload your favourites to social media. It’s the best of both worlds.
- Creative tools with Polaroid app
- Rechargeable battery
- Accepts i-Type and 600 Instant Film
- 106mm f/14 to f/64 Lens
- Android and iOS Device Compatible
For Vintage Camera Lovers: Polaroid 600 Type 80s
If you’re after a Polaroid camera that harkens back to the days of classic instant photography, the refurbished Polaroid 600 is for you. This instant camera combines the classic 80s square box body with new technology like a frog tongue to shield photos as they exit the camera.
This camera is perfect for anyone who wants to reminisce or just getting started. It has an easy-to-use point and shoot style, with a fixed-focus lens. It also features simple controls for adjusting exposure levels, so you can get a brighter or darker image with ease.
- Built-In Flash
- 600 Type Film
- Classic 80's Style
For Instant Camera Beginners: Polaroid Now - Black i-Type Instant Camera
Capture beautiful instant photos anytime and anywhere you go using the Polaroid Now - Black i-Type Instant Camera. It offers simplicity in design and very easy to use. This instant camera features Autofocus 2-lens system that will help you capture sharper photos. Simply capture beautiful moments and turn them into memories you can hold.
You'll love the Polaroid Now because of its simplicity yet quality.
- Accurate Flash
- Built-in Double Exposure
- Autofocus 2-Lens System
For Enthusiasts: Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Instant Camera
The Instax Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Instant Camera is great for photographers looking to up their instant photography game, packing a bunch of additional features that justify its value. From its high performance flash to its LCD display, it has plenty to offer an enthusiastic photographer.
It is everything you want in a modern instant camera. This instant camera permits you to view your favourite photos on its display screen before you print them. The small size of this instant camera is ideal for on the go.
Bring life to your instant prints by adding one of 30 frames or one of 6 filters to your images while capturing the photo or during playback. You can also connect your smartphone with the camera using the Instax mini LiPlay App and quickly print the photo. Offering the remote shooting feature, you can capture group shots using your smartphone as the camera's shutter button.
- Remote Shooting
- Display Screen
- Innovative filters
- Compact size
- Convert recorded sounds into a QR code and add it to your photo
For Creatives: Lomography Lomo'Instant Camera
Although this post has focused on Polaroid and Fujifilm, the two dominant brands in the instant camera market, we'd be remiss not to mention Lomography. If you're a fan of colourful filters and want to experiment artistically with your instant camera, a Lomography Lomo'Instant instant camera is an excellent choice. It not only looks cool, it produces impressive instant photos with the range of lenses and filters that come included.
With multiple manual shooting modes to choose from, it's a great way to experiment with photography and add a little creative flair to your photography. It even comes with shooting technique cards to help you perfect your instant photography.
- Customisable lenses and filters
- Technique card included
- Unique design and good to hold
- Premium construction
- Quality Results
Get the best in instant photography equipment at Camera House
If you’re after the best instant cameras, you'll find what you’re looking for in the Camera House online store. Whether you're looking for a gift, an instant camera for your own enjoyment or simply some advice on picking an instant camera, you can trust the professionals at Camera House.
For more expert advice, visit us in-store or learn more about all things photography on the Camera House blog: