Our 2020 picks for the best overall instant cameras.

Updated: Sep 22

With so many options for digital photography, there is one breed of camera that produces real tangible prints, that you can, almost instantly, hold in your hand.


Venturing back to the classic Polaroid film cameras you may remember from your childhood, over the past couple years these have been brought back to life. The convenience of having a tangible photo in seconds is a great feeling, and is great to share. Beautiful printed photos on film, will always have that extra 'retro' feel and will carry more weight than a photo you might find in a quick text, email, or on a social feed.


Here are our Top 5 best instant cameras from 2020. Just click the photos for more.


1. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Fujifilm's square Instax is undoubtedly the best instant camera


SPECS

Lens: 65.75mm, 1:12.6

Film Type: Instax Square

Viewfinder: Small optical viewfinder

Monitor: Basic settings display


THE GOODS

• Large square film

• Looks great with many colour options

• Easy and fun to use

The Instax Square SQ6 from Fujifilm is our favourite instant camera, it's stylish, with a perfect mix of modern and retro looks, simple to use, and produces large square images that just feel right.

The camera comes with host of creative shooting modes (including automatic, selfie, macro and landscape modes) and even coloured flash filters. If you want a bit more creative control, you can choose to manually adjust exposure yourself with Lighten and Darken modes, or even create a Double Exposure to super-impose two images into one.

This simplicity adds to the fun of the device – just snap away and let the camera pump out reliably pleasing images. You'll be thankful for that reliability, because Square Instax film is almost double the price of the Mini version, so you won't want to waste film.

Although the cost of film is a little on the high side, the cost of the camera is not, with an RRP of just £125 / $150, making it pretty affordable in our eyes.


2. Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay

The ultimate hybrid instant camera


SPECS

Lens: 28mm equivalent

Film Type: Instax Mini

Viewfinder: None

Monitor: 2.7-in. TFT color LCD monitor


THE GOODS

• You can review your shots

• Compact

• Printing from smartphone

• Print quality


We love the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay (pronounced “Lee-Play”). It's an all-new generation of hybrid instant camera, taking the best from instant photography, and the best from digital photography.

It's the smallest and most lightweight hybrid instant camera in the brand’s history, and uses a 2.7-inch display to show you exactly how your print will turn out. This is great, because it allows you to perfectly frame a scene and check the lighting is on point before you print, saving film and money (although, it does take the unpredictable spontaneity out of instant photography).

The LiPlay also includes a unique new “Sound” function, which allows you to play a voice message or personalised audio through a unique QR code embedded in the instant Instax Mini print, and a “Direct Print” function, which lets you print images stored in a smartphone. We tried it and it works flawlessly.

You can also choose between thirty frames to liven up your image, and there's a new “Remote Shooting” function, which allows you to take photos while standing away from your camera using your smartphone as a remote.

The camera body boasts a streamlined, stylish design, and choice of three colourways, Stone White, Elegant Black and Blush Gold. Each of the three colour variants has an individual surface finish creating interesting texture details.


3. Polaroid Originals OneStep 2

A step back in time with this retro inspired Polaroid Originals


SPECS

Lens: Film Type: Polaroid Originals 600 Film

Viewfinder: Simple optical finder

Monitor: : N/A


THE GOODS

• Different film packs available

• Retro styling


Poloroid Originals OneStep goes back to the classic Polaroids that many of us fondly remember. Except now it has some modern twists, such as a USB port for charging the battery. While the outlay for this camera is pretty cheap, Polaroid Originals film certainly isn’t - and it almost feels like you’re being charged for the privilege of unpredictability and instability.

Some may say that’s part of the charm, but be prepared to part with some serious cash as you learn about the quirks of a camera like this. Worth it though, for the quirky shots it’s capable of producing - as well as the nostalgia holding one of these in your hands provides. Pick up the different coloured film packs (including gold, silver and bright colours) to add even more fun.


4. Leica SOFORT

Leica’s first (and only) instant camera is a “budget” way to own a prestige camera


SPECS

Lens: 34mm equivalent, f/12.7

Film Type: Instax Mini

Viewfinder: Small optical viewfinder

Monitor: Basic settings display


THE GOODS

• Attractive design

• Affordable


If your dream of owning a Leica SOFORT stops short whenever you see the associated price tag, the SOFORT could be the one for you. Available for around £220 / $250, this is a bargain-basement price to pay for the prestigious red dot. It’s actually also a neat and fun little device, which uses the miniature Instax format, which is roughly credit card sized.

There’s no monitor to frame your shots, but you do get a basic viewfinder, and a display which tells you which mode you’re in, how many shots you’ve got left and so on. You take a gamble when there’s no screen as to how your shot is going to come out (and sometimes the results will be a little mixed) - but isn’t that part of the fun?



5. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

This bubblegum toy camera is a fun and frivolous instant option


SPECS

Lens: 60mm (roughly equivalent to 35mm) f/12.7

Film Type: Instax Mini

Viewfinder: “Real Image Finder”

Monitor: N/A


THE GOODS

• Cheap+Easy to use

• Customisable shutter button

• Automatic exposure


Available in an array of suitably pastel colours, the Instax Mini 11 is a fun way to liven up a party. It accepts the teeny tiny Instax Mini film, which arguably is a little gimmicky, but never the less fun for producing keepsakes from special events – we’ve often seen these cameras lying around on wedding tables.

There’s no monitor here, so the results are a little unpredictable, and you’re definitely going to need the flash when shooting indoors – but it’s certainly quirkier than using your phone to take snaps. One of the biggest selling points here is both the affordability of the camera and the associated film – pick one up on a whim, even if it doesn’t get too many outings.

This recently released model comes with customisable shutter buttons, automatic exposure and an instant selfie mode, making it the most stylish and portable release yet.

#instantcamers #topinstantcamera #instaxmini #instaphotos #filmphotos



Article first seen here.