Top 10 Best Instant Cameras Of 2019

We are used to instant gratification in the digital world, so perhaps the increasing popularity of best instant cameras – despite being first mass attracted in the pre-digital 70s and 80s – is not as crazy as the first it seems. Choosing the right Polaroid or Instax camera can be difficult, given the amount of choice available.

That is where we come in. We have tested many different models and we think that the best instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax mini 9 at the moment. It is cheap, cheerful and great for families and fun for special occasions (such as weddings) where you want to produce some souvenirs. That said, if this Instax mini-camera is not to your taste, you will find more brilliant alternatives in the list below. (And fortunately, with lots of cheap camera operations, the prizes are the best they will be throughout the year.)

In short, instant cameras are a return to simpler times and simpler pleasures – and in this high-pressure world, we all need a bit of that. In addition, instant cameras are inexpensive, making them ideal for gift giving. So, with the above in mind, what does this year have to offer us in terms of the best available instant cameras? Here is our selection of the Best Instant Cameras out there. Let’s look at them in our comparison table and then we’ll discuss them one-by-one.

Best Instant Cameras Comparison Table

Instant Cameras
Camera NameSelf TimerFlash
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9NoBuilt-in
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO CLASSICYesBuilt-in
Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300NoBuilt-in
Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ6YesBuilt-in
Kodak PrintomaticNoBuilt-in
Leica SofortYesBuilt-in
Lomo’Instant WideYesBuilt-in
Lomo’Instant AutomatNoBuilt-in
Lomo’instant Automat GlassNoBuilt-in
Polaroid Originals OneStep 2YesBuilt-in

Here are the Top 10 Best Instant Cameras

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

A fantastic entry-level instant camera that’s great fun for families and at events

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini
  • Image size: 6.2×4.6cm
  • Lens: 60mm f/12.7
  • Minimum shooting distance: 35cm
  • Exposure modes: Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor and Hi-key
  • Flash: Built-in (cannot be deactivated)
  • Self-timer: No
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is an approachable instant-print camera. Powered by two AA batteries, this is the cheap and cheerful end of direct photography, but the lack of sophistication is hardly a negative point – here the potential audience grows larger, and families with children, in particular, will find this an ideal fit. Despite the construction of the plasticky, large buttons and bright colors offer both visual appeal and simplicity for the little fingers, with the final reward being credit card impressions of 54×86 mm (10 prints in a package that come in at around $1.30 each).

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A built-in flash that flashes every time and the mirror on the front helps you to ‘take a selfie’ (although this also has a bleaching effect) during startup is thanks to a handy button on the lens. Shooting modes are selected with a twist on the lens ring of the camera and are conveniently illuminated during use. Close-ups of 35 cm of the subject are also possible. Simplicity is the key word here, with controls such as aiming and shooting, it is currently the best instant camera on the market.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • The range of color options

Cons:

  • Easy to an obscure viewfinder
  • Flash can’t be deactivated

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO CLASSIC

The best instant camera for traditionalists who want to hide the fact they’re using an instant camera

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini
  • Image size: 6.2×4.6cm
  • Lens: 60mm f/12.7
  • Minimum shooting distance: 30cm
  • Shooting modes: Party, Kids, Landscape, Macro, Double Exposure, Bulb
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: Yes
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

Available in brown or black (the version we had to revise), the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 NEO CLASSIC is known as the only instant camera from Fujifilm to come with a rechargeable battery, which the company claims to last 10 years (credit card -sized) film packs. With retro styling, it feels like it has been put down with the photo enthusiast, with manual exposure control and even the option to turn off the built-in flash if you feel the photos are too bright. Many such features make it one of the best instant cameras right now.

A double exposure mode extends the creative options for curious people, although the results here are a bit disappointing, just like a shutter release button above the lens, which also acts as a selfie mirror (another shutter release button is in the usual way) top plate location). The advantage here over a cheaper instant-print camera is an LCD display strip on the back that reveals the settings you have chosen. As usual, the viewfinder is small but sufficient for the intended purpose, while the artificial leather finish adds a touch of style to the body.

Pros:

  • Rechargeable battery
  • LCD display

Cons:

  • Lack of handgrip
  • Tiny viewfinder

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Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300

This is a chunky beast of an instant camera, enabling it to deliver larger-than-average prints

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax WIDE film
  • Image size: 99x62mm
  • Lens: 95mm f/14
  • Minimum shooting distance: 40cm
  • Exposure modes: Dark, Normal, Light
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: No
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

Powered by four AA batteries instead of the usual two, the Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300 is the big daddy of the Instax print camera series. It is practically medium format camera-like heft makes it possible to deliver larger prints (it uses Instax WIDE film packs instead of Instax mini) that look more like standard print sizes. Because of the chunkiness, it is not really practical for selfies, yet the plastic build is lighter than you might think.

A lever that surrounds the shutter release button on its handle in the bridge camera style drives it and enlarges the 95 mm lens, while the built-in flash is the same size (and automatically except for a fill-in option). With prints emerging from the slit in the top plate of the camera, the only thing strange here is, strangely enough, the left finder, who could have been bigger. Although the control is limited to adjusting the brightness and flash, if you want direct prints to come closer to the dimensions of ‘right’ photos, this is certainly one of the best instant cameras out there.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Larger prints than we’d expect

Cons:

  • Bulky design
  • Tiny viewfinder

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Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ6

This newest instant-print camera targets Instagram fans

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax SQUARE film
  • Image size: 6.2×6.2cm
  • Lens: 65.75mm f/12.6
  • Minimum shooting distance: 30cm
  • Shooting modes: Automatic, Macro, Normal, Landscape, Double Exposure, Lighten, Darken
  • Flash: Built-in (with flash suppression mode)
  • Self-timer: Yes
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ6 is powered by two small CR2 lithium batteries (included), the makers of which claim that they will contain no fewer than 30 film packages, every 10 photos. This camera, which has so far seduced the smartphones of Instagram app Instagram, is in the style of the latter’s logo and offers images in square format while maintaining the analog effect. Again, we get a selection of body colors and a selfie mode, plus three color filters that are attached to the flash, along with double exposure, macro and landscape modes. It is not surprising that the camera uses a special Fujifilm SQUARE film with a central image size of 6.2 x 6.2 cm. As with most film-based cameras, the results seem a bit bleached compared to a digital photo. But overall, this is one of the best instant cameras that you can buy right now.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Square-format prints

Cons:

  • Tiny viewfinder
  • Lacks a proper handgrip

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Kodak Printomatic

The iconic George Eastman brand jumps on the instant-print bandwagon

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Zero Ink (ZINK)
  • Image size: 2x3in
  • Lens: 8mm f/2
  • Minimum shooting distance: Not given
  • Shooting modes: Colour, B&W
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: No
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The Kodak Printomatic is a flat-front instant camera with a very cute Kodak yellow-orange/white design and uses zero ink or ‘ZINK’ technology. It is essentially a miniature printer with a lens: turn on the 10MP camera, press the shutter release button, and its first action is to send out a test sheet before an actual print appears, with dimensions slightly smaller than a standard credit card. Feeling more solid and better built than rivals the size of a pocket notebook, the instant camera comes with a USB cable, allowing the internal battery to be recharged in the same way as you would charge your cell phone.

Interestingly, there is also a slot for a microSD card and the possibility to move between capturing in color and black and white, via a simple slider on the top plate. Water-resistant prints that resemble color photocopies arise after a lot of mechanical buzzing and buzzing, but it is not quite the same as seeing a film image that develops magically before your eyes, as with more conventional instant cameras. This instant print camera looks great, is reasonably priced, but rough-looking prints ultimately mean that it loses a few points. Still, it deserves to be in the list of best instant cameras right now.

Pros:

  • More portable and cheaper than rivals
  • microSD card slot at the base

Cons:

  • Shots resemble crude photocopies
  • Lacks a frontal selfie mirror

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Leica Sofort

Leica’s only instant camera is a more affordable way to own the prestigious red dot

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini format
  • Image size: 6.2×4.6cm
  • Lens: 60mm f/12.7
  • Minimum shooting distance: 60cm
  • Shooting modes: Macro, Bulb, Automatic, Party and people, Sport and Action, Double Exposure, Selfie
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: Yes
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The main appeal of this attractive, albeit boxy, Leica Sofort instant camera is that famous red dot logo. It is double the price of Fujifilm’s otherwise very similar Instax mini 90 above, with which he shares a rechargeable battery, and he even uses exactly the same film, although Leica sells its own brand version at £ 1 sweetheart. That said, this is the cheapest Leica that you could own. The design is also efficient; the only button on the top plate is the shutter release button, while the on/off button is kept away from unintended activation on the back plate.

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It is the topmost control in a vertically stacked row of five, in addition to a large, narrow LCD display with operational settings via simplistic icons. A selfie mirror, optical viewfinder, and built-in flash are all present, while a 60 mm lens with an f/12.7 aperture offers a 35 mm focal length of 34 mm. As with any instant camera, there is a need for a test to get great results, because our prints were softer than we are used to in this digital era. Overall, this is one of the best instant cameras on the market.

Pros:

  • Iconic Leica badge
  • Fun yet fashionable

Cons:

  • Expensive next to Fujifilm’s models
  • The Leica-branded film is pricier

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Lomo’Instant Wide

A more obviously retro-styled competitor to Fujifilm’s own Instax WIDE 300 model

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax WIDE film
  • Image size: 99x62mm
  • Lens: 35mm f/8
  • Minimum shooting distance: 35cm
  • Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb, 1/30 fixed shutter speed mode
  • Flash: Built-in (flash deactivation possible)
  • Self-timer: Yes
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The Lomo’Instant Wide is the biggest competitor of the Instax WIDE 300 of the Fujifilm. Thanks to the wider size prints it produces and the four AA batteries that feed it, it has a comparable weight and size to that camera, although the Lomography version is the viewfinder on the other side of the body. This instant-print camera is also heavier in the hand and boxer than its Fujifilm twin. It seems intentionally designed to resemble a device that has been in storage since the 1970s or 1980s, such as a cell phone the size of a stone.

With the large volume of course determined by the size of the film it should hold – handy Fujifilm’s Instax WIDE movie packages – it’s all a little Heath Robinson, although there are special buttons to turn the flash off and change the exposure between +/- 1EV. Images are best when lighting is selected and flash is turned off. It features a selfie mirror at the front and a large, ribbed handle for the shutter release, with a lens ring that allows you to set a focus distance of 0.6 meters to infinity. Interesting is his multi-task for the lens cap: it contains a CR2025E lithium cell that can cleverly double the lens cap as a remote control.

Pros:

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax WIDE film
  • Large, straightforward controls

Cons:

  • Tiny optical viewfinder
  • Bulky

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Lomo’Instant Automat

One of the more advanced instant cameras on launch

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini
  • Image size: 6.2×4.6cm
  • Lens: 60mm f/8
  • Minimum shooting distance: 35cm
  • Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: No
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

Lomo’s Lomo’instant Automat is the closest direct camera for the Leica Sofort in terms of size, style, and placement of important functions such as the viewfinder and flash. Like Fujifilm’s SQUARE SQ6, however, it is powered by two CR2 batteries instead of standard AAs and is activated by turning the lens barrel that makes it one of the best instant cameras right now. The red burgundy and cream of our ‘South Beach Edition’ sample also exude the class that is normally associated with that more expensive brand.

On this Lomo, we get a 60 mm lens, with an aperture of f/8, which gives the equivalent of 35 mm in 35 mm terms, and with a lens ring with which you can set the focal distance between 60 cm and infinity. The shutter release button is located at the front next to the lens, the glossy surface doubles as a mirror for selfies. We found the viewfinder very small and very difficult to get a clear picture. Besides sharing some functions and disadvantages with his Fujifilm cousins, it also uses the same Instax-minifilm. Whether you opt for a Lomo model, a Fujifilm or the Leica Sofort largely comes down to personal taste.

Pros:

  • Retro looks
  • Uses Fujifilm’s Instax mini film

Cons:

  • Tiny optical viewfinder
  • Uses CR2 batteries

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Lomo’instant Automat Glass

The Lomo’instant Automat gets a cyber-punk makeover and a ‘Glass’ suffix

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini
  • Lens: 38mm f/4.5
  • Minimum shooting distance: 30cm
  • Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: No
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

The Lomo’instant Automat Glass Magellan version looks like the regular Lomo’instant Automat of Lomography and has been given a rubber makeover, and this conveniently provides a surface for fingers and thumbs to get a good purchase. We do get different glass than its lookalike, namely a 38 mm lens that delivers an ultra-wide angle of 21 mm in terms of 35 mm. Lomography claims that this is the first instant camera with a wide-angle lens, making it better suited for landscape photography or group portraits, along with a brighter f/4.5 lens. In theory, this also suggests a superior image quality with ordinary cameras with pointing and taking, but with prints that are still of credit card size, it is difficult to say. Overall, this is one of the best instant cameras right now.

Pros:

  • Ultra wide-angle glass lens
  • Rubberized surface aids grip

Cons:

  • Tiny optical viewfinder
  • Uses CR2 batteries

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Polaroid Originals OneStep 2

A great instant camera for kids big and small, with plenty of retro charm

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Film type: Polaroid Originals for i-Type cameras
  • Image size: 108x88mm
  • Lens: 106mm
  • Minimum shooting distance: 60cm
  • Focus modes: Macro, Normal and Landscape
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Self-timer: Yes
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • User level: Beginner

Most adults recall the once ubiquitous Polaroid brand. With the name now owned by the group of instant movie enthusiasts who came in to continue producing Polaroid film after the original brand collapsed, the Polaroid OneStep 2 should be a relatively easy sell to nostalgia buffs. With a retro design inspired by the original OneStep from 1977, the new camera embraces the modern era by being charged via a USB port.

Producing large, rectangular instant prints – it uses Polaroid I-Type and 600 category film – means that you will pay much more per print compared to its Instax rivals, but if you like to do so and keep more trigger-happy children under control and supervision, the possibility for fun with the OneStep 2 remains. Like others here, we get a lighter / darker switch and a button for a self-timer, but this is almost no frills. We would have liked to have the opportunity to use AAs in addition to recharging the internal battery in the event of a power outage, and a numerical indicator for the countdown of recordings that have been made or remain.

Pros:

  • Charming retro design
  • Big buttons aid simplicity

Cons:

  • Controls could be better laid out
  • The film is pricey per shot

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Conclusion

Digital cameras have killed analog photography, right? Well, in most cases that is the case, but it fights analogously with instant cameras. Whether it concerns nostalgia that ripples back or the unique aesthetics they offer, direct cameras and their different prints see a huge renaissance – even with the dominance of the smartphone you can not beat that you have a print in your hand. So, whether you’re looking for the best instant cameras to bring out at parties, or want to be a bit more creative with your photography, then you want one of the above Best Instant Cameras.

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