7 Instant Cameras You Won’t Regret Splurging On

best instant cameras

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Contrary to popular belief, film is not dead. Instead, like fashion and music, everything old is becoming new again. Our Instagram feeds are saturated with film photos, mostly from people holidaying in Europe, but still, film is back, baby, and I couldn’t be more excited.

With that said, most film cameras are expensive, especially quality ones. You can find cheap, pre-loved cameras on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and other online marketplaces. Then you have to buy film, learn how to use the camera, and develop it. Even then, a great photo is never guaranteed with film cameras. Enter the instant camera.

An easy-to-use solution to getting vintage film photos. They’ve been popular at weddings and parties recently, but personally, I love the artistic freedom of an instant camera.

Here are the best instant cameras to buy if you’re ready to take nostalgic film photos on your next trip.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, $119

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is one of the most popular instant cameras. The point-and-shoot concept makes it easy for everyone to use, including children. The auto exposure system is foolproof, so you will never have an over-exposed film, and the pop-out lens barrel has a decent zoom range. Although remember, it’s a basic camera, so it’s more difficult to be creative with it. However, the camera and instax film packets come in various fun colours, ideal for parties. The price is reasonable too, at $119 for the camera body.

best instant cameras
photo: @fujiinstaxaus

Fujifilm Mini Evo, $299

If a Fujifilm camera is on your mind, but you want something that has more creative freedom and is a bit more technical, then the Fujifilm Mini Evo is worth a look. This instant camera has an analog design but is jam-packed with tech and recently won some prestigious international design awards.

My favourite features are the lens and film dials, which allow you to set up unique shots on the LCD screen. Think sepia, retro, mirror, light leak—the list goes on. You can connect the camera to your phone for remote shooting and transfer images to your smartphone to post on social media.

Unlike the Mini 11, the Mini Evo has a stunning retro design, with the dials and levers of a film camera, so you can feel like you have an old-school film camera in your hands without the hassle of learning how to use one.

The printing feature is clever. When you want to print, the photo on the screen scrolls up and prints the instax film at the same end. It’s a cool camera, with handy features and worth the hefty price tag of around $300.

best instant cameras
Photo: @fujiinstaxaus

Polaroid Go, $199.95

Polaroid is an iconic instant camera. They’re essentially the brand that made polaroids cool, so we’re grateful for that. Although, over the years, polaroid cameras have changed. The Polaroid Go is similar to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 in the sense it works on a point-and-shoot concept.

The Go model is the smallest of the Polaroid camera range, which makes it easier to carry around. In terms of look, it’s not the prettiest camera. The round shape awkwardly handles the camera, especially for photographers who are used to holding a camera. Although, it’s a great option if you’re looking for something small to travel with that can still give you polaroid photos in an instant.

Photo: @zeketucker

Polaroid Now +, $329.95

If you’re attached to the idea of owning a Polaroid camera, then the Polaroid Now+ is the one you want. It’s bigger than the Polaroid Go and has a few more features you might enjoy. Firstly, you can connect the camera to your smartphone, which then allows you to control the self-timer, manual mode, exposure, and light painting.

The lens filter kit has five different lens types you can play around with, and the tripod mount comes in handy with solo travel and the self-timer function. It is more pricey ($329.99) than the Go model, but the functionality is great.

best instant cameras
Photo: @polaroidaunz

Kodak Step, $219.95

The Kodak Step is not the prettiest camera, but it’s also not a bad option. It has an easy point-and-shoot operation and prints “2×3” sticky-backed prints. The print quality is exceptional, and I expect nothing less from Kodak.

There are only three picture modes, so there’s not much wiggle room for creativity, but if you need modern camera-like photos on polaroid, this will give you that. You can use a MicroSD card to save your photos and print them later.

Other features include a self-timer, photobooth mode, and a magnetic lens cap, which is practical and compatible with Kodak Zink 2×3 photo paper, so no ink cartridges or toners are needed.

My only negative comment is that I don’t like the missing white border on the photos. Other than that, it’s a great, easy-to-use camera. The price tag is expensive ($219.99), but it’s Kodak, so you’re mostly paying for the print quality.

best instant cameras
Photo: Kodak_Italia

Instax mini LiPlay, $270-$229 (with 15% off)

We’re going more modern now with the new LiPlay from Fujifilm, which claims to be the new era of Instax, and I agree. The contemporary-looking camera body is rectangular, with a rose gold exterior and LCD screen on the back.

Similar to the Mini Evo, you can connect this to your smartphone and shoot remotely. The welcomed upgrade is the ability to choose any photo to save on your phone, not just the ones you’ve printed. That’s the one flaw in the Mini Evo. For the first time, you can capture sound on film. How? You can convert recorded sounds into a QR code to your printed instax film.

The frames and filters are also updated constantly, so you can enjoy the ten pre-installed frames and any new updates digitally. It’s an exciting little pocket camera that gives you the creative freedom to turn all your holiday photos into anything you want, from retro to adding bunny ears on your subject.

best instant cameras
Photo: @fujiinstaxaus

Fujifilm SQ1, $169.95

If you’re a fan of square film prints, then try the SQ1. The camera body is square and comes in various colours, from glacier blue to terracotta orange. It’s a simple analog operation with auto exposure. Think of it as the Mini 11, but without the colourful film. Instead, you will get a simple, plain square Instax film print.

best instant cameras
Photo: @fujiinstaxaus

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