Despite all the advances we are seeing on a regular basis in the world of DSLR and Mirrorless camera technology, there is something about the instant nature of a Polaroid camera or an Instax camera that still captures the hearts of many around the world. You can’t always do much of what is possible with a DSLR if you’re shooting with a Polaroid camera, like experimenting with double exposure in photography, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a Polaroid picture every now and then just to capture that particular moment. Polaroid film images, other than having a sense of joy to them because of their unexpected nature, have a unique look to them as well that can’t quite be replicated with a heavy DSLR.
If you’re looking to get your hands on a Fujifilm Instax camera, or any other Polaroid instant camera, this buying guide is the right place for you to be.
Choosing a Polaroid Camera
In order to choose the best Polaroid camera for yourself, you first need to know what instant photography is. You need to know the different features of Polaroid cameras and the best models you can choose from. So, without further ado, let’s get into all of that.
What is an Instant Camera?
An instant camera is a type of camera that produces a print of the photo you’ve taken right away. This means that you do not need a second device to help take the print as you would with your DSLR camera. The most well-known brand of instant cameras is Polaroid, and they’ve had the best processors in their line of instant cameras. That is the reason many people know instant cameras simply as Polaroid cameras.
In order to take instant prints, you need to have instant film. Other than Polaroid film, Instax film by Fujifilm is also very popular. When a Polaroid camera is loaded with Polaroid camera film or an Instax camera is loaded with Fujifilm Instax film, you can start taking photos.
Features and Technical Limitations of Polaroid Cameras
Using a Polaroid camera isn’t always fun. In this day of social media, most people taking photos want to upload them online to share with friends and family. A Polaroid instant camera doesn’t allow you to do that. However, anyone wanting to explore the Polaroid template shouldn’t expect to do that either, as the whole idea is to share photos with people physically rather than through a screen.
The more significant limitation of using a camera designed according to the Polaroid template is that it probably won’t give you complete control over your exposure and focus. There really isn’t much that you can do from a technical point of view with a Polaroid or Instax camera to make photos look exactly how you want. A few pricey Polaroid camera models offer a good amount of control, but not everyone would be able to purchase those. Despite those limitations though, you could check out some tutorials like low key lighting and composition to ensure you can take a great photo.
Major Camera Producers – Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax
While other companies like Lomography also make instant cameras, the most popular ones are Polaroid cameras and Instax by Fujifilm. Vintage Polaroid cameras can be found in many thrift stores as well as through online retailers, but they are generally expensive due to their vintage nature and the fact that Polaroid cameras and Polaroid film is regarded as the best by many.
Fujifilm, on the other hand, makes a number of Instax models. These Fujifilm Instax cameras are some of the best you can buy today, as they are still being produced in large quantities with new features. Instax film is also being sold similarly directly via Fujifilm. When you buy a Fujifilm Instax, like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 or Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, you are sure to be getting a high quality and easy-to-use instant camera. But whether you buy a Polaroid or Instax camera, you are guaranteed a unique experience that you can’t get with a DSLR.
Popular Camera Models and Instant Film for Polaroid Pictures
Let’s take a look at some of the best Polaroid and Instax cameras you can look at in order to figure out which is the best Polaroid camera for your needs. An Instax camera, as we mentioned, will be available more easily but Polaroid cameras are also pretty great at what they do. You could also give a try to a Polaroid printer but looking for a proper Polaroid instant camera will be worth it.
With that said, here are the top Polaroid and Instax cameras you should consider. First, let’s take a look at a couple of Instax camera models and then we’ll move on to a couple from Polaroid.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8/Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
If you’re looking for an affordable way to take Polaroid pictures, the Fujifilm Instax Mini is a great choice. With the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, you’ll be able to print out instant photos onto Instax film by the same company, using its intuitive controls and features like additional shooting modes and a mirror designed for taking selfies. So, if you’ve ever wanted to take a Polaroid picture of yourself, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is the best Polaroid camera for you. If you want a lightweight and simple point and shoot Fujifilm Instax camera, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a great choice. This Instax camera comes in five pastel colors and has big buttons that make using it easy and fun.
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 / 210 Fujifilm Instax Wide
Another great Polaroid instant camera that comes from the Instax line is the Fujifilm Wide. It’s a cool camera that makes great Polaroid pictures printed on Instax Wide film. It’s bigger from the Instax Mini Cameras, has a close-up lens, and two exposure compensation option that can lighten and darken the shot.
Instax Film Types
In order to take a Polaroid picture with a Fujifilm Instax camera, you need to use one of the many Fujifilm Instax films available. The Instax Mini film (White) is the size of a credit card and is designed particularly for Fujifilm Instax cameras.
Fujifilm Wide Film is twice as big as Instax Mini – 86×108mm compared to 86×54mm:
Fujifilm Wide Film is twice as big as Instax Mini – 86×108mm compared to 86×54mm. Both of these give you enough space under the printed Polaroid picture to write a caption as well.
Another great Instax film to try out is the Monochrome film designed for Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras. It’s also the size of a credit card, which makes it easy to carry in a pocket and gives you room to write captions under your Polaroid picture. There are also many other Fujifilm Instax film models available that you can use for your Fujifilm Instax Mini or any other Instax camera line, but these two are the classics you should try first.
Polaroid Originals OneStep+
If you love the Polaroid template for instant photos, then you need to get a Polaroid camera.
Polaroid also makes printers that can help you print Polaroid pictures, but a Polaroid instant camera will give you a true instant photography experience.
The first, perhaps the best Polaroid camera, that you should consider is the Polaroid Originals OneStep+. This camera marked the re-entry of Polaroid film cameras into the market after the company stopped making them for some time. The OneStep+ stands out among other Polaroid instant camera models because it allows you to do things like double exposure and gives you full manual control, something that many Fujifilm Instax models can’t do.
If you like the idea of using a modern Polaroid printer but want a full Polaroid instant camera, then the Z2300 is the best Polaroid camera you can buy to have the best of both instant and digital photography. This camera takes the Polaroid template and adds modern features like an LCD screen and memory that can be extended. With this, you can also review your photos within the camera before decided which ones to print out on your Polaroid camera film. That way, every Polaroid picture you take is one that you’re sure about printing out.
Polaroid Camera Film Types
The Color 600 is a classic Polaroid film that is known for its rich colors and texture. Just like films from the Fujifilm Instax line, this also gives you the iconic white border where you could write down the date or the location of the photo taken. This Polaroid film works with Polaroid 600 and i-Type Polaroid instant camera models.
Another great film to try is the Polaroid ZINK Photo Paper. Using this film in a Polaroid camera is perhaps the best way to take a Polaroid picture because the paper is eco-friendly as well as smudge-proof. It comes in different sizes so you can be sure that it’ll work with your Polaroid instant camera if it’s one of the modern, digital ones.
And with that, we conclude our list of the top Fujifilm Instax and Polaroid camera models you can get. With Fujifilm Instax, you can be sure that you’ll get an easy to use, fun-looking camera that is widely available and has a lot of film available for it. A model from Polaroid might be a little more expensive to get but many people prefer it over Fujifilm Instax due to the long history of the company. But whether you choose a Fujifilm Instax camera or one from Polaroid, or another brand, you’re sure to have a lot of fun shooting with it.