Instant camera guide

Are you interested in an instant camera? Maybe you want to buy one? Then you are in the right place. With us, you will find tips and tricks, product reviews, comparisons, advice and a lot of information about instant cameras.

Your requirements and our recommendations

To make your selection easier, we have listed some possible requirements on your part in the following table and our recommendation for the instant camera.

Your requirements

Our instant camera recommendation

For small Instax Mini format

Instax Mini 9, Instax Mini Neo 90 Classic

Square format

Instax Square SQ6

Wide Format

Instax Wide 300

Large Polaroid format

Polaroid One Step 2, Polaroid One Step +

You want to buy a cheap instant camera

Instax Mini 9

Instant camera for beginners

Instax Mini 9

You want to give away an instant camera

Instax Mini 9, Instax Square SQ6

You are a Polaroid fan

Polaroid One Step 2, Polaroid One Step +

Control your camera via app

Polaroid One Step +

Digital instant camera

Instax Square SQ10

Print your pictures from your smartphone

Instax Share SP-2, Instax Share SP-3

You want to spend as little money as possible on films

Instax Mini 8, Instax Mini 9, Instax Mini Neo 90 Classic, Instax Mini 70, Instax Mini 25

However, Fujifilm Instax instant cameras and products are also gaining loyal following nowadays. The Instax series is impressively large and certainly offers the right product from the world of instant cameras for everyone.

The comeback of the instant camera

If you look at the time, instant cameras came much before nowadays technology, namely from a time when there were no smartphones or digital cameras. It is common to assume that the time of these cameras is long gone.

But as you know we humans like our nostalgia and want to hold things which make us happy. 

Recently, the instant camera is gaining popularity. Suddenly instant photography is very popular again.

Of course, one could now wonder why? 

Nowadays almost everyone has a camera with them in the form of their smartphone, which is technically superior to most analog instant cameras.

The reason for me is very simple it is not the photographs quality but the feeling of living memories. 

Abundant digital photos are losing value

We take tons of pictures with our smartphones, automatically upload them to the cloud and have access to them from almost anywhere. However, this blessing is also a curse.

If something is in abundance, it loses its value and its charm to some extent.

Let’s be honest. 

How often do we look intensely at the digital photos that we took with our smartphone?

The digital images of many people disappear in piles on home hard drives or remote network drives and are never seen again.

Only very few images from our smartphones or digital cameras find their way onto photo paper.

A photo that you can hold in your hand is a completely different experience. A paper picture feels like a certain value. An image file cannot convey such a value by far.

After all, every picture from an analog instant camera is unique. This picture is only available once and cannot be easily reproduced. Subsequent manipulation of the image, as is often the case with digital images, is also ruled out.

Conscious photography

But there are other reasons for the comeback of the instant camera.

With our smartphone, we can take almost any number of pictures of a particular scene. A good picture will be there, so the thought.

Correspondingly thoughtless, digital photography often goes to work. First snap, then think that’s the motto. It doesn’t cost anything. The available storage space is also increasing.

It is different if you use the instant camera. With such a camera, you think about it before triggering it. After all, every picture costs a certain amount of money. An instant picture can cost between 1 and 2 dollars, depending on the camera and film.

Also, many films for instant cameras only have 10 papers in a roll – so only 10 pictures are feasible before a need for new film roll.

All of this inevitably leads to a kind of deceleration, which is expressly desired by more and more people. Our times today are hectic enough. A little more mindfulness never hurts, not even when taking pictures.

Tangible memories

Images from the instant camera are tangible memories.

You can always carry pictures of your loved ones with you, touch them and give them to other people.

Photo albums instead of photo gallery

Who doesn’t know them, the supposedly personal photo gallery of digital photos? However, these photo galleries are not that personal. 

At least not if you compare it with a photo album specially created from analog images from an instant camera.

Such albums, such as an Instax album for your Instax pictures, have a much more personal touch and are wonderful as an individual gift.

Such albums become even more personal if the pictures are also labeled by hand. Pictures from the instant camera offer the ideal conditions due to the typical white border.

Joyful surprise

The picture that comes out of an instant camera always gives a pleasant feeling. You never know beforehand exactly what you will get and what the picture will look like.

This enthusiasm for the result of the efforts also characterizes instant cameras. Instant cameras are just so much fun.

Special aesthetics of instant photos

Photos from the instant camera usually have a very special aesthetic. The colors are often very special and the transitions and contrasts mostly appear softer.

Also, they are seldom completely perfect. But that is exactly what makes these pictures so appealing.

It is not for nothing that there are some apps and filters that are supposed to transfer exactly this retro aesthetic from instant cameras to digital photography with a smartphone.

But why should a digital image appear artificially analog if you can also have the original?

With an instant camera, you have all the trump cards in one hand. Immediately after taking the pictures, you can hold the paper picture in your hands. Post-processing is not necessary – and of course not possible.

Retro is back again

It cannot be denied that there is an ongoing trend towards more retro. This trend is visible not only in photography with an instant camera but also in other areas.

Another example is the rebirth of the record. This trend is also a bit about conscious listening, tradition, and deceleration. These products will become important again in our fast-moving times.

Advantages and disadvantages of the instant camera

Like almost every product, an instant camera, of course, has advantages and disadvantages. 

Below we will take a closer look at them. 

Advantages

You can immediately hold the finished picture in your hand

Offer you plenty of room for creativity

It’s a lot of fun

Are an ideal gift

Promote conscious photography

Produce cool vintage pictures

You have a unique piece in your hands

Disadvantage

Sometimes high costs per picture

Analog images cannot simply be reproduced in this way

Depending on the model, cameras can be quite large

Mostly poorer picture quality than with digital photography

Things to consider before buying an instant camera

Before buying an instant camera, you should consider a few points so that you can choose the best instant camera for your needs.

Film format and picture size

A big difference between the different instant cameras is the photograph size. At this point, you should take a close look, because each camera can only output certain photograph size. 

The model, therefore, determines the size of the image, since only a certain type of film fits into each model.

These photograph sizes differ enormously depending on the model series. 

In the following, you can see the image sizes of various films from current instant cameras. The picture frame is shown in black color, while the colored area is to represent the actual picture.

Instant camera photograph sizes and formats

The exact dimensions of the film sizes shown above can be found in the following table. A distinction is made here between the actual image size and the image size with a frame.

 

Image size

Image size with frame

Polaroid i-type

79 mm x 79 mm (H x W)

107 mm x 88 mm (H x W)

Instax Square

62 x 62 mm (H x W)

86 x 72 mm (H x W)

Instax Mini

62 x 46 mm (H x W)

86 x 54 mm (H x W)

Instax Wide

62 mm × 99 mm (H x W)

86 cm x 108 mm (H x W)

When choosing the right size, you should also consider that the larger the photograph size, the larger the housing of the camera. 

After all, the film cassette with the photo paper has to fit into the camera housing.

Features and functions

Other important selection criteria are the features and functions of the respective camera. There are also many differences and options on this point.

Ultimately, it also depends on the features and functions of how your pictures will be.

There are some cool functions, such as double exposure, self-timer, selfie mirror, colored flash filters and of course various shooting modes, which significantly influence the result and thus the finished picture.

Shape and color

Some models, such as the Instax Mini 9, are available in many different colors. Check out which color you like best.

Of course, the shape of the camera also plays a role. Some cameras are more playful in design, while other models look a bit more serious.

Height and weight

Of course, you should also pay attention to the size and weight of the camera. Because your new instant camera should be as good as possible in your hands and be easy to transport.

Some instant cameras can turn out to be quite large, which can have a negative effect, especially on the go.

Cost of films

The cost of the films should also not be neglected. At this point, it is worth taking a closer look at how high the costs per image are in comparison. 

Here, there are some differences between the individual cameras.

Films

The range of films is also very important. There are some differences. 

For example, some films come with colored edges or funny patterns on the edges. 

If you take your photos with such films, the finished image will, of course, appear completely different.

Equipment

Before you buy, be sure to check which accessories are available for each camera. 

Practical accessories can be bags for transport and matching picture albums.

Are Cheap instant cameras any good?

Can you also buy a cheap instant camera? Or do you always have to spend a lot of money on it? 

This question is justified.

Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9, are two inexpensive instant cameras which are also very popular. 

The difference between the Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9 is that the Mini 9 has a selfie mirror next to the lens and is available in many colors.

FAQ for Instant camera

Which films fit in which instant camera?

There are so many different instant cameras on the market; customers often ask themselves which film fits into which camera.

Because at first glance, the many models, the different manufacturers, the different formats and the different films can seem confusing.

But don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. 

In the Fujifilm Instax cameras, in particular, the film format is usually already in the name of the camera.

Instant Mini 9 films fit into the Instant Mini 9. This is just an example.

Besides, you only have to find out once which films fit in your instant camera. After that, you no longer have to worry about the many other models.

In the following table, you can see which film fits into which instant camera.

Instant camera model

Instant film camera

Instax Mini 8

Instax Mini Film

Instax Mini 9

Instax Mini Film

Instax Mini 25

Instax Mini Film

Instax Mini 70

Instax Mini Film

Instax Mini Neo 90 Classic

Instax Mini Film

Instax Square SQ6

Instax Square film

Instax Square SQ10

Instax Square film

Instax Wide 300

Instax Wide Film

Polaroid OneStep +

i-type film, 600 film

Polaroid OneStep 2

i-https://bestcameramag.com/fujifilm-instax-mini-90-neo-review/type film, 600 film

Polaroid Snap

Polaroid 2 x 3 inch Premium ZINK photo paper

Polaroid Snap Touch

Polaroid 2 x 3 inch Premium ZINK photo paper

Kodak Printomatic

Kodak Zinc Photo Paper 50 x 76 mm | 2 x 3 inches

Is Instant camera analog or digital?

When you talk about an instant camera, it usually means an analog camera. So we know these devices from before.

However, there are now digital instant cameras or so-called hybrid cameras.

With such cameras, it is possible to get an instant photograph and at the same time to store the image file on a memory card. So you can endlessly duplicate a corresponding image and save it on your hard drive at home.

This would effectively combine the best of both worlds.

A digital instant camera offers even more advantages. For example, it is possible to delay the printing of an image.

So you can first snap a whole series of pictures, all of which are stored digitally on a memory card. Then you select the images that you want to have printed out by the camera.

Of course, this saves costs for possibly failed recordings.

However, this procedure, of course, loses the surprise effect and there is a risk that you will fall back into the old habits of smartphone photography and snap pictures indiscriminately.

When was the instant camera invented?

The first instant camera, as we know it today, was introduced in 1947 by the American Edwin Herbert Land at the meeting of the Optical Society of America. This camera was named “Land camera”.

Edwin Herbert Land was an American physicist and industrialist and is considered one of the most important pioneers in photo technology due to his invention of the polaroid separating film process.

This camera delivered a finished paper image a few seconds after the picture was taken. This instant camera came onto the market at Christmas 1948 and should have already provided a lot of happy faces for Christmas at this time.

This was the start of a great success story of this type of camera.

And today, more than 70 years later, we still like to take photos with an instant camera. Isn’t that cool?

Why should you buy an instant camera?

If you do not have an instant camera, you can ask yourself when and on what occasions such a camera makes sense.

After all, you could take pictures with your smartphone.

Well, the fun of the instant camera is difficult to explain, you simply have to experience it yourself. But there are still some situations in which an instant camera is particularly popular.

For parties and celebrations

The instant camera is particularly popular at parties and celebrations. For several reasons.

On the one hand, it is a lot of fun to take a beautiful instant picture of all the guests and then stick the pictures into an album. This album is a nice memory for eternity.

Since pictures from instant cameras usually have a frame, you can also label each picture sufficiently. This way, even after 20 years, you still know the occasion on which the picture was taken or who or what can be seen in the picture.

If you do not want to take photos all evening, you can simply set up one or more instant cameras that the guests should operate themselves. 

In this way, many great pictures of a party are taken, which you can enjoy later.

But it is also very popular to give each guest a personal picture along the way. This way, the party will be remembered by the guests for a long time.

Such pictures are usually of great ideal value.

The instant camera on weddings

The instant camera is also becoming popular at weddings. All guests can be photographed on the most beautiful day of life and the pictures can be pasted into a beautiful guest book on site. A small personal note makes the whole thing even more valuable.

In this way, a unique and very personal guest book is created, which you can enjoy looking at after many years.

An instant camera is in no way in competition with a digital camera. Of course, both cameras can be used in parallel.

On a photo safari with the instant camera

Great pictures are usually created when you go on a photo safari equipped with an instant camera. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the great outdoors or on the road in the big city.

Photographed very deliberately, you look at each picture again with completely different eyes.

Selfies with the instant camera

How about being able to hold the selfie just taken in your hand immediately? This is easily possible with an instant camera.

Many such cameras offer a special selfie mirror for selfies so that you can also position yourself well with an instant camera. 

Also, one or the other model comes with an extra selfie mode.

Send pictures from the instant camera

We all hardly write letters anymore and communicate almost exclusively digitally. This has its advantages.

But it is precisely for this reason that a handwritten letter is of much greater value today than it used to be. 

If you add a real photo from the instant camera to such a picture, the value of such a letter can be increased again.

Leave a Reply