Nostalgia may be a dirty liar, but it's is a heady cocktail that is hard to resist. Enter the instant print camera of yesteryear, which I liken to the anti-Instagram/Snapchat/anything social and digital. In a day and age where you increasingly feel the need to perfectly compose your life for the sake of virtual likes, it's understandable why throwback tech like Polaroids and instant film systems (where the photo is for you and you alone) are making a resurgence. These are 11 of our favorites on the market right now.
Available in seven candy-like colors, Fujifilm's most affordable Instax camera is fun, compact and super simple to operate.
If you can't bare to imagine a world where you don't share your photos via social media but you want the novelty of an instant print camera, the Polaroid Snap is the best of both those conflicting worlds. It has a micro SD slot to keep digital records (to share later!) of your snaps, but the capability to print them right away if you so choose.
Unlike it's smaller siblings, the Wide 300 Instant Camera produces larger photos perfect for getting more into your shot. Urban Outfitters carries exclusive colors, including this matte white version.
Another player in the instant-photo game, Lomography offers ultra retro-looking cameras with some fun functionalities. A shutter lock and tripod thread let's you have fun with long exposure (there's a second shutter speed just for this!), you can shoot on the same frame with multiple exposures, and the lens unscrews in case you want to experiment with pinhole photography.
Our Previous Lists:
- DigiLomo Camera: The Homemade Lomography Camera
- Worth It: Digital Cameras That Can Out-Camera Your Smartphone
- How To Achieve Perfect Selfie Lighting at Home
Polaroid may have stopped making their iconic cameras in the early aughts, but thanks to Impossible who rescued the machines, you can still enjoy the simplicity of a onestep, instant-print shot.
A throwback camera with throwback style is what you'll get in the Mini 90. Its macro mode is perfect for up-close scenes you want to capture in artsy detail. Also available in black.
This Lomography may be the most customizable of our crop. It comes with three lenses (fisheye, close-up and portrait), gel filters, and a slice-and-dice lens cap.
Fujifilm's Instax Mini 70 is available in six punchy colors, but our current favorite is this glam Michael Kors version in a soft gold. No matter what shade you pick, though, you'll get a camera with auto exposure, a self timer, selfie mode (with a small mirror on the front lens so you can frame your shot perfectly), and the ability to shoot in landscape or portrait.
Other Good Resources:
- 7 Best Instant Cameras - The Independent
- Top 10 Instant Print Cameras of 2016 - Sassy Camera
- 10 Best Polaroid Cameras 2016 - Camera Runner
- Top 20 Best Instant Film Cameras In 2015 & 2016 Reviews - Top 10 Perfect
Leica cameras have a cult following (though they do not come cheap), so if you are a fan of the brand, you'll love their instant film camera. One of the best features is the rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (unlike most of the others in its class that use disposable batteries.)
USB charging, an LED ring flash for soft, diffused light, controllable via an iOS app: all of these features sound rather modern for a camera that looks so old school, but that's what Impossible (who partnered with Teenage Engineering for this camera) intended with the I-1.
If you're looking for something to satisfy the ultimate instant film enthusiast, this refurbished original Polaroid SX-70 is just the ticket. The whole thing folds up into a tight package so it's bulk is much easier to transport.