This page was last updated on April 15th, 2017.
In 2017 we are so used to reaching for our smartphones when we see something epic. Either that or our DSLRs; with many affordable DSLR’s on the market now, many would think that the old style Polaroid has got too much competition on its hands to be able to compete with the likes of Apple, Android, Canon and Nikon. However, it seems the instant camera is making a comeback. A camera that prints photos instantly certainly can give a feeling of nostalgia to a party and is a great tangible element to photography. Big instant camera names like Fujifilm and Polaroid immediately springs to mind, but even Leica have recently dabbled in the instant photography world. The new found love of instant print photography has resulted in dreams such as the Impossible Project become a reality. Here’s a roundup of the best instant cameras on the market in 2017 and what you can expect from each of them.
Which Instant Print Camera is the Best?
When deciding on what you want from an instant camera you need to be mindful of what you want in terms of photography; do you just want a small fun camera to bring out at parties with a touch of nostalgia? Are you looking for more of a professional instant camera? Is it for the kids? Do you just want something that looks cool? Though the underlying basics of an instant camera are the same; depending on what style you are going for will help you determine which is the best camera for you. Many instant cameras have a plethora of different features and designed as well as different capabilities dependent on whether you’re looking for something that’s designed for fun or something with a more professional edge. If your online research to compare instant cameras has brought you to our site then look no further. We have scoured every data source available to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information about instant cameras. We have also tried and tested many of the industry leaders for ourselves so we have first-hand experience on what makes a quality instant camera. Will you go with the cheapest instant camera? The best camera for kids? Perhaps you will choose our favourite instant print digital camera for professionals. Here is what we have found to be the top instant cameras of 2017.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
A popular instant camera choice in 2016 was the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8; it combines a fun look, instant printing capabilities and a very competitive price point. This no-frills option is a great choice for first-time buyers and a great option if you’re looking to buy an instant camera for kids. It dominated the Amazon Best Sellers List last year and is currently doing so this year too (Check here for yourself). The camera has autofocus and autoflash capabilities claiming that it can create a vibrant image even in low light situations. If you are looking for a cheap instant camera this is the one for you. One downside to the Instax mini 8 camera can be that the images are only credit card sized; which is fine for a scrapbook and other creative ventures you may come across on Pinterest but if you’re wanting something with bigger pictures similar to traditional Polaroid cameras, you are better with the likes of the Instax Wide 300 or even the Impossible I-1 camera which accepts traditional polaroid film. The shutter speed on the Fuji Instax Mini 8 may also be a little low for some users (1/60 is the lowest setting for handheld photos before it is said to affect photo quality) who are a little shaky with a camera, however, this will likely not impact the photo too much due to the small surface area on which it is printed on. You can find a more detailled and in-depth review of the Instax Mini 8 if you click here. For the latest prices of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 including the latest special offers click here.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 70
Two things really appealed to us about the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70. We love the fact it has the ability to shoot both macro mode and landscape mode so you can get creative with your photography. It also has a selfie mode which provides the correct brightness and shooting distance for portraits and has a cute little mirror built into the side just by the lens to help you frame it better. They come in a variety of stylish and vibrant colours (I personally am a fan of the gold – click here for the latest prices) and is a strong upgrade from the Instax Mini 8. One of the big let downs of this one is that you can’t control the flash and it may wreak havoc if you’re not in good lighting. The tripod socket is also handy to steady the images. This one is definitely one of our favourite Fuji instant cameras.
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
This has to be the best wide angle instant camera on the market today. I love that this instant camera prints photos that are double the width of the Instax 8 shots at 108mm. You can adjust the focal length and zoom and it has a built in LCD screen which helps frame the perfect shot. Like the Instax Mini 70, it also has a tripod socket if you want to get in on a group picture too. The viewfinder tends to come up a little small in comparison to the rest of the camera; however, despite its size, it is lightweight and easy to carry around. It is perfect for a beginner of instant photography who wants to take wider angle shots.
I was so excited to hear that Leica was making an instant camera; though it’s pricier than its more basic counterparts (the Instax mini 8 and 70 for example) this camera packs a lot of punch and maintains that high quality feel that you tend to experience with Leica. Leica has produced their own film for the Sofort, however, it does take the Instax mini film as well. It has a 3 zone manual focus system with macro shooting capabilities and is available in 3 colours; blue, white and orange. Features include exposure compensation settings, the self-timer which is perfect for group selfies and a tripod mount too. I really like that this instant camera offers a number of shooting modes too; including Automatic, Self-Portrait, People & Part, Action & Sport, Bulb, Macro, Self-Timer, and Double Exposure. I would say that the Leica Sofort is actually the best quality instant camera I’ve seen on the market in 2017 in terms of number of adjutsable settings you are given. If you need a more in-depth review of the Leica Sofort, click here.
This is probably the image that springs to mind (maybe something rounder if you’re younger) when you think of instant photography. Many are guilty of calling instantly printed images a ‘Polaroid’ as they were the first company to release instant camera back in the 1940’s. Thanks to the Impossible Project, a company who launched in 2008 in Polaroid’s last factory days before closure, we can now get original format instant film for these retro cameras. The company also refurbish old Polaroid instant cameras giving instant photography a new home in the world.There are many versions of the Polaroid 600 which were released over the years. This version type is mainly used as a beginners camera for those newer to instant photography. The square 80’s style versions usually weigh just over 1lb with the round version coming in a little heavier at 1.6lbs. The Polaroid 600 type camerastypically have point and shoot technology and automatic flash capabilities. Refurbished Polaroid 600 Cameras can be purchased from as little as $50. If you’re lucky you may be able to get your hands on a brand new one if it’s been sat in someone’s cupboard for years. Here are a few new Polaroid instant cameras I found on Amazon.
I love the designs on the very affordable Lomo’Instant range of cameras and not only that, for the price, you get a lot of extra features including a lens cap that doubles up as a remote shutter release and a variety of lens attachments to choose from; including fisheye, wide-angle and close-up options. Don’t mistake it for an interchangeable lens camera, though! Their range of cameras and wacky designs are huge and the cameras are named after famous towns and cities around the world. The camera takes standard Fujifilm Instax Mini Film. You can find out more about the Lomo’Instant here.
One of the priciest instant cameras on today’s market, made by the Impossible Project. If you want a new camera but also want to shoot with traditional Polaroid film then this is the camera for you. For me, one of the highlights is the ring flash which provides great light for shooting portrait shots. However, the odd pyramid-like shape and bulky design may turn you off this instant camera because of the lack of practicality. Personally, as a traveler, I may find this awkward, but I do find the design aesthetically pleasing. The app that comes free with the camera works as a remote shutter release which is great if you want to jump in group photos or don’t have a very steady hand. I love the functionality of this camera; the aperture and the shutter speed can be adjusted meaning its great for light painting and double exposure shots. I think this is the ideal instant camera for a pro, but if you’re looking for something fun to whip out at parties then maybe not as much. If you’re after large photos from your instant camera, this or a refurbished Polaroid 600is the one to choose.
Alternative to Instant Cameras; Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer
There is not currently a digital style camera with instant print available on the market, but one option is if you mainly shoot on your iPhone or android smartphone; you can buy an instant printer that attaches to your phone via Bluetooth and NFC and prints 2×3 images from there. It’s called the Polaroid ZIP Mobile printer. You can find more details about the printer below:
Instant Camera Film
As I mentioned before, the Fujifilm Instax Film is accepted on a lot of other branded cameras. The Impossible Project supplies original Polaroid film. Leica also has their own film available for the Sofort. Though not overly expensive; the price of the film for instant cameras has to be factored into the cost of purchasing an instant camera. If you are only using it occasionally then it will be fine, however, if its a camera you will be using a lot; the price of the film can certainly add up. You can check out the price and purchase the camera film here.
Instant Camera Specifications
Now we have gone through some brief reviews some of the top instant cameras in the market, I have created a comparison chart which lists the price level, overall rating, and functionality of the camera so you can find the best instant print camera for you.
|FujiFilm Instax Mini 8||64 x 42||1/60||$||★★★½|
|Fujifilm Instax Mini 70||64 x 42||1/2 to 1/400||$$||★★★★|
|Fujifilm Instax Wide 300||62 x 99||1/64 to 1/200||$$||★★★½|
|Leica Sofort||62 x 46||1/8 to 1/400 + BULB||$$$$||★★★★½|
|Polaroid 600||79 x 79||1/3 to 1/200||$||★★★★|
|Lomo'Instant||64 x 42||1/125 + BULB||$$||★★★★½|
|Impossible I-1||79 x 79||30 to 1/250||$$$||★★★★★|
Conclusion: What is the best instant camera on the market in 2017?
I think if you’re a pro, or are looking to shoot more professional instant photography and don’t mind parting with a little extra cash, then the Impossible I-1 is for you. However, if you’re on a budget, you want something compact, small good for travel and fun get together’s I would recommend going with the Instax 8. I think it;s a fun option for all ages and is cheap so is a perfect instant camera for kids. The Leica Sofort is definitely a strong competitor with heaps of options and functionality, however, as always with Leica it does come with the price tag; albeit its not in the thousands.
Over the coming weeks, I will be posting more specific and in-depth reviews for each camera. If you have any further questions, please feel free to send us a message via our contact us page. Also, if you want me to write a review instant camera that is not featured here let me know and I will add it to the guide.