With all the convenience of digital and mobile technology which supports easy capture, editing, and sharing of high-quality images, who would want a Polaroid camera? You’d be surprised that many people still do. 

In spite of the advanced capabilities of digital cameras that overshadowed the need for instant cameras (also known as Polaroid cameras), it could not be denied that this product satisfies your nostalgia for that vintage feel. This camera is built with an internal development mechanism and film that creates the picture within seconds after the image has been captured. 

Of course, this may not seem to be a practical option, especially since you would have to replenish your supply of films to keep on going. This camera, however, is not about practicality. It is more about fun and speed. It makes traveling fun. It captures important and special moments and prints or develops them in an instant. Aside from its appeal to nostalgia, this camera satisfies our desire for that instant photo, seconds after the shot.  

You should, however, make sure that the camera that you will purchase will not only give you instant gratification, but also a more lasting satisfaction. That said, join us as we review the 5 of the best Polaroid cameras on the market with our camera expert, Evangeline Summers! Enjoy some valuable insights from her and some fast facts about each camera we listed. To get a better look at them, simply click on their Amazon buttons below and enjoy their best deals!

Best Polaroid Cameras Comparison & Rating

Polaroid Cameras

Features

Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Black (9010), Bluetooth Connected Instant Film Camera
  • battery-free and wallet-friendly i-Type  films
  • Polaroid Originals app via Bluetooth connectivity
  • optical-grade polycarbonate coated lens
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera - Blush Pink (16654774) + Fujifilm Instax Mini Twin Pack Instant Film (16437396) + Single Pack Rainbow Film + Case + Travel Stickers
  • built-in selfie mirror
  • close-up range of 30 to 50 cm away
  • macro mode
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera - Blush Gold
  • automatic exposure control
  • inverted Galilean 0.4X viewfinder
  • motor-driven 3-range focus switching
Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera - Black & White (9059)
  • optical-grade polycarbonate and acrylic lenses
  • autofocus 2-lens system
  • double exposure
Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro 3x3 2-in-1 Portable Wireless Instant Camera & Photo Printer, Compatible with iOS, Android & Bluetooth, Real Photo HD, 4PASS Technology & Laminated Finish – White – 60 Sheets
  • KODAK technology of 4Pass method
  • border and borderless images
  • cartridge method film replacement

1. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Instant Film Camera

Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Black (9010), Bluetooth Connected Instant Film Camera
Specifications:
98% Overall

Brand

Polaroid

Dimensions

5.9 x 3.8 x 4.37 inches

Weight

1.08 pounds

Picture Size

107 mm x 88 mm

98%
durability
97%
picture quality
98%
ease of use
98%
value for money
Pros:
  • Designed with optical-grade polycarbonate coated lens.
  • Allows you to switch from automatic mode to manual control through Polaroid Originals app via Bluetooth connectivity (available for both Android and iOS).
  • Allows switch from portrait to landscape lens.
  • Uses accurate flash so your subjects would look how they should.
  • Uses a battery-free and wallet-friendly i-Type  films.
  • Designed with outer shells made from polycarbonate and ABS plastics.
  • The battery is rechargeable using a USB charging cable.
  • Long battery life of up to 60 days depending on use.
  • Designed with a tripod mount on the base.
Cons:
  • Because this camera has no image preview, you need to be careful with your shots for efficient film use.
Final Take:

This is a camera that is most suitable if you want that vintage feel that would still give you the opportunities to experiment and seize greater control in the images that you will capture. By accessing the Polaroid originals via Bluetooth, you could easily gain better control in your shots by fiddling with double exposure, light painting, and more. 

“These features for better control are good enough reasons to choose OneStep+, compared to other Polaroid Models, especially for those who are tired of letting their cameras make most of the decisions in their shots,” Summers said. 

Indeed, compared to Polaroid Now, and OneStep2, this product has the edge of Bluetooth connectivity, light painting, manual mode, noise trigger, and remote trigger. OneStep2 also missed this products’ flexibility of having portrait and landscape lenses. This is a reliable Polaroid camera that merges the vintage and the digital in fun ways.

2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera - Blush Pink (16654774) + Fujifilm Instax Mini Twin Pack Instant Film (16437396) + Single Pack Rainbow Film + Case + Travel Stickers
Specifications:
98% Overall

Brand

Fujifilm

Dimensions

8.3 x 6.5 x 5.9 inches

Weight

2.05 pounds

Picture Size

5.4 cm x 8.6 cm

98%
durability
97%
picture quality
97%
ease of use
98%
value for money
Pros:
  • Automatic light adjustment in a flash.
  • Adjusts shutter speed based on the brightness of the surroundings so you could get bright images without special settings.
  • Comes with a built-in selfie mirror.
  • Selfie mode for better and easier capture of your own photos.
  • Close-up range of 30 to 50 cm away, using the selfie mode.
  • Offers macro mode.
  • Built with 0.37X real image finder.
  • Develops films in about 90 seconds (based on ambient temperatures).
  • Designed for automatic power off after 5 minutes to save your battery.
  • Delivers credit card-sized photos (5.4 cm x 8.6 cm).
  • Very easy to use and intuitive.
Cons:
  • There are some discrepancies between the viewfinder and the real image for close-up shots. Hence you might have to aim slightly to the right.
Final Take:

If you want an instant camera that will give you bright pictures without having to fiddle with the settings, Instax Mini 11 will give the best value for your money. It is designed to take care of many of the calculations and adjustments for you, so you could just focus on your subject. 

“Instax cameras are indeed among the popular and best-selling cameras now. But what does this newer model have that you won’t get with Instax Mini 9? While these two share many designs in terms of lens and instant films, Mini 11 has the capability to deliver better quality images in easier ways because of its replacement of Mini 9’s manual exposure setting with an automatic exposure system,” Summers stated.

Further, Mini 11 also has an electronic shutter that would adjust automatically for better exposure. These developments have made this model a better choice if you want better quality images without having to fiddle with the settings.

3. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera - Blush Gold
Specifications:
97% Overall

Brand

Fujifilm

Dimensions

6.1 x 6.1 x 4.1 inches

Weight

0.5 pounds

Picture Size

86 X 72 mm

97%
durability
98%
picture quality
97%
ease of use
97%
value for money
Pros:
  • Built with automatic exposure control to brighten not only the subject but also the background for dark scene captures.
  • Square photo format (86 X 72 mm) offers more space to capture the scene.
  • Built with inverted Galilean 0.4X viewfinder.
  • Has motor-driven 3-range focus switching.
  • Designed with selfie mirror so you could check the area to be captured.
  • Offers selfie mode which adjusts the focal length and brightness for better selfie shots.
  • Offers a macro mode so you could take pictures of subjects up close within 30 to 50 cm.
  • Double exposure allows you to take two images in one photo.
  • Offers control on the brightness of the photo.
  • Has three color filters including orange, purple, and green.
  • The film develops at approximately 90 seconds (based on ambient temperature).
  • Has electronically controlled 10-second delay or self-timer.
Cons:
  • If you had been used to using the portrait and landscape frames, filling the Instax Square might take some getting used to.
Final Take:

Instax Square is an instant camera that makes capturing your best moments easier. You could just point, shoot and wait for your picture in squares.  

“What is nice about this camera is that it has built-in modes that are quite handy. Hence for as long as you are using the right mode for your shot, your pictures could come out well,” Summers said.   

You would also appreciate how this camera combines ease with some freedom for control. You’d love the automatic exposure control of the camera which adjusts its shutter speed based on the brightness of the surroundings to create bright and clear shots. At the same time, it also allows you to fiddle with mode selections such as distance focusing and brightness adjustment. These features allow you to come up with satisfying pictures to treasure.

4. Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera

Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera - Black & White (9059)
Specifications:
97% Overall

Brand

Polaroid Originals

Dimensions

4.4 x 3.7 x 5.9 inches

Weight

1.3 pounds

Picture Size

107 mm x 88 mm

97%
durability
96%
picture quality
98%
ease of use
96%
value for money
Pros:
  • Uses optical-grade polycarbonate and acrylic lenses.
  • Comes with an autofocus 2-lens system where the cam chooses the more suitable lens for your shot.
  • Offers double exposure so you could capture two frames in one photograph.
  • Uses battery-free and more wallet-friendly i-Type films.
  • Comes with a self-timer to give you the chance to compose your best smile.
  • Accurate flash so everyone in the photo would look just how they should
  • Offers 7 colors (plus black and white) for more fun.
  • Comes with an outer shell that is made of polycarbonate and ABS plastics.
  • Battery life could last for up to 60 days (depending on use).
Cons:
  • Pure analogue camera without digital capabilities.
Final Take:

If you are after the polaroid camera that will satisfy that nostalgic feel, this analogue Polaroid camera is a great option to consider.

“Polaroid Now I-Type takes the classic style and ease of use of the original Polaroid OneStep and adds some elements to allow more creativity and fun through features such as double exposure and more colors of the Panasonic spectrum,” Summers stated.

Aside from the vintage style, another appeal of this camera is its great simplicity. You just point, shot, and wait for your memories to be preserved in a  4.2” x 3.5” format. This is a camera that won’t give you a hard time having fun. 

While Polaroid OneStep+ which is priced a little higher than this model has interesting additional features, one reason why you would purchase The Now is the Autofocus which is not available in the former. This model has two fixed focus zones at 0.55m-1.3m and 0.6m-infinity. This produces images that could be quite comparable with the old pictures with your fondest memories.

5. Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro Instant Camera and Photo Printer

Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro 3x3 2-in-1 Portable Wireless Instant Camera & Photo Printer, Compatible with iOS, Android & Bluetooth, Real Photo HD, 4PASS Technology & Laminated Finish – White – 60 Sheets
Specifications:
96% Overall

Brand

Kodak

Dimensions

6.73 x 6.46 x 5.87 inches

Weight

1.98 pounds

Picture Size

76.2 x 76.2 mm

97%
durability
94%
picture quality
97%
ease of use
95%
value for money
Pros:
  • 2-in-1 printer and camera built with 1.77 inch LCD.
  • Equipped with selfie mirror.
  • Creates good quality images through KODAK technology of 4Pass method.
  • Produces 3x3 inch photos which are waterproof and finger proof.
  • Allows you to verify photos to be printed.
  • Freedom to choose between the border and borderless images.
  • Replacement of films though cartridge method.
  • Offers an app to enjoy fun effects and convenience (compatible with Android and iOS).
  • Has a ower paper cost.
  • Quick printing in approximately 50 seconds.
  • Allows printing of pictures from your phone.
Cons:
  • Possibility of shortage in cartridge supply for film replacement.
Final Take:

This is an instant camera that offers versatile functioning. Further, it supports more cost-effective long-term use. Mini Shot 3 uses cartridges for the replacement of films and papers which are less expensive.  

“Aside from the instant camera+printer design of this product which extends its versatility, Mini Shot 3 Retro is also cost-effective in that it allows you to check the photo through its 1.77 inch LCD viewfinder, so you would not have to waste your films on shots you would later regret. Not many instant cameras allow this,” Summers explained. 

Further, this camera is easy to use. You don't need to read instruction manuals to get the hang of it. It also creates nice quality pictures and the printing is fast. That it allows you to print images in your phone’s gallery is another sweet bonus.

Best Polaroid Cameras - Buyer's Guide

image quality

If you are buying a Polaroid camera, it would be best to check how the camera supports the creation of quality shots that you would love to treasure for a long time. Hence, cameras that offer possibilities for appropriate adjustments (automatic or manual) of brightness, exposure, and focus among others are nice to consider.

image size

Polaroid cameras offer print pictures in various dimensions from rectangular (landscape or portrait) and squares. If you have special preferences or particular planned applications, it would be ideal to consider these image sizes in your purchase.

ease of use

It is best to look for a Polaroid camera that is easier to use. This way, you could focus more on your subjects. Instant cameras with accurate automatic adjustment features and preset modes to choose from would be ideal.

creative controls and features

While we value ease of use, it would also be a nice bonus if your instant camera allows you to fiddle with the controls and creative features, when the automatic settings are not sufficient for your planned applications

image developing or printing speed

One of the primary reasons why you will purchase a Polaroid camera is its speedy delivery of your print photograph. Hence, you probably would like to check out or verify just how fast this “instant” performance is.

Best Polaroid Cameras - FAQs

Why would I want an instant camera?

Instant or Polaroid camera could be used for jobs that require speedy print copies of your captured images. For many people now, however, a Polaroid camera is a fun device to capture special life moments in instant photos, in ways that would satisfy nostalgia for this classic or retro feel.

How long does an instant camera produce a photo?

Instant or Polaroid cameras could produce your physical photograph in a matter of seconds (e.g. 90 seconds). However, this could vary depending on the ambient temperature.

What is the best instant camera?

The best instant camera is one that speedily produces a good quality image through excellent setting automation or options. Many instant cameras offer these capabilities. However, the best product for you would depend on the image size and amount of control, and versatility that you require.

Why do we usually call an instant camera a Polaroid camera?

An instant camera is a type of camera that is designed to speedily develop the photograph that you have captured. However, because instant photography was popularized by the Polaroid cameras back in the 70s, people typically use the terms Polaroid camera and instant camera synonymously.

Author

Santi Bongco is an editor at SolidSmack which is the leading site for 3D CAD, robots, cool product designs, and other technologies. For the past seven years, he taught robotics and developed innovative 3D printer ideas with his students. He also helped in developing some innovative digital ideas and products for various digital marketing businesses and big companies in Asia. Now, aside from exploring buffet restos in California, he enjoys leading groups of our in-house experts in trying some of your favorite products and electronic brands to write insightful reviews for you. PS: He loves reviewing appliances and taking them home to personally ‘try’ them.