Which instant camera is the best?
Although digital cameras are the most widely used by professionals these days, many still love the unique experience of using an instant camera. These cameras produce a physical photograph in minutes, providing a fun way to capture memories.
Although the images produced are not as high quality as their digital counterparts, the prints have a retro look. If you’re looking for versatility and a classic design, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is the recommended choice.
What to know before buying an instant camera
How do instant cameras work?
Photos taken with an instant camera are the result of a chemical process. Once you press the button to take a photo, the camera shutter opens and briefly exposes the film to light, triggering a chemical reaction. Each layer of film then reacts to a different color of light and gradually transforms into the captured image.
Commonly used terms
Exposure: This term refers to the overall lightness or darkness of a photograph. More exposure means more light, while less exposure results in a darker image. Look for an instant camera that has exposure control or suggestions that let you adjust exposure to suit your surroundings.
Shutter Speed: Shutter speed refers to how long the film is exposed to light. For most instant cameras, shutter speed control is done through different modes. For example, action mode uses a fast shutter speed to capture moving objects.
Viewfinder: Instant film cameras usually don’t have LCD viewing screens, so you have to position your shot in the camera’s viewfinder. Since it is simply a window built into your camera, the accuracy of the viewfinder may vary depending on the model and the skill level of the user.
What to Look for in a Quality Instant Camera
Many of the different features and capabilities of an instant film camera come through its modes. Here are a few that you might see when buying an instant camera:
Double exposure mode: This mode allows you to take two photos and combine them, giving the image a unique look.
Macro Mode: This mode allows you to capture extremely detailed close-ups.
Bulb mode: In this mode, the shutter stays open while you press the button, giving your image a light trail effect.
Action mode: This mode uses a fast shutter speed to capture moving objects.
Some high-end instant cameras allow you to save your photos as digital image files. You can download them to your computer to edit or share them with your social media accounts.
Most instant cameras are compatible with accessories such as tripods, selfie mirrors and additional lenses. If these extras are important to you, look for an instant camera that includes an accessory package. Among the items already listed, you can also buy accessories such as cases and colored filters.
How much you can expect to spend on an instant camera
Expect to pay between $20 and $200 for a quality instant camera. However, you will incur additional costs when purchasing the film, around $10 to $30 for a 20 pack.
Instant Camera FAQs
Will any instant film work with your instant camera?
A. No. An instant camera can only use film compatible with its brand. Using another brand of film could damage your camera or damage the film.
How do you post your instant film photos on social media?
A. Assuming your model is unable to save digital copies of your photos, the only way to share your images is to scan them with a scanner or use your smartphone or digital camera to snap them .
What is the best instant camera to buy?
best instant camera
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
What do you want to know: This instant camera is versatile and packed with features.
What you will love: Backed by Fujifilm’s stellar reputation, this camera comes loaded with features like double exposure mode, macro mode, and bulb mode. It also comes with an adjustable flash function and a rechargeable battery.
What you should consider: The high price of the film makes it difficult to freely experiment with different modes. Some users found the viewfinder inaccurate.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Best instant camera for the money
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
What do you want to know: A streamlined version of the top pick, this affordable camera is ideal for travellers.
What you will love: This instant camera has over a dozen color options. Lightweight and compact, it has auto flash and auto exposure settings plus a built-in selfie mirror.
What you should consider: You can’t mount this portable instant camera on a tripod and it lacks a timer function. Like the top pick, film for this camera doesn’t come cheap.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Polaroid One Step 600 Instant Camera
What do you want to know: Boasting the iconic Polaroid look, this camera is ideal for producing vintage-looking photos.
What you will love: This instant camera has an auto flash feature and produces significantly larger prints than other camera prints. Photos are high quality and clear, with a distinctly retro look.
What you should consider: This instant camera is bulkier than other models and Polaroid film is expensive. Some users report that the hinged flash part is difficult to close.
Or buy: Sold by Amazon
Register here to receive the weekly BestReviews newsletter for helpful tips on new products and great deals.
Patrick Farmer written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.
Suggest a fix