Instant film cameras are never out of trend. Over the past years, renowned manufacturers have sought to bring back the magic of analog photography by launching cute and affordable devices. What is the best instant film camera on the market though?
In this post, we are going to summarily review popular instant film cameras you can currently buy. Also, we will inspect their “giftable” quality. Instant photo cameras won’t “wow” you with their performance and capabilities (that’s the job of a DSLR or mirrorless camera). However, it looks like their design is getting more and more sophisticated.
Without further ado, we invite you to check out our top picks & recommendations when buying the perfect instant photo camera for you or a special someone.
What Is the Most “Giftable” Instant Film Camera This Year?
We have already reviewed and labeled Fuji’s Mini Instax popular line of products as the perfect photographic gifts this season. As there is more to discover, in this article we want to bring into view a few more models from the two major manufacturers of instant photo cameras (both digital and analog): Fuji and Polaroid. Before we dive deeper into their key features and specs, let’s take a look at a few essential aspects when it comes to choosing an instant photo camera.
- Price: instant film cameras are generally inexpensive. Their price start at around $70 most of them can be purchased without exceeding $170. Exception makes the more advanced and better equipped instant digital cameras (Wi-fi, GPS capabilities) whose price can get up to $400.
- Image Size: most instant photo cameras print color photos of the dimension of a business card. However, Fujifilm has created a WIDE series of instant photo cameras. The print are so twice as wide as the common ones.
- Usability and Performance: these photo devices are fun and easy to use. As regards their functionality and performance, some benefit of improved capabilities. To be honest, though, instant film cameras, analog or digital, do not offer top-notch quality. They are made to capture the moment and give you the opportunity to share it with your friends on the spot. If there is something to describe their use, that’s FUN.
- Design: what makes a camera “giftable” if not its look? From cute, rainbow appearances to more vintage, old-school designs, there’s a fit for all tastes.
Fuji and Polaroid Instant Film Cameras Side by Side
Best-Buy Instant Film Cameras: Fujifilm Top Picks
Fuji created some of the most giftable instant photo cameras over the past few years. Let’s take a look at their WIDE series.
Fujifilm Wide 300: Key-Features, General Specs, Price & Rating
What we love about this instant film camera is the image size twice as wide as that of the “Instax Mini” series. Among other features worth mentioning, there is its flash (fill-in and flash-on controls) and bright (Lighten-Darken control) buttons. The exposure compensation function allows the camera to adjust light and get the mood you desire (darker or softer).
- Type and Size of Film: Fuji’s Instant Color Film “Instax Wide” 0f 86 x 108 mm.
- Image Size: 62 x 99 mm.
- Shutter speed: 1/64 – 1/200 sec.
- Flash: automatic electronic flash.
- Lens: retractable, close-up lens with a maximum focal distance up to 40 cm from the subject.
- Size and Weight: not as lightweight as the Instax Mini, but still portable, the camera measures 167.8mm x 94.7mm x 120.9mm (approx. 5.74 x 5.7 x 8.26 inches) and weighs 612g (approx. 2.1 pounds).
- Colors: black with silver straps.
- Accessories: the camera comes with a film pack confirmation window and a tripod socket that comes in handy when shooting group portraits.
- Price: $129.99 (now $107.9 on Amazon)
- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Fujifilm Wide 210: Key-Features, General Specs, Price & Rating
Fuji Wide 210 sports the same features as the Wide 300 model only in a different, classy-looking body. Its qualities thus include the Lighten-Darken control that allows you to a low or high key effect to the print finish, the close-up lens, as well as the automatic flash designed to optimize backlit shots.
Apart from its stylish design, it also sports an automatic-closing lens cover and an LCD control panel that shows you film count and focal distance.
- Type and Size of Film: Fuji’s Instant Color Film “Instax Wide” of 86 x 108 mm.
- Image Size: 62 x 99mm.
- Shutter speed: 1/64 – 1/200 sec.
- Flash: automatic electronic flash (effective range from 0.9 up to 3m).
- Lens: close-up lens.
- Size and Weight: even if it looks much more compact that the wide 300, it measures 178.5 x 117.5 x 94.5mm (3.7 x 7 x 4.6 inches) and weighs 610g (2 pounds).
- Colors: silver and black.
- Price: $98.99 (now $71.79 if you buy the camera from Amazon Warehouse Deals).
- Overall Rating (Price/performance/design): 4 out of 5 stars.
Fanciest Instant Film Camera – Polaroid Top Picks
Polaroid Z2300 Instant Digital Camera: Key-Features, Specs, Price & Rating
Polaroid Z2300 is one of the manufacturer’s most popular models. The camera has the dimension and look of a point-and-shoot and the benefits of the digital age. This instant photo camera sports a resolution of 10 MP, a 3.0″ LCD display, and an integrated photo printer. Before printing your colorful pics, you can view and crop your images, and even apply funky borders and filters.
- Image Size: 2 x 3 inches (business card size: 51×76 mm).
- Resolution: 10 Megapixels
- Digital Zoom: 6 x
- Flash: built-in flash.
- Storage Options: internal memory of 32 MB; there is the possibility to expand it up to 32 GB with a compatible SD card.
- Movie Recording: 1280×720 HD videos: 30 fps.
- Size and Weight: the camera is more portable than the Fuji Instax cameras, measuring 1.38 x 2.99 x 4.65 inches and weighing only 0.58 pounds.
- Colors: white, black, blue, purple, red.
- Price: $299.99 (list price on Amazon); you can now buy the camera for $179.99.
- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommended Read: Polaroid Z23oo full review.
Polaroid Pic-300 Analog Camera: Key-Features, Specs, Price & Rating
Another Polaroid classic, the Pic-300 is an instant analog camera available in diverse colors. Inexpensive, cute, and easy to use, the camera is a hit.
- Type of Film: Polaroid 300 Instant Film
- Image Size: business card size color photos.
- Shutter speed: 1/60 seconds.
- Size and Weight: pretty compact and portable, the camera measures 4.78 x 2.76 x 4.7 inches and weighs 0.71 pounds.
- Colors: black, blue, purple, red.
- Price: $149.99 (now only $79.99 on Amazon)
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
NEW: Polaroid Socialmatic Instant Digital Camera: Old/New-School Fun
The Socialmatic model recently released by Polaroid will win your heart. The camera intends to combine the appeal of retro-style Polaroid instant film cameras with the capabilities of digital devices. Its impressive resolution of 14MP (for an instant film camera, of course), the Android operating system, and 4.5-inch touchscreen are just three innovations that make it irresistible. These improved features, though, come with a price.
- Image Size: business card size (2 x 3 inches).
- Resolution: 14 Megapixels front camera/ 2 Megapixels Rare Camera.
- Storage Options: 4GB Internal Memory (expandable to 32 GB).
- Built-in Capabilities: Wi-fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Android OS operating systems.
- Size and Weight: really compact lightweight, the camera measures 1.38 x 1.38 x 1.38 inches and weighs 0.55 pounds.
- Colors: black and white.
- Accessories (included): ZINK photo paper, rechargeable battery, charger, USB cable, user’s manual.
- Price: $428.
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
NEW: Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera – Reinventing Instant Photography
If the previous model does not fit into your budget, don’t be sad. Following the same pattern of nostalgic instant photography in a digital package, Polaroid launched the wallet-friendly Snap model. The full-color instants print have an adhesive backing for extra fun and utility. Wait, there is more: you can upload all pics to your computer and instantly share them on social media platforms.
- Image Size: business card size (2×3″).
- Resolution: 10 Megapixels.
- Storage Options: micro SD card slot (maximum 32GB).
- Size and Weight: designed to slip into your shirt pocket, the camera measures 6.6 x 6 x 1.9 inches and weighs only
- Colors: black, white, blue, red.
- Price: $99.99.
- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Polaroid OneStep SX-70 Rainbow Instant Camera: Key-Features, Specs, Price & Rating
A bit bulky but interestingly built, the OneStep SX-70 is the ideal gift for the nostalgic type of enthusiast photographer. Along with its design reminding of the old folding Polaroid camera, it offers the priceless experience of watching a photo develop.
- Type of Film: SX-70 integral film.
- Flash: automatic.
- Shutter: electronic.
- Lens: single element – 103mm f/14.6.
- Size: 7 x 7 x 9 inches.
- Colors: white and black.
- Price: you can buy refurbished SX-70 instant cameras for the price of $100 or used cameras for around 40 bucks.
- Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Hope you enjoyed our short instant film camera reviews and recommendations. Feel free to reach out with questions, comments, and suggestions. Feedback is awesome! Thanks & Happy shopping!
Image Sources: Polaroid “Instagram” Cameras, Fuji Instant Wide Cameras, Polaroid Instant Film Cameras.