Since the first polaroid camera was released in 1948 (the 95 Land Camera model), generations of instant cameras have risen and fallen. However despite the emergence of digital cameras and mobile phone cameras, polaroid cameras have remained popular throughout.

There is nothing quite like being able touch and see a psychical photograph right after taking the picture. However finding the right polaroid camera is not easy as you have to take into consideration several factors before deciding. To help you find the best polaroid camera, we have prepared the following guide.

Key Facts

  • While there are many digital and hybrid cameras available (some already on your phone) many photography enthusiasts prefer traditional polaroid cameras that create instant photos, without the opportunity to edit.
  • Currently, the most prestigious  polaroid cameras are Fujifilm and Polaroid, however Leica and Lomography are also rising brands.
  • Just like a digital camera, you can use polaroid cameras to capture life’s moments. They can also be used to introduce children to the world of photography.

Ranking: The best polaroid cameras on the US market

In the following section we present the top five best polaroid cameras available on the US market.  All polaroid cameras in our list have been selected based on their advanced features and affordability.

No. 1: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is currently the best all-around polaroid camera and an easy choice for the top of our list. It includes analog technology and has a unique vintage design. Additional features include 8x optical zoom, rechargeable batteries and a high-performance flash.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90, includes six picture modes – including a macro-mode function for shooting pictures up close at distances of between 30-60 centimerers. This camera also automatically detects the brightness of the surrounding area and adjusts the amount of flash and shutter speed to optimize photo quality. Using the double exposure mode you can produce 2 images on 1 film sheet by pressing the shutter twice.

No. 2: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 instant camera

The new, Instax Mini 9 camera is an upgrade from the Instax Mini 8 with new designs and features. Its main features include a selfie mirror for enhancing selfies.  Additionally, it can take high quality close up macro photos with its lens adapter which lets you focus on subjects as close as 35-50cm.

Its automatic exposure measurement technology signals the recommended aperture setting with a flashing LED light letting you manually adjust the dial to the recommended setting. The High-Key mode lets you take brighter pictures with a soft look. Its  elegant look is available in a wide range of attractive colors such as cobalt blue, ice blue, flamingo pink, lime green and smoky white.

No. 3: Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera

The Polaroid PIC-300 is an analog camera, which produces excellent quality pictures at an affordable price. Its design is simple and user-friendly, and it is easy to take with you on the go – weighing just 320 grams. The camera comes with an automatic flash and four different shooting modes.

The Polaroid PIC-300 is a solid option for its features and affordability – a good generalist option for the majority of photographers.  Its system integrates electronic shutters of 1/60 seconds.  The one caveat to this camera is that it does not work on rechargeable batteries but rather requires 4 AA batteries. Nevertheless, Polaroid, is one of the top instant camera makers and camera will not disappoint.

No. 4: Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera

The Polaroid Snap Touch is another excellent option with several compelling features. It integrates ZINK printing technology to print full-color, smudge-proof 2×3 inche prints automatically when an image is captured.  It comes with a powerful 10 megapixel sensor. You can also insert a microSD card (32GB max) to expand the memory, load your Zink paper and print on the spot. Taking great selfies is also easier than ever with the built-in selfie mirror.

The Polaroid Snap Touch prints are ready in under a minute and come with adhesive backing that makes it easy to post on most surfaces. An additional bonus to this phone is that your photos are saved on the Polaroid Snap for easy uploading to your computer and social media platforms

No. 5: Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera

The Kodak Printomatic camera offers a powerful 10MP sensor with a wide angle f/2 lens that instantly and automatically prints hi quality color or black and white photos directly from the camera body. It integrates 10-megapixel and comes equipped with a light sensor that will automatically turn on the flash in low-light settings. The camera uses Kodak Zink Photo Paper, so no ink cartridges, toners or film are needed. The photo prints are water-resistant, tear resistant, smudge free and adhesive-backed.

The Kodak Printomatic is available in several different colors. It is also highly compact in size and easy to carry. The camera has slots for attaching a neck strap, and saves photos to a microSD card.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about polaroid cameras

There are several different types of polaroid cameras, each with different features. In this section we discuss the most common questions of polaroid camera consumers.

Instant cameras are analog or digital photo devices that allow you to take pictures and receive a physical printout immediately.
(Source: Rawpixel: 77924245/ 123rf.com)

What is a polaroid camera exactly?

Polaroid cameras, also commonly known as instant cameras, are photo devices that enable you to take pictures and create a hardcopy almost instantly.  In this process, they use photographic film to produce a single positive image.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of polaroid cameras?

One of the main advantages of polaroid cameras is that they provide you with basically instant access to the physical photo just after it has been taken. This form of photo is special as you it makes the photo more tangible and tactile. The following table further lays out the advantages and disadvantages of the polaroid camera.

Advantages
  • They allow you to receive the physical photograph instantly
  • They usually are not expensive
  • They are very easy to use
Disadvantages
  • You need to buy photographic paper from time to time that can be expensive
  • Analog models do not allow the possibility to edit the photo prior to printing
  • Most polaroid cameras do not have rechargeable batteries

What are most common uses for a polaroid camera?

Polaroid cameras can be used to take photos of your travels. You can also use them at parties or events, such as weddings, in situations where it would be fun to offer your guests an immediate souvenir.

Another possible use of this type of camera is for educating your kids. Children are usually in awe when they take a photo on a polaroid camera and then right after hold the physical photo in their hand. There are some polaroid camera models made especially for children.

Who should buy a polaroid camera?

Polaroid cameras are best suited for people who want to capture special moments as well as for photography enthusiasts. They are great for children, to introduce them to photography, as well as photographers working on special events such as weddings and birthdays.

What types of polaroid cameras are there?

Polaroid cameras can basically be classified into two main groups: digital and analog.  Digital polaroid cameras allow you to edit your photos prior to printing. Meanwhile the traditional analog polaroid cameras give you a more un-edited and classic experience.

Type Features
Digital Give you the ability to take pictures and decide when you want to print them. They allow you to edit or crop your photos. You can take many of photos and only print the ones you want
Analog Photos are developed immediately after they are taken. Photos cannot be edited. The traditional art of photography is retained

How does a polaroid camera work?

For analog polaroid cameras, light enters the camera through the lens and is captured on film. The camera then prints and ejects the photo using its internal production system.

Instant cameras can include either rechargeable or AA batteries.
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What are the most common errors when using polaroid cameras?

A popular error is not removing the lens protector (black protective screen) before using the camera. Another common error is shaking the physical photo after taking it. Contrary to what most people think, shaking the photo doesn’t reveal the image faster. It is better to wait for it to dry itself.

It is also common that people don’t take advantage of the camera settings to optimize the picture and as a result they don’t get the most out of their camera. Finally, it is also common to ignore the operating manual and immediately start taking pictures.

Gavin StokerDigital Camera World

“Generally speaking you don’t want to be standing more than five or six feet away from your subject – unless you’re trying to squeeze a landscape or piece of architecture into the frame.”

Where can I buy photographic paper for polaroid cameras?

Getting photographic paper might be one of the concerns you have when considering a polaroid camera. However, rest assured, finding photographic paper is easy.

It is always easily accessible on Amazon. You can find it in photography stores and large supermarkets. The extensive distribution network of brands like Fujifilm ensures that you can buy sheets of photographic paper for your polaroid camera all over the world.

Shopping Criteria

It is important that you consider a number of criteria before making your decision. We’ve selected the criteria that we consider most important to help with your purchase. We hope that this will serve as a useful guide for buying the polaroid camera that best suits you.

  • Use
  • Design
  • Size of photos and photographic paper
  • Battery
  • Additional functionalities
  • Brand

Use

The type of polaroid camera you will want will vary depending on if it to be used for traveling or for events.  It might be better to aim for a more economical and easy-to-use model for traveling. If you prefer a camera that offers a high level of performance, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 or the Polaroid Snap Touch may be right choice for you.

The Instax Mini 90 is also a great option if you want to take creative shots at events.  For kids – we recommend the Kodak PRINTOMATIC or even the Polaroid Snap Touch.

You won’t need the same type of camera for traveling as you do to take snapshots at a wedding or birthday
(Source: Marina Pissarova: 42213967/ 123rf.com)

Design

Polaroid cameras can also be differentiated through their design. There are those with a vintage look like the Lomo’Instant Wide, or others with more classic designs like the Leica Sofort or Instax Mini 90.

If you prefer a polaroid camera with modern design, the Instax Mini 70 is a great choice, meanwhile a camera specially designed for children is the Hello Kitty camera by Fujifilm. Most manufacturers offer different color models so there is variety.

Size of photos and photographic paper

When buying a polaroid camera, an important question to ask is what size photos you want. Each camera uses a specific size which will determines the photo paper you’ll need.

Fuji sells paper in three different formats: Instax Mini (54 mm x 86 mm), Instax Square (86 mm x 72 mm) and Instax Wide (108 mm x 86 mm). The latter is also used by some Lomography models. Another size you can find is the 50 x 76 mm Polaroid.  The most famous photo size is from Polaroid – its iconic square format.

Battery

Instant camera batteries can be rechargeable or consist of AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are more economical and better for the environment.

Additional functionalities

Another question to consider is what other features it has. There are cameras that offer the possibility of multiple exposures, different filters and interchangeable lenses. The Lomo’Instant Wide is an excellent choice for the array of extra features it offers.

Brand

When choosing any type of camera, opt for a recognized brand that has extensive experience in the field of photography. When thinking about polaroid cameras, the  most famous brand is Polaroid.

That said, Polaroid is not the only top option on the market. Fujifilm is an excellent brand with the and the largest variety of models. Manufacturers such as Leica or Lomography also have high brand recognition.

Summary

Polaroid cameras have continued to stay popular even as digital phones have become ubiquitous. They are particularly popular with hipsters and adolescents. They can serve as a great birthday present as well as for capturing unique moments as well as for introducing children to photography.

Choosing the right model that suits you is easy if you follow a set of basic purchase criteria, as discussed in this article. Consider the intended use of the camera, designs that you like and which brands you trust.

If this guide has helped you, please feel free to leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.

(Source of featured image: Rawpixel: 77924245/ 123rf.com)

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