Picking up from our Thursday post inspired by Amazon UK’s #SmileItsSummer trend report, we’re bringing you another item from that list – instant cameras. According to their study, one of the trends they see bringing summer joy to Generation Z Brits this year are exciting new ways of documenting and sharing their experiences especially while they travel. With mind-boggling advances in digital technology constantly feeding our need for instant gratification, allowing us to upload and share our images to countless people all across the globe, the niche once carved by Polaroid is witnessing a reemergence. It seems we’re feeling a bit of restless discontent with digital content and need even more tangible instant gratification. And so we are now seeing a wave of more and more instant cameras that actually let us have instant printed copies of our memories. Heading the pack is Fujifilm’s Instax, which has become the go-to brand for most. Not surprising the brand makes up half our list. So let’s get to it then – instant cameras to let you document your summer as tangibly and on command as you want, because hey, getting something the soonest can be a source of pure joy too. Not to mention, you might want to grab some of these babies in celebration of and in time for Camera Day on June 29.
FUJIFILM INSTANT CAMERAS
1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
Perhaps the most popular choice among instant cameras today is Fujifilm’s Instax Mini. It’s simple, straightforward, affordable, and available in a host of delicious colors. The current iteration Mini 9 has all of the things that made its predecessor so attractive – from ease of use to attractive design elements, plus a pair of new features to raise its game. Now in five new delectable hues from Flamingo Pink, Lime Green, Ice Blue, Smokey White, to Cobalt Blue, the Mini 9 retains solid staples from the Mini 8 such as Automatic Exposure Measurement and High Key Mode. The former helps you take the perfect shot each and every time thanks to a flashing LED signal from the camera that indicates the recommended aperture setting. The latter allows users to take brighter photos with a soft look that’s perfect for portraits. Welcome innovations include as a selfie mirror and a close-up lens adapter that’ll let you focus more easily on subjects as close as 35-50cm. Runs on two AA batteries, the Mini 9 is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars and currently on sale at 29% off on Amazon.
2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 70
The newest member of the Instax family, the Mini 70 sports a more advanced feature set, updated camera design, and improved picture quality over the Mini 8. Upgrades include a Selfie Mode with the same built-in selfie mirror also added to the Mini 9, a sleeker, more streamlined design, and a tripod socket particularly useful when you’re flying solo. It also produces better quality images especially in dark scenes, and uses a pair of CR2 batteries versus the Mini 9’s AAs. Oh, and it’s available in even more colors than the Mini 9, so you can take your pick from among Island Blue, Canary Yellow, Passion Red, Stardust Gold, Kiwi Green, Clementine Orange, Neon Violet, Midnight Black, and Moon White. Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars, get it on Amazon.
3. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
The Wide 300 is your go-to Instax of choice if you need a bigger printout especially for group shots or if you just find yourself needing something close to standard 3Rs. It’s also a bit more sophisticated than the Minis, with some nice-to-have upgrades. There’s a ring dial that allows you to manually adjust the retractable 95mm lens with two focus zones – 0.9 to 3m and 3m to infinity. Like the Mini 9, it also comes equipped with a handy tripod socket, as well as a close-up lens adapter for macro photography of up to 40cm. Apart from those, it also sports a real image finder, a small LCD screen, and a built-in flash with charging indicator and fill-in flash mode. Runs on four AA batteries said to be able to last through 10 film packs. Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
4. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
With a handful of advanced features not found on other Instax models, the Mini 90 Neo Classic is somewhat of a grown-up user’s toy. Bulb mode, useful when capturing fireworks displays, and Double Exposure for creative two-in-one images offer attractions typically found in traditional analog cameras. The Mini 90 is also equipped with a relatively faster shutter speed for shooting pictures of kids, pets, and other fast-moving subjects. It also shares a few things with either or both the Mini 9 and Mini 70 like the tripod socket, front-facing selfie mirror, a retractable lens (60mm for the Mini 90), brightness control, macro mode (30-60 cm for the Mini 90) and Automatic Exposure Control. One thing unique to it is the welcome rechargeable battery and corresponding charger which gives you greater security and peace of mind especially for lengthy adventures. Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars and available in black or brown on Amazon.
5. Fujifilm Instax SQ6
The Instax SQ6 designed specifically with Instagrammers in mind. Apart from the obvious nod of coming in the shape and appearance of the image-sharing platform’s logo, the SQ6 also churns out 1:1 square format photos. As with the Minis mentioned above, the SQ6 also has a selfie mirror and a Selfie mode that automatically adjusts brightness and focal length for capturing the perfect selfie. There’s also a Macro mode with a range of 30 to 50cm, Landscape, and Double Exposure. Automatic Exposure Control is also available to brighten both background and subject for taking pictures in dark places or night scenes. And as an additional nod to Instragram, the SQ6 already includes orange, purple, and green color filters that can be fitted over the flash to add color to your shots. Powered by a couple of CR2 lithium batteries, this square Instax is rated 4.1 out of 5 stars and currently at 19% off on Amazon.
OTHER BRAND INSTANT CAMERAS
6. Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat
With wide-angle, close-up, and fisheye lens attachments to go with the built-in 60mm (with an equivalent focal length of 35mm), the Automat brings greater flexibility and added creativity to the instant camera. It even has a Splitzer for slicing and dicing your frame to create surreal works of art. For even more strokes of creative genius, you can go beyond double exposure and combine numerous shots for multiple exposures. There’s also a B setting for long exposures to create light-streaked images, and color gels that let you tinker with colors and tones through filters over the flash. Complementing the creative options the Lomo’Instant Automat offers, it also comes with automatic settings such as Super Straight-Forward Zone-Focusing that gets your subject in focus in the blink of an eye, and Auto-Mode that takes the guesswork out of perfectly lit shots by intuitively adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and flash output to suit your surroundings. Compact, smart, portable, and beautiful inside-out, the Lomo’Instant Automat is available in several striking designs like this South Beach edition that’s a looker in burgundy and cream. Powered by a pair of CR2 batteries, it’s rated 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
7. Leica SOFORT
A coveted and iconic brand in photography, Leica’s first foray into instant cameras comes via the versatile Sofort. Though still considerably pricier than the Instax Mini 90 with whom it shares many similarities, it’s actually the light at the end of the tunnel for many who dream of having a Leica but balk at the hefty price tag that comes with it.
With eight settings from Macro, Bulb, Selfie, Automatic, Double Exposure, Self-Timer, Party and People, to Sport and Action, the Sofort has you covered with a program suited for every occasion. You also get your choice of three shooting ranges from Standard, to Landscape, to Macro. And while its presets make in-the-moment shooting a breeze, focus distance as well as flash and exposure control are possible for those times when you prefer to do those yourself. Also has a tripod socket along with strap lugs and a carrying strap already included. Available in a cool mint shade, a bright orange, black, white, and also pretty in pink, the Sofort gets its juice from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack with corresponding charger. Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars, get it on Amazon.
8. Polaroid Originals OneStep 2
This list wouldn’t be complete without an entry from the brand that started it all. Polaroid checks in via the OneStep 2, inspired by the original OneStep from 1977, but updated as a nostalgic yet functional marriage of classic design with contemporary style. As its name suggests, operation is easy enough even for a child thanks to its intuitive layout. Apart from the self-timer and the option to lighten or darken, shooting a scene is as simple as a few buttons. Featuring a high quality lens and a powerful flash, this retro-inspired unit steps into the modern age with a long-lasting rechargeable battery and built-in USB charging port. Designed to work with all kinds of i-Type and 600 film, it affords the user greater flexibility and freedom of expression, but at the considerable cost of those pricey film options. Available in black or white, it’s rated 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
9. Polaroid SNAP Touch 2.0
Unlike the units we’ve listed ahead of it, the Polaroid Snap Touch 2 is actually a digital camera with instant print capability. Equipped with a 13-megapixel camera full HD video recording at 1080p, it also has a large 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen viewfinder handy for previewing your shots before printing. And with 10x optical zoom, a pop-up flash, selfie mirror, Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable battery, as well as a microSD card slot for storing your images, it has many of the trappings typical of digital cameras. With its built-in printer running eco-friendly Zero Ink (ZINK) technology that does away with costly ink and toners, the Snap Touch 2 turns a point-and-shoot to point, shoot, and print or snap, shoot, and share. The 2”x3” sticky-back paper prints are conveniently smudge-proof, tear and water-resistant, and dry to the touch. And while not a requirement for use of the unit, there’s a downloadable free Polaroid mobile app for unleashing some editing creativity with borders, filters, stickers, and other fun options. Compact and portable, the pocket-sized Snap Touch 2 is travel-friendly especially with the included wrist strap that makes it easy to carry. Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars, choose from among such playful colors as red, pink, blue, and purple, as well as basics black or white on Amazon.
10. Kodak PRINTOMATIC
Rounding up our list is another beloved and iconic brand from our youth. Kodak makes its presence felt with the Printomatic, which shares many of the features found on the Polaroid Snap Touch 2. On the camera side of things, it’s also essentially a digital point-and-shoot with a built-in flash, rechargeable battery and corresponding USB charging port, and a microSD card slot for storage. And like the Snap Touch 2, its printer runs on ZINK technology with similar 2”x3” adhesive-backed, smudge-proof, tear and water-resistant instant printouts. With its fast camera, the Printomatic even lets you shoot a new photo even while it’s printing the previous one. Similarly compact and pocket-sized, it also comes in an array of fun, bold colors like neon green, pink, blue, and yellow combined with white. Black/white and grey/white options are also available for the more conservative. Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars, you can get this on Amazon.
Whether you’re partial to the usual analogue or willing to sample the digital, instant cameras afford you the quickest, easiest, and generally simplest means of sharing your memories and experiences in tangible fashion. We certainly hope you find the one for your style, preferences, and needs in time for Camera Day on June 29 and your next exciting adventure.
Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.
For more ideas on things to engage in, stock up on, or try out for a joyful summer of anti-aging fun, check out our previous posts for the season: