Gift Edit 2023

This Instant Camera is One of the Best Gifts I Got This Year — Here’s Why You Should Gift It, Too

updated Dec 15, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

This feature is part of Apartment Therapy's Gift Edit, our editor-curated collection of gift ideas. Need more inspiration? Check out all our guides here.

Growing up, I loved playing with my dad’s old Polaroid camera from the 1970s. While it no longer worked, he happily passed it down to me and would (along with the rest of my family) let me play photographer as I took imaginary photos. This camera became such a beloved keepsake that it grew with me from plaything to decor piece the older I got. However, while I’ve loved its place in my home as a toy and pseudo-art piece, there’s one thing I was always sad I never got to do: take a real instant photograph!

Now I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Instant cameras still exist — why don’t you just pick one up?” You see, nothing (in my eyes) could come close to that original Polaroid from my youth so I was always hesitant to take the jump. However, when I was gifted the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera earlier this year, I quickly realized two things: 1. This camera rocks, and 2. Everyone needs one.

What is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera?

While this may look a bit different than the instant cameras of yesteryear, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera is a camera that perfectly balances modern design with a retro flair. Designed to look like a vintage, leather-wrapped camera, this instant camera is a feast for the eyes. But aside from looking nice, it’s also a really nice camera, with a built-in automatic exposure and a one-touch selfie mode (complete with selfie mirror!) that seamlessly prints out easy-to-gift credit-card-sized photos. The best part? All it takes to power it up is two AA batteries, which come included.

Credit: Sarah Vazquez

Why I Love the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

Aside from its chic design and obvious nostalgia factor, there are many reasons why I love this camera. First of all, it truly has an error-proof design that even the most technologically challenged can’t mess up; simply click the power button, aim, shoot, et voila! A perfect photograph. As nice as its ease-of-use is, though, it’s not the reason I love it so much.

In an age when taking a high-quality photo is simply a quick tap away, there’s something incredibly wonderful about the tangible outcome of an instant camera. I put it to use for the first time during Thanksgiving. With it being the first time my sister was hosting, I decided I would take some photos and gift them to her at the end of the night as both a thank you and a way to remember her first incredibly successful Thanksgiving (Pernil-style turkey for the win, y’all). Not only did she adore the photographs, immediately mounting them on her refrigerator, it was a sweet moment that I immediately knew was going to become a core memory for the both of us.

And this is why I’ve fallen for this camera. The beauty of instantaneously capturing a moment, no second take, no filter, is something many of us have long forgotten how to do in the digital age. To get a chance to bring a bit of this back from the past feels good to both my 28-year-old and six-year-old self. Needless to say, this camera is coming with me to every big event for the foreseeable future.

Credit: Sarah Vazquez

And I’m not the only one on the team that loves this camera. Britt, our Best List editor is also a fan, sharing, “I love instant cameras, so I have a few of them at home, but none are like the Instax 40 Mini. It truly stands out with its vintage design, which is what first caught my attention. I’ve had it for well over a year now and it’s still one of my favorites to use when I get the chance to take it out for a day with family and friends. It’s so fun taking pictures with this camera, and it makes a great way to collect and share memories with those you love.”

Want to put one to the test for yourself? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera comes in at $95, with multiple bundles equipped with various rolls of film for just a bit more. So whether you’re looking to make memories or fulfill a childhood fantasy, this instant camera is a gift that truly will keep on giving, making it my easiest pick for the best gift of 2023.

Buy: Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera, $94.70 (normally $99.95)