Best Instant Cameras

These are the best instant cameras out there right now, from Instax, and Lomo to Kodak and Polaroid

The best instant cameras aren’t just affordable fun, they really bring out the purity of photography. Stripped of all the talk about megapixels and dynamic range burst modes allow you to focus on the simple and important matter of taking a photo.

These aren’t your dad’s instant cameras, though: modern models come with many of the latest features, like WiFi connectivity!

The idea of ​​a Polaroid camera that can connect to your smartphone may seem absolutely far-fetched, like WiFi on a dime. But it really makes sense, as this gives you the best of both worlds: a physical print to keep and a digital copy to keep.

Perfect! So while instant cameras won’t be up there with the best DSLRs or the best mirrorless cameras in terms of quality, they do provide some of the same features.

And let’s not forget what makes instant photography so special and unique. The white border Polaroid photo is an iconic image that almost everyone immediately recognizes, and there’s a lot you can do with it.

Frame it, mount it on a wall, attach it to the refrigerator; Admit it, all of these options feel a bit more special than leaving a photo to be forgotten in a subfolder of a folder on a hard drive.

At a Glance

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We have tested a wide range of instant cameras for this guide. We’ve selected models available at different price points and broken down their pros and cons to help you determine which one is right for you.

The classic nostalgic hit comes with a Polaroid. Traditional square shots exude that cool retro lo-fi feel that instant shooters have come to love.

But don’t sleep on the range of Fujifilm Instax cameras, which produce smaller prints and are cheaper to run as a result. Remember that ongoing costs are very important with instant photography – the film is not free!

The movie is not your only option

There are also the best digital instant cameras, which are sort of hybrids between the analog and digital worlds. They don’t use film but are basically small digital cameras with attached printers.

They’ll spit out an instant print while also saving digital copies of your images for instant sharing or cloud backup. And since many use ZINK (zero ink) paper, they don’t require refilling and can keep shooting and printing effectively indefinitely. Kodak, in particular, makes some excellent digital instant cameras, and we’ve included a few on the list.

So whatever type of instant camera sounds good to you, be sure to check out our picks for the best instant cameras below. Also, don’t forget to choose the right type of instant film too!

Our Recommendations For Best Instant Cameras

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The best instant cameras in 2023

1. Polaroid Originals OneStep+

Best Polaroid instant camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Polaroid 600 and Polaroid i-Type | Image size: 108x88mm | Lens: 103mm / 89mm | Minimum shooting distance: 60 cm | Focus modes: Macro, Normal and Landscape | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Big and excellent impressions
  • Bluetooth Enabled Shooting Modes
  • expensive per shot
  • Built-in battery only

The classic Polaroid instant camera design is back and better than ever!

Excitement abounded in the instant photography community when The Impossible Project bought the Polaroid name and announced the debut of Polaroid Originals, a new line of instant cameras that harked back to that golden age. OneStep + is the second version, after OneStep 2 (yes, we know it’s confusing).

It’s pretty much the same deal as the previous camera, with Polaroid Originals making sensible adjustments rather than reinventing the wheel; these are primarily the addition of an 89mm portrait lens for people shots and the integration of Bluetooth connectivity, which not only enables remote shutter control via a smartphone but several new shooting modes as well.

These include double exposures, light painting, and even noise shutter, which lets you fire the shutter with a short, sharp sound, like a clap of hands. This is one of the best and most exciting instant cameras out there, now improved and even better, a no-brainer for any fan of instant photography who also wants to tap into that retro vibe.

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2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Best Instant Camera for Family Fun

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2×4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Minimum shooting distance: 30 cm | Exposure modes: Automatic | Flash: built-in (cannot be disabled) | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

The best instant camera for family fun, with a sleek new look

Instax cameras are absolutely fun with a side of lo-fi cool, and none exemplifies this more than the beautiful Instax Mini 40. With its sleek black and silver trim, the Mini 40 looks great and is incredibly easy to operate.

There are no exposure controls, or really controls of any kind; you just point and shoot. This may be too simple for some users, but if you’re the kind of person who just wants to produce instant images without having to worry about it, this is a fantastic buy.

The simplicity also makes it a good choice for children, who will be able to learn to operate it easily.

Instax prints are smaller than Polaroids, but they still look pretty good and will unfold with incredible speed. Also, let’s not forget that film is cheaper to buy and these costs will add up over time if you’re a frequent shooter. The Instax Mini 40 is a great instant camera for both families and parties.

3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

Best Affordable Instax Mini Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2×4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Minimum shooting distance: 30 cm | Shooting modes: Party, Children, Landscape, Macro, Double exposure, Bulb | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

Available in brown or black, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is the only Fujifilm instant camera to conveniently come with a rechargeable battery, which the company says will last up to 10 packs of film (the size of a credit card).

With a retro look, it feels like it’s aimed at the photography enthusiast, with some manual control over exposure and even the option to disable the built-in flash if you feel images are too bright.

A double exposure mode expands creativity options for the curious (although results can be a bit hit and miss here) as does a shutter release button above your lens, which doubles as a mirror for selfies (another shutter release button shutter is the usual top plate location).

The advantage here over a cheaper instant print camera is an LCD screen strip on the back that reveals your chosen settings.

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4. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300

Best for Instax Square Prints

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax WIDE Film | Image size: 99×62mm | Lens: 95mm f/14 | Minimum shooting distance: 40 cm | Exposure modes: Dark, Normal, Light | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Easy to use
  • Larger prints than we would expect
  • bulky design
  • small viewfinder

Instax prints are small, right? Not with the wide impressions of this thick camera

Powered by four AA batteries instead of the usual two, the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is the big daddy of the Instax print camera range.

Its weight similar to that of a medium format camera allows it to produce larger prints (uses Instax Wide film packs instead of Instax Mini) that more closely resemble standard print dimensions. Its thickness means it’s not really practical for selfies, however, its plastic build is lighter than you might imagine.

A lever surrounding the shutter button on its bridge camera-style grip fires this one up and extends its 95mm lens, while the built-in flash is equally huge (and automatic, save for a fill-in option).

With prints emerging from the slot in the camera’s top plate, the only thing small here, oddly enough, is the center-left viewfinder, which could have been larger. Control is limited to adjusting brightness and flash, but if you want instant prints closer to “proper” photo dimensions, this is the best option for you.

4. Polaroid Go

Best Miniature Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Polaroid Go Instant Film | Image size: 4.7x 4.6cm | Lens: 34mm | Shooting modes: automatic, double exposure | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Ridiculously cute and coveted
  • Truly pocketable
  • Fight in the bright sunlight
  • The film is more expensive than Instax Mini

The Polaroid Go is a palm-sized camera that everyone will fall in love with faster than a photo needs to develop.

Larger instant cameras balance exposures better, and competing Instax Mini cameras offer slightly better image quality indoors, but neither is as fun to use or will make you as many friends as the Go… which still produces nice pictures.

One consideration is that Instax Mini film works out cheaper than Polaroid Go film, but then you’ll also need to replace those AA batteries in the Mini, whereas the Go only needs a USB for recharging power.

And the Go boasts double exposures, which you won’t get unless you opt for more expensive options like the Instax Mini 90.

A fun and funky little camera, the Polaroid Go will be the star of your next party, depositing endless memories in your pocket or wallet.

And if you’ve got kids, this could be the ideal camera to get started with little hands. Don’t forget to pick up a pack of the new Polaroid Go Instant Film!

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6. Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ6

Most Stylish Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax SQUARE Film | Image size: 6.2×6.2cm | Lens: 65.75mm f/12.6 | Minimum shooting distance: 30 cm | Shooting modes: Auto, Macro, Normal, Landscape, Double exposure, Lighten, Darken | Flash: built-in (with flash suppression mode) | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Easy to use
  • Square format prints
  • small viewfinder
  • Lacks a proper grip

Square-eyed instagramers will love this camera’s square prints

The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is powered by two small CR2 lithium batteries (included) that the manufacturers say will last a whopping 30 packs of film, 10 shots each.

Aiming to drive Instagram users away from their smartphones, this camera mimics the style of the ‘gram logo and delivers images in a 1:1 square format while retaining its analog operation.

Again, we get a choice of body colors and a selfie mode, plus three color filters that stick to the flash, along with double exposure, macro and landscape modes.

Unsurprisingly, the camera uses a special Fujifilm Square film, which provides a central image size of 6.2×6.2cm.

As with most film-based instant cameras, the results look a little washed out compared to a digital shot, but if you’re trying to get your teen away from their phone to interact with the real world, you could do worse. to offer the SQ6.

A newer Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 has recently been released, but the older SQ6 is better value and has more features, so this is the one to go for. Image 1 of 8.

7. Lomo’Instant Wide

Best Lomo Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax WIDE Film | Image size: 99×62mm | Lens: 35mm f/8 | Minimum shooting distance: 35 cm | Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb, 1/30 fixed shutter speed mode | Flash: built-in (flash off possible) | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax WIDE film
  • Extensive and simple controls
  • small optical viewfinder
  • Bulky

Lomography’s retro-style rival to Fujifilm’s Instax Wide 300 model

We can always rely on Lomography to bring a wild, retro twist to a perfectly ordinary product. The Lomo’Instant Wide is the closest competitor to Fujifilm’s Instax Wide 300, and thanks to the larger format prints and four AA batteries that power it, it has a similar weight and bulk to that camera, although the Lomography version has the viewfinder.

on the opposite side of the body. This instant print camera is also heavier in the hand and squarer than its Fujifilm twin. It appears to have been deliberately designed to resemble a device that has been in storage since the 1970s or 1980s, like a brick-sized mobile phone.

It’s big because it has to fit Fujifilm’s Instax Wide film packs; it’s all a bit Heath Robinson, although there are dedicated buttons to disable the flash and change the exposure between +/- 1EV.

Images look best with the exposure reduced and the flash turned off. It features a selfie mirror on the front and a large knurled lever for the shutter release button, with a lens ring that lets you dial in the focus distance between 0.6 meters and infinity.

Interestingly, the lens cap has multiple tasks: it houses a CR2025E lithium cell so that the lens cap can function as a remote control. Image 1 of 5.

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8. Polaroid Now

Best Handheld Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Polaroid 600 and Polaroid i-Type | Image size: 108x88mm | Lens: 1: 94.96mm / Lens 2: 102.35 | Minimum shooting distance: 60 cm | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: beginner

  • Dual lens autofocus system
  • great image quality
  • expensive per shot
  • Inconsistent outdoors

A new Polaroid camera for a new decade, designed for now

Polaroid Now is a welcome addition to the Polaroid product line and valuable addition to the increasingly crowded world of instant cameras.

It boasts superior image quality to the OneStep2, thanks to its dual-lens autofocus system and improved flash, though it lacks the extra features (such as Bluetooth connectivity and remote shutter release) found on the slightly more expensive OneStep+.

For sheer point-and-shoot simplicity, though, the Polaroid Now is hard to beat, and while the Instax Mini 11 is better priced, we definitely prefer the full-size square prints that Polaroid offers.

And as much as we love the Instax line, when you’re shooting old-school instant film, there’s nothing like the tactile ability to hold a big, square Polaroid.

If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles of OneStep+, Polaroid Now is sure to surprise you. Image 1 of 8

9. RENEWED Polaroid Now

Best Portable Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: Zero Ink (ZINK) | Image Size: 2x3in | Lens: 32mm f/2.8 | Minimum shooting distance: Not indicated | Shooting modes: color, black and white | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: LCD screen | User level: beginner

  • Slim and stylish design microSD slot (3 sockets internal storage)
  • ZINK prints are not as good
  • Limited battery life

This hybrid instant/digital camera saves the photos you print

Kodak Smile Instant Print is an instant digital camera – a modern update on instant photography that combines the best of analog with the beauty of digital.

This smartphone-thin camera with a sleek design and Zink (zero ink) technology, is essentially a miniature painter with a lens, producing 2×3-inch adhesive-backed prints.

Inside the camera is a relatively humble 5MP sensor (up to 10MP via interpolation), although for images of this size you don’t need all the resolution in the world.

Ultimately, the images it produces look more like printer images than instant photographs; It’s not necessarily bad, but it doesn’t have the same magic as instant film.

The ability to add up to 256GB of microSD memory means you can set to your heart’s content, then select the images you want to print.

The built-in battery keeps the camera nice and slim, though you only get around 40 prints per charge, a far cry from the 120-160 shots you get from Polaroids. The LCD screen is definitely on the basic side too, so don’t expect the same kind of fidelity as on your traditional DSLR or mirrorless screen.

10. Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro

Best Digital Instant Camera

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Type: Instant Camera | Film Type: 4PASS All-in-One Cartridge | Image Size: 3x3in | Lens: Not specified | Minimum shooting distance: Not indicated | Shooting modes: filters, exposure control, bordered, borderless | Flash: built-in | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: 1.7-inch LCD | User level: beginner

  • cheap and cheerful
  • very portable
  • Still not as good as the movie
  • no internal storage

An instant printer/digital camera combo, with retro charm

Kodak’s Mini Shot 3 is a neat little instant print camera that’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t want anything too complicated.

It doesn’t use Zink like the previous Kodak Smile, but it does house a proper little printer that uses Kodak’s 4PASS all-in-one cartridges to spit out small, 3-inch-by-3-inch square prints. The colors pop much better than Zink and are also rated to be more durable.

The camera in general is pretty cheap and it’s also not too expensive to run, so it’s a good option if you want to shoot instantly on a budget.

It also produces 10MP digital photos that you can save via Bluetooth in the app (and you have to do it this way; there’s no internal storage). A cheap option that’s a lot of fun for anyone, especially those who aren’t too sure about using a camera.

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Mark Wilson
By Mark Wilson

Mark is CamerasFob Editor and is responsible for all of the site's photographic coverage, from the latest mirrorless cameras to drones and digital photo frames. Naturally, he also writes explainers on the latest camera phone tech and is attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person.

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