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Instant and Polaroid cameras are making a comeback. Sure, our phones can take fancy photos, but sometimes we want to store our memories in a more physical way.
Whether it’s collective nostalgia or a genuine love for photography, it seems people are rushing to buy these nifty little devices in droves. This type of camera is special because it can develop an image before your eyes and also gives you physical memory to hold. Whether you want to gift it to someone, keep it in your wallet, or display it all in your bedroom, there’s no limit to what you can do once your photo is developed.
If you want to learn more about this camera and find out which are the best ones to buy, keep reading.
How are they different from other cameras?
Without getting too technical, a polaroid camera has internal developing mechanisms and self-developing film. It’s like having your own photo development studio in the palm of your hand – pretty smart, right?
They’ve changed a lot over the years (as you’ll see the difference between vintage and instant cameras below). Nowadays, they are a clever combination of the classic 80s camera and modern technology, giving you a unique photography experience.
Things to consider before buying:
There are a number of things to consider before diving headfirst into the instant camera world.
First, Polaroids come in a variety of different sizes, so it’s important to choose a camera that will hold the correct size film. If you want your photos to be a bit smaller, you can opt for a pocket camera. If you prefer to have a larger photo for a collage or display, opt for a camera that can hold a larger size of film.
The second thing to think about is shutter speed. Basic cameras like the Instax Mini come with a shutter speed of 1/60 second. This is a pretty decent speed that will reduce the amount of blur in your photo while maximizing light to create clearer images. If you’re a more experienced photographer or someone looking for a wider range of shutter speeds, you might want to choose a different camera.
There are also a few other aesthetic things to consider, like selfie mirrors (some have them, some don’t) and in-app editing capabilities. Some also come with self-timers and various modes (like landscape), so it’s important to read up on all the camera features before making a purchase.
Below we’ve listed all the different polaroid cameras you can buy and where to find them. Plus, where to buy the right film if you’re a bit happy and need a few replacements.
The best Polaroid cameras
Fujifilm Instax Mini
If you’re someone who just wants a cheap, easy-to-use, and affordable Polaroid camera, try this one from Instax. It’s user-friendly, comes with autofocus and exposure, has a selfie mode, and develops in minutes. It is also available in a variety of colors – blue, pink, purple, white and black.
Where to buy: Amazon ($79.20, usually $109)
Instax mini 40 instant camera
We recently reviewed this little retro baby on Lifehacker, and absolutely loved it. “The whole point of compact cameras like the Instax range is that they’re easy to use. Because if you really live your life, you don’t want to have to do a million settings on a camera just to take a quick happy shot. It’s also probably one of the cheapest Polaroid cameras on the market.
Where to buy: Amazon ($126.65, usually $165.95)
Kodak Printomatic instant camera
This little baby is the perfect summer companion. The Printomatic camera is an easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera that prints high quality color photos. It’s durable, water resistant, and fits easily in your bag or pocket.
Or buy: Amazon ($163.76)
Fujifilm instax SQUARE SQ1
In fact, I recently received one of these little babies as a gift and am obsessed with it. Not only does it take full square polaroids (you know, like old school cameras), it also has a mini mirror on the front so that when you flip it into selfie mode you can pretty much see what you capture. I would recommend stocking up on movies though, if like me, you get all fired up and take tons of pictures. Oh, and you can also buy a nice leather carrying case if you want.
Where to buy: Amazon ($185.79)
Polaroid 9030 Now I-Type Instant Camera
If you’re looking for a more vintage looking polaroid camera that still has all the features you love from the modern camera, this might be the one for you. Not only does it come in nine different colors, but it also has features like double exposure, self-timer, autofocus and flash, so you can capture it all with confidence.
Or buy: Amazon ($177.48, usually $229.95)
Polaroid Originals OneStep+
Although it’s not one of the cheapest Polaroid cameras out there, you get even more out of your photos with the Polaroid Originals OneStep+. You can instantly switch from classic point-and-shoot in automatic mode to full manual control, double exposure light painting and self-timer when you sync with the Polaroid Originals app.
Or buy: Amazon ($477.66)
Where to buy Polaroid film:
As we have established, these cameras require film to operate. While the exact film you need will vary from camera to camera, we’ve rounded up a bunch of options that will cover all the bases (compatible devices are also listed in the product description).
It’s always a good idea to keep a spare pouch or two around, as you never want to run out when you need them most!