Polaroid cameras are proof that nostalgia is a force to be reckoned with. That’s right, the instant camera has made a comeback!
Before digital photography, you had to wait until a lab processed your film before seeing the results. That is until the Polaroid Corporation pioneered a consumer-friendly instant camera and film. Other manufacturers soon followed.
As such, the term ‘’Polaroid camera’’ is often used in place of ‘’Instant Camera’’, regardless of whether its actually the Polaroid brand.
The Polaroid camera changed history and some of history’s most famous artists have been linked with this camera, including Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams.
Its popularity is not confined to artists though. They are used by family and friends who love the novelty of an instant camera, travel photographers to leave a memento with their subjects, and at parties for a whole lot of fun.
There’s something special about an instant print!
Our top pick: Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Camera
The Fujifilm Instax Mini is a simple to use beginner level camera, making it ideal for families.
Powered by two AA batteries, its big buttons and plasticky build make it appealing for kids. There is a built-in automatic flash so you really don’t need to think too much with this one!
Exposure modes of sunny, cloudy, indoor and Hi-key are chosen by a turn of the lens ring.
Film type is Fujifilm Instax Mini which gives a picture size of 6.2 x 4.6 cm and a total size of 8.6 x 5.4 cm.
- Simple to use
- Comes in a range of colours
- The flash can’t be turned off
- Simplicity can be restrictive for more advanced users
Fujifilm Instax 300 Wide Polaroid Camera
The Fujifilm Instax 300 Wide Polaroid gives you instant prints closer to the dimensions of standard photographs, allowing you to include more in each shot. An automatic flash ensures any environment is well lit.
It features a focal zoom to get in close if required and a rear LCD makes it easy to see the camera settings.
Film type is Fujifilm Instax wide with a picture size of 9.9 x 6.2 cm and total film size of 10.8 x 8.6 cm.
- Tripod socket
- Focal zoom
- Close-up lens for shots up to 30 cm from the subject
- Bulky design
- Small viewfinder
- Requires four AA batteries rather than the standard two
Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Polaroid Camera
Old school doesn’t get much cooler than this modern take on a vintage classic! The Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Camera is our TOP PICK and one of the most exciting polaroids on the market.
It’s a step up from the OneStep 2, allowing connection via Bluetooth to the Polaroid Originals app and unlocking six creative tools. These tools allow users to explore double exposures, light painting, and a noise trigger.
Don’t worry, the camera works just fine without the app as well!
The Polaroid OneStep+ Camera features a secondary lens designed for portraits. The portrait lens is for when the distance between your camera lens and the subject is 0.3 – 0.9 metres and the standard lens is used for every other situation.
Film used is Polaroid i-Type or Polaroid 600. i-Type film measures 7.89 x 7.68 cm for the photo and 10.75 x 8.84 cm total area.
- Several shooting modes
- Additional lens for portraits
- Noise trigger
- Internal battery only
Leica Sofort Digital Camera
The Leica Sofort Digital Camera is the first instant camera from this usually expensive brand.
Beginners will love that it has a program for every occasion. It’s as easy as picking the one you need, concentrating on the subject and taking the shot. Your Leica Sofort will take care of all those pesky details.
For those that love a good selfie, it even has a selfie mirror!
However, if you wish to take control of the flash, exposure compensation and focusing distance yourself, your Leica will allow you to do that as well.
Film type is Leica Sofort or Fujifilm Instax Mini which gives a picture size of 6.2 x 4.6 cm and a total size of 8.6 x 5.4 cm.
- Comes in white, black, orange or mint colour
- Seven different shooting modes
- Expensive compared to others similar
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Instant Camera
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is an IDEAL GIFT for young adults or Instagram fans!
The square film gives an Instagram feel and once printed, can be displayed creatively in the same clean way as an Instagram feed on your wall or desk with blu-tac, or in a photo book. There is something satisfying about all those squares lined up neatly!
The camera feature a selfie mode and a mirror next to the lens to make sure your in the shot when taking a selfie. Other features include automatic exposure control, macro mode, landscape mode, double exposure mode, light/dark mode and the ability to add a color filter to the flash.
Film is Fujifilm Instax Square, which comes in both black and white. The image size is 6.2 x 6.2 cm with a total film size of 7.2 x 8.6 cm.
- Comes in five appealing colours
- Different shooting modes
- Camera body lacks a proper hand grip
Polaroid Camera Buyer’s Guide
With many options on the market, it can be difficult to know which Instant camera is the best to buy.
Fortunately, we’ve listed a few core features and specifications that will help you make the right choice.
Typically, each instant camera will only print on one size of film, so you will need to decide what size and shape film appeals to you the most.
Mini is the most common, giving a photo around the size of a credit card. Wide film is for those who wish to take more panoramic shots and square film emulates the old-school instant cameras, yet also appeals to those who love Instagram.
The Camera Size
Think about how portable you need your camera to be. The smaller your instant camera is, the easier it will be to carry it around and pack it up when travelling.
Be honest … Do you take lots of selfies? Some polaroid cameras feature a small mirror located near the lens so that you can ensure you are in the shot.
Remember, you can’t ‘’delete and redo’’ a polaroid, so it’s an important feature.
If you plan to take timed group selfies with your instant camera, a tripod socket is a must.
This will ensure stability and correct placement as you leave the camera to quickly run into the shot.
Buying a well known brand with a good reputation will make it easier to get your camera repaired if something goes wrong, and will also increase the availability of film.
Polaroid and Fujifilm are the main manufacturers.
Basic polaroids often have a set shutter-speed that aims to reduce blur while maximising light.
If you’re needing to shoot at higher speeds, such as action shots, you will want to consider a camera that allows you to do so.