The best instant cameras

The best gear for getting started with instant photography.

When Polaroid introduced the one-step process in 1947 it revolutionized the way people approached photography. Now that everyone has a high-quality camera in their pocket, the meaning of “instant photography” has changed drastically, but there is still something wonderful about taking a photo with an instant camera and watching the image slowly appear on a print before your eyes. There are currently tons of options a few different film formats. These are some of our favorites.

Polaroid Originals OneStep+

Polaroid Originals OneStep+

Inspired by the design of a camera from 1977, the Polaroid Originals OneStep+ features Bluetooth connectivity for advanced creative modes.Polaroid

The Polaroid Originals OneStep+ is an instant camera with built-in Bluetooth. Connect it to the smartphone app to enable light painting and creating double exposures on Polaroid's I-Type instant film, which is larger than the versions offered by Instax. The camera design borrows heavily from the original OneStep released in 1977, although there are some key differences. On the back of the camera you will find a large viewfinder, a USB charging port, and anon and off switch. On the front of the camera you will find the button to activate the camera's Bluetooth, which allows it to communicate with the app. he app features remote shooting, self timer, double exposure, light painting, noise trigger, and manual mode.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay

Fujifilm’s new Instax Mini LiPlay combines analog and digital tech into one package.Fujifilm

Fujifilm's newest Instax is a true hybrid camera that combines Fujifilm's instant film cameras and its Instax printers. It can also record sound for up to 10 seconds. The Instax Mini LiPlay is built around a 1.5in CMOS sensor, has a 2.7 inch LCD monitor. Built in memory can store approximately 45 files, but a microSD cards slot allows for expansion. Integrated digital filters and frames, remote shooting options, smartphone printing, sound recording add flexibility when you shoot. It has a dedicated app, although the LCD screen makes the process of shooting Instax frames a little more predictable. The camera has a 28mm F/2.0 fixed lens. It is available in three colors.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 is easy for everyone.Fujifilm

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 camera comes in a variety of colors, has a sharp lens, a bright flash, and is super simple to use. Exposure is fully automatic, but the results are always very consistent, because of that these are great for kids, casual shooting, or guests at a party or wedding. It shoots Instax Mini format and has a few creative modes: Macro, Landscape, Selfie, Self timer and 'High-key' mode. It's relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and so easy to use that anyone can shoot with it.

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300

The Instax Wide 300 is consistent and turns out good results even if you’re just pointing and shooting.Fujifilm

The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is the current standard when it comes to shooting Instax Wide film. Similar to the Instax Mini 70, its consistent and turns out good results even if you're just pointing and shooting. The camera has automatic exposure controls, but you can lighten or darken the picture with a simple switch. The camera is a little bulky, and feels plasticky in your hands, but the lens is sharp, the flash is bright, and it's simple to operate. The wide frames give you a bit more flexibility when shooting portraits.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is the most fun camera for shooting Fujifilm Instax Squares.Fujifilm

The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is Fujifilm's most fun square camera. It can shoot in double exposure mode, macro mode, landscape mode, and selfie mode. It comes with colored filters to add creative pops of colors to your film photos. It's larger than the Mini 70, but just as fun and easy to use. The square format feels more like classic Polaroid from the past.

Diana Instant Square

Diana Instant Square

The Diana Instant Square has interchangeable lenses and a hot shoe flash. It’s one of the more versatile instant cameras on the market, but also one of the least predictable.Lomography

Lomography's Diana Instant Square camera is a true interchangeable lens camera that shoots to square Instax film. The camera features a hotshoe flash, which gives users more creative options when it comes to lighting. Like most of Lomography's products—and toy cameras in general—the camera's build feels plasticy and the results are unpredictable and often lo-fi. The camera can shoot multiple exposures and in bulb-mode, has aperture settings for cloudy days (F11), partly sunny days (F19), very sunny days (F32), and pinhole photography (F150). The results won't be as predictable as some of the other cameras, but if you love a lo-fi look this might be for you.

Lomography Lomo’Instant Wide

Lomography Lomo’Instant Wide

The Lomo’Instant Wide is the only Lomography camera that shoots the Instax wide format.Lomography

This is Lomography's only camera that shoots the Instax wide film. It has a 90mm built-in lens, but comes with a close-up attachment lens, and ultra wide-angle attachment lens, a Splitzer accessory for creating multi-exposures, flash gels, and a lens cap that can be used as a trigger for the camera. The camera has some manual controls, you can fully disable the flash and shoot in three modes: Auto, Bulb and 1/30 sec. The camera has three focus zones: 2ft, 3.3-6ft, and infinity. Admittedly, the focusing system is finicky. Our favorite frames came when we were shooting Auto mode. It's quite chunky compared to some of the other cameras, but the wide frames are a delight.

Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat

Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat

The Lomo’Instant Automat is a stylish camera that comes in a variety of colors and shoots on the Instax Mini format.Lomography

The Lomography Lomo'Instant Automat shoots Fujifilm's Instax Mini format. It's one of Lomography's most compact Instant camera, comes in a variety of colors, and looks more polished than the Lomo'Instant Wide. The camera comes with a wide-angle lens attachment, a close-up lens attachment, a fisheye lens attachment, color gels, a Splitzer for multiple-exposures, and a lens cam that can trigger the camera. The camera has automatic and bulb exposure modes, allows for exposure compensation and some flash control. It has a straight-forward zone focusing system.

Leica Sofort

Leica Sofort

The Sofort features Leica’s signature red dot and a premium price tag to match.Leica

The Leica Sofort shoots Instax Mini film and occupies the upper end of the Instant camera spectrum, although spec wise it’s pretty similar to the Fujifilm Instax 90. It comes in three colors, is super lightweight, and has a ton of creative modes. There are settings for macro, bulb, self timer, double exposure, selfie mode, sports mode, party mode and people mode. An LCD on the back indicates which mode you have selected. The Sofort allows for more control over flash output, exposure compensation, and focusing distance too. It’s pricier than a lot of the other options, but perhaps the most dapper camera of the bunch.

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