The Best Polaroid Camera You Can Buy Today—And 11 Similar Instant Cameras To Make Prints On The Go

Instant cameras are making a comeback. We've rounded up the best Polaroid cameras, plus other instant cameras from brands like Fujifilm, Lomo and Kodak.

Best İnstant Cameras, Best İnstant Print Cameras

12/5/2021 5:24:00 AM

Instant cameras are making a comeback. We've rounded up the best Polaroid cameras, plus other instant cameras from brands like Fujifilm, Lomo and Kodak. Via ForbesVetted

Instant cameras are making a comeback. We've rounded up the best Polaroid cameras, plus other instant cameras from brands like Fujifilm, Lomo and Kodak.

This is a true two-in-one portable camera. It can serve as a 10MP digital camera, but it includes a built-in photo printer, so you can create 3-inch square prints almost instantly - wherever you are. The other benefit to this camera is that you can transfer images from your mobile device to the camera to create prints, or transfer pictures you take with the camera to your mobile device for editing, storing, and sharing on social media, for example.

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The specialized paper that the Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro uses creates prints that are waterproof, that don’t collect fingerprint smudges, and that display vivid high-definition colors. Unlike the Zink-compatible instant cameras, this one requires the use of the special Kodak 4Pass Real Photo paper and a color ribbon (which comes with the paper packs). Once you purchase the camera and use up the 60 sheets of film paper that come with it, the cost will be about $0.40 per print once you start buying additional film.

Best Handheld Instant CameraIt’s a Digital Printer For Your PocketAmazonBuy From AmazonThis Kodak instant camera uses Zink paper to create stunning 2-inch by 3-inch prints with a sticker backing. This is also a 5MP digital camera (which is rather low resolution), but it can store digital images directly to a microSD memory card, so you can take a bunch of photos and then only create prints of your favorites.

This Kodak Printomatic Instant Camera bundle comes with the camera, a deluxe case, and one pack of Zink photo paper (20 sheets). The camera itself comes in your choice of five casing colors.Best Polaroid Instant Camera to Give As a GiftPolaroid’s Old School Camera With a Modern Update

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PolaroidBuy From PolaroidIf you’re looking for a fun, nostalgic, and unique gift for that adult who has everything and is difficult to find gifts for, consider the Polaroid Originals Now iType Instant Camera. This gift bundle comes with everything needed to start snapping instant photos in mere minutes.

While this Polaroid camera looks retro, it’s really a modern design that has built in autofocus, a flash, a self-timer, and the ability to shoot double exposures. The camera is compatible with Polaroid i-Type and 600 film, and comes with enough film to shoot 16 photos. As with all of the instant cameras, additional film is sold separately.

What Is An Instant Camera?Instant cameras were first popularized by Polaroid decades ago. All the way back in 1948, the Polaroid company invented a way to process specially treated film while it was still in the camera, so pictures would “print” within minutes of being taken.

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These days, most modern instant cameras, including Fujifilm’s Instax cameras, take a similar approach, developing their own prints so rapidly that it seems almost instant. Some “instant” films take up to 15 minutes to fully develop after a photo is taken and the sheet of film is jettisoned from the camera.

But while Polaroid and Instax cameras expose traditional, chemically treated film with light, a very different (and less costly option when it comes to generating prints) is a Zink (short for “zero ink”) camera. Zink cameras are digital cameras with miniatured zero-ink printers built in. Instead of using ink cartridges, like normal inkjet computer printers, Zink embeds all the ink into the paper itself, sort of like the way Polaroid prints carry their own chemicals for printing.

The drawback to using any instant camera is the cost to create prints, and the limited number of film sheets sold within each package. If you’ve become accustomed to snapping countless images using the digital cameras built into your smartphone, you’ll need to train yourself to be much pickier when using an instant camera. The benefit, of course, is the nostalgic thrill of snapping a photo and then having a full-color print in your hands in a matter of minutes.

The Polaroid Corporation: A Quick History LessonDr. H. Edwin Land, President of the Polaroid Corporation, holds a portrait of himself posing with... [+]the Sx-70 Polaroid camera.Getty ImagesThe Polaroid Corporation was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land. Over the years, as the company became known worldwide for its technological innovations in the world of photography, world famous photographers, like Ansel Adams, David Hockney, and Andy Warhol, collaborated with Polaroid. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the photos taken by these and other world class photographers became part of the International Polaroid Collection.

After decades of prosperity, the Polaroid Corporation fell onto hard times, and in 2001, the company filed for federal bankruptcy protection. By 2008, the company announced it would cease production of analog film.However, also that year, a small group of independent photographers purchased Polaroids last factory, which was located in the Netherlands, and managed to keep the art of instant photography alive.

So while the original Polaroid company that invented the instant camera is gone forever, a version of the company does live on and it continues to manufacture a wide range of new photography-related products - including instant cameras, film for its instant cameras, as well as digital cameras.

The company’s current instant camera lineup includes the: Polaroid Go, Polaroid Now, Polaroid Now+, Polaroid 600, and Polaroid SX-70 product lines, with camera prices ranging from around $100 to more than $500.How Much Should an Instant Camera Cost?You need to consider not just the price of the camera itself, but also the cost of film. For the camera, plan on spending between $60 and $200.

For camera collectors and serious photography hobbyists, an original Polaroid SLR 680 instant camera (first released in 1982), for example, can be found on eBay for upwards of $5,500, while an original Polaroid 690 SLR Instant Camera (also from 1982) will set you back around $1,500.

As for the film, you’ll want to shop around a bit to find the lowest prices. From online retailers, you’ll typically save money if you purchase two, five, or 10 packs of film at the same time.What to Look for In An Instant CameraInstant cameras are all about fun, so they mostly offer the most basic point and shoot functionality—with many offering similar features and performance. You should understand a bit about the different film formats, however, because there are several to choose from.

The most common format isFuji’s Instaxfilm. It’s available in square, wide, and mini varieties, and corresponds to specific Fujifilm and Lomo cameras. Likewise, there are two kinds of instant film used by Polaroid cameras, including i-Type and 600.In all cases, you can check your user guide, the camera’s packaging, or the camera’s website to find the compatible film type.

Beyond that, consider whether you want a camera that can also snap digital stills, without immediate printing. Some cameras also offer special features that go above and beyond simple snapshots. These can range from a selfie mode, or a remote shutter, to advanced exposure controls (like flashbulb photography).

Which Type of Film Do You Need?It would be great if there was simply a single kind of film you could insert into any instant camera and it just worked, but that’s not the case. There are several varieties of instant camera film to choose from, and the pricing varies greatly.

The good news, however, is that choosing the right film is pretty straightforward - and if you buy two, five, or 10 packs of film at the same time from an online retailer (like Amazon or, you’ll typically save money.Pay attention to how many sheets of instant film are included within each pack to help you quickly calculate the cost per print when actually using the camera.

Once you figure out what type of film your instant camera requires, be sure to stock up! You’re going to love snapping photos and then being able to hold the traditional prints in your hands and sharing them with the people you’re with. They also look great on your desk at work, on a refrigerator door, or can be used to decorate any personal space.

Read more: Forbes »

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