You probably refer to the instant camera as “Polaroid,” just like many of us refer to the bandage as a “Band-Aid.” We all know what you really mean, yet the name is really that of an actual product that a specific company makes!
With that being said, your “Polaroid” search has brought you here. You want one of those “old” cameras that prints the picture right after you take it.
The good news is that you can still find them and the even better news is that there are plenty of modern versions to choose from!
Below, we’ll show you the ten best Polaroid cameras (a.k.a. instant cameras) so that you can make a physical copy of your cherished memories right after they happen.
A Few Things to Consider
If you’re looking for a great Polaroid, then there are a few things to think about as you shop.
- In-Camera Printing or Separate Printer. If you don’t necessarily want to buy a new camera but still want the option of printing your pictures as you snap them, then you might want to consider getting a mobile printer. These allow you to print directly from your smartphone or tablet, and we will include a couple of options in our list below.
- Film. You’ll have to find the right kind of film for your camera, and newer instant camera models have different paper size requirements than older ones.
This film is more expensive than regular camera film. A pack of 50 sheets, for example, can run you around 35-40 dollars.
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Polaroid vs. Fuji
Polaroid has some stiff competition when it comes to instant cameras: Fuji.
Fuji has a variety of Instax cameras (which is their term for “instant” camera) while Polaroid remains the founder of the instant camera concept which was born in the 1940’s.
Whatever your preference, there are plenty of great products that will allow you to print your memories one by one, as they are occurring.
Why Get an Instant Camera?
History often repeats itself, and this is true when it comes to Polaroids. Instant camera photos were wildly successful in past decades, but then they faded out.
Today they are back in-demand.
Instagram allows you to take thousands of photos, but sometimes fewer photos that are done well (and are printed) can have a lot more meaning. This is why Polaroid and Fuji even bother to continue with these cameras in the first place!
These are great for traveling or capturing everyday adventures: take a picture of someone and leave it with them instead of “sending them an email.”
Think of all of the photos you take on a daily basis and then think about how many of them you actually print (probably not very many).
That’s why it’s great to have an instant camera!
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For anyone who loves the vintage look, the Fujifilm will not only produce vintage-looking photos but the body of the camera itself has a classic, timeless look.
To avoid overexposure, this camera automatically detects the brightness around the subject you are shooting and adjusts the flash and shutter speed accordingly.
It also has a handy double exposure mode that allows you to press the shutter twice and it will print both images on one sheet of film.
Get up close and personal with the awesome macro capabilities at 30-60cm and adjust it to child/pet mode for moving subjects.
Since the film for these cameras is a bit pricey, the settings of this camera allow you to make sure that your photo is worth taking before you snap it. Film that is more expensive means that you should probably think twice before you release the shutter, and this camera allows you to do that!
The best instant camera by far on our list.
Here we are with another Fuji camera, which is great if you need a little more control. The Instax 210 model allows you to turn the flash on and off, you can easily adjust the brightness (the aperture), as well as the focal depth.
When the camera is on and the lens pops out, you can attach a close-up lens to the front, which also has a little mirror on it so that you can see what the camera is capturing when you take a self-portrait (we love those selfies!)
The shutter speed range is from 1/64 – 1/200 sec. and has a high-speed ISO (800) for crisp photos without the grainy look.
A great buy, especially since you get some film with it, too!
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 will also give you image control and it’s a bit slimmer than the previous 7S mini model.
The settings allow you to prepare the camera for bright areas, overcast, indoor, and high-key photos. The high-key mode allows you to take brighter pictures with a softer look, which is great for taking portraits (or selfies).
It automatically measures the exposure and the camera suggests the recommended aperture setting to you on the LED based on the subject that you point it at.
This is an awesome camera. Get it as a gift for someone or gift it to yourself!
A great bargain for an awesome instant camera.
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, you also have some great portable printers that you can connect to your smartphone if you would like to instantly print photos, and the Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer is a great way to do so.
Via the Bluetooth or NFC technology, you can access the photos that you would like to print from your phone or tablet and this printer will pop out a 2 x 3-inch image.
Photos are printed in color, are smudge-proof and have a sticky backside if you’d like to adhere the photo to a book or album.
It requires you to download the Polaroid ZIP app, but this will be free of charge if you have already purchased the printer.
A great option for those who don’t need a completely new camera unit!
The modern Polaroid looks like this, and it’s just as great as the original.
It has an automatic flash when there is low light, manual exposure compensation; there are four different scene settings that help you to find the right amount of light: indoor/dark, cloudy/shady, fine and clear.
One thing that you might not appreciate about this camera is that the flash goes off every time you take a picture. This makes it unsuitable in museums or places where flash is not permitted.
Having an instant camera is no longer a thing of the past. Use our handy guide above to help you find the best Polaroid camera (or Fuji) to print your memories instantly.