The Best Instant Camera for Beginners in 2017 + Bonus Products

By Andy Stone | Outdoors

Nov 15
best instant camera in 2017

Introduction

Taking high-quality pictures and watching them develop in front of your eyes in a matter of seconds feels whimsical. But to take high-quality pictures, you need the best instant camera in 2017 for beginners, which has an in-camera printer and, ideally, an affordable instant camera film.

With dozens of brands and hundreds of products, choosing the right camera can be a hassle. From searching products to reading reviews to comparing features and prices, it can take forever, and still you might end up choosing a camera that doesn’t suit your style.

To solve this issue, after comprehensive research and effort, we’ve compiled a list of the top cameras. One of these can be the best instant camera for you.

Product

Feature

Price

Rating

Larger Picture

$$

Impossible Project I-1 Analog Instant Camera - Best Classic Instant Camera

Larger Picture, Phone App

$$$

Adjustable Focus

$

Flash Adjustment

$

Fujifilm INSTAX Mini 8 Instant Camera - Best Budget Instant Camera

Light Weight, Automatic Exposure

$​

Memory Capability

$

10MP Camera, Store Picture

$$

Multi Settings, Best Quality Image

$$

Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer - Best Phone Printer

Edit, Save, Print, Bluetooth Connection

$$

The Prynt Case - Best Case Printer

Picture To Video

$$

$ below $100 / $$ between $100-$200  / $$$ over $200

Reviews of The Eight Best Instant Cameras

8. Polaroid One Step Silver Express Instant 600 Camera

Polaroid P-Cam Original Limited Edition

The Polaroid One Step Silver Express Instant 600 Camera looks like the old Polaroid camera in a new body. It has two switchable lenses and folds down like the old Polaroid. It yields a 3 x 3-inch print.

The Polaroid One Step Silver Express Instant 600 Camera has a built-in flash, however, it’s not adjustable. It measures 4 ½ x 6 x 6 inches, and weighs 1 ½ pounds. You can take pictures in color as well as black and white. It comes with a strap for convenience, and the batteries are built into the film pack.

The best feature of this camera is the ability to make a full-sized snapshot. I in our opinion, it is a little overpriced.

How To Use It

Things We Liked

  • No batteries to charge or go dead
  • Extremely easy to use, don't even need a user manual
  • Take black and white or color prints
  • Original retro polaroid in a new case

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Not very affordable
  • No customization except for the two lenses
  • Doesn't come with sample photo paper
  • Isn't for sale in the States, except as a used product

​Final Verdict 

The Polaroid OneStep 600 Express camera is bulky and retro. We have seen the original One Step and this just is no bargain. It is a little expensive and users complain about the film getting stuck, which reminds the 70s.

7- Impossible Project I-1 Analog Instant Camera - Best Classic Instant Camera

i-1 instant camera

The Impossible camera has plenty of features that make it a contender in the best instant camera with an in-camera printer contest. The appearance is that of an old-fashioned Polaroid.

It has an attached light ring on the lens that diffuses the light that works nicely on portraits. It can use two kinds of instant camera film and doesn't leave that harsh glow. You can use the Android app or the IOS app to give the pictures special effects. You can remotely use the camera, or use a timer.

The best feature is its Manual Mode. In the Manual Mode, it performs like a regular camera; you can adjust aperture, shutter speed, and flash. The Impossible Project I-1 Analog Instant Camera is a slightly more expensive for the options it has to offer.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • Offers an app that makes your phone a remote for the camera
  • A soft rubberized coating on the camera to protect it from damage
  • Allows you to store pictures on your phone
  • The film pack doesn't have a battery, so it is good for the environment.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The battery is expensive, not rechargeable, and isn’t very long lasting
  • The camera has nice accessories, but they are pricey
  • The focus is hard to get used to
  • Very steep learning curve for what should be a simple camera

​Final Verdict

The Impossible Project I-1 Analog Instant Camera has great potential. For a first edition, it has loads of features, but they are hard to learn.

The biggest issue with the camera is that it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery. On top of that, the battery life is short. Although it comes with a plethora of features which are nice to have but can be hard to learn for an amateur photographer.

6-Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera

fujifilm instax wide 300 instant film camera

The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera has a tripod mount and a wide format for taking big 3 ½ x 4 ½ sized pictures. It also has a real image finder. The lens ring dials and has a focus zone setting. It is a big camera, not a mini. It weighs 2 pounds and is 8x6x6 inches in size.

The camera comes with a macro close-up lens with a mirror to take selfies. The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera comes with 4 AA batteries and a neck strap. The best characteristic is the ability to take larger photos, compared to the mini cameras that take the business card size photos.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • Uses regular batteries
  • Takes bigger photos
  • Film is cheaper yet of high quality
  • It looks good, like a real camera, not a toy
  • The lens cover closes automatically when you turn the camera off

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The pictures aren't sharp; sometimes the color is off
  • The viewfinder is a bit off
  • There is no way to turn the flash off
  • It only works with the wide film
  • Touching the lens turns the camera on, too easy to take a photo from just a mistaken touch

Final Verdict

The modern design of this camera overcomes the plastic finish. The bigger pictures only take a little longer than the minis to develop, but they make a more satisfying shot in our opinion.

5- Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera

polaroid pic 300 instant film camera

Price: $$

Rating: 2.8/5

The Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera takes bright photos with some good lighting effects. It is a basic camera that comes with a wrist strap and 4 AA batteries. It might not be the best instant camera but offers four different lens lighting adjustments, which are more than enough for any amateur photographer.

It is lightweight (1 ½ pounds), plastic, and comes in four colors. The film is a little pricey though. Amazingly, according to the company the Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera only uses Polaroid 300 film we, however, used Fuji and it worked just fine. The best characteristic of this camera is the price point.

How to Use It​

Things We Liked

  • Inexpensive and easy to use
  • Replacement batteries are affordable
  • You just take off the lens cap to turn it on
  • To save the batteries, it turns off automatically after 5 minutes

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It did not come with any film, so you have to buy one separately
  • The colors on the photos are not consistent
  • You can't view the pictures before printing
  • No memory or digital capabilities

Final Verdict

The batteries burn through pretty fast on this camera, but they are the affordable and readily available. It is a point and shoot kind of camera, even a young child could use it. The plastic shell makes it look like a toy, there is no question this is a novelty item. We love that it only takes a minute or so for the picture to develop.

4-Fujifilm INSTAX Mini 8 Instant Camera - Best Budget Instant Camera

Fujifilm instax mini 8 Instant Film Camera

The Fujifilm INSTAX Mini 8 Instant Camera is a fun buy. It is tiny, almost like a toy like. It weighs only 15 ounces, and measures about 5" x 5" x 3". It comes in several different colors, our favorite one is the Hello Kitty option. In addition to the camera, the box also contains two AA batteries and a wrist strap.

This is a very reasonable price for what the camera is designed for. It comes with a close-up lens that snaps on. The instant camera printer with the new no-ink technology makes it very easy to use and have a physical reminder of times with friends.

This camera has an automatic exposure setting. The flashing LED light tells the user where to set the lens for the best shot. The viewfinder has been improved from the previous models and is sharper and clearer. We think the best feature is the price point.

How To Use It

Things We Liked

  • Assortment of colors adds to the fun factor
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • It’s durable. We accidently dropped it, and just the lens popped out but didn't break.
  • Automatically powers itself off after five minutes
  • Uses the regular AA batteries; easily available and affordable.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It should have included one piece of printing paper; we didn't like buying the paper just to use our camera for the first time.
  • No hole at the bottom for a tripod connection.
  • Even though the colors are varied, they look like cheap plastic novelty items
  • Doesn’t allow you to save pictures (okay, it’s an instant camera but you might still want to save some pictures in your phone)

​Final Verdict

Thanks to the ease of use, Fujifilm INSTAX Mini 8 can be the best instant camera for weddings, parties and kids. You can see the subjects but don't expect a photo similar to a regular camera. There are more accessories available, this is the bare bones camera.

3- Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera

polaroid snap instant digital camera

The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera is a good buy for the price. It is more compact than the less expensive models and has a memory capability. You can either instantly develop the photos or use it as a normal camera. It definitely has most of the desired features of the best instant camera and yet also works as a regular point and shoot camera.

The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera comes with a USB cord for charging, a rechargeable lithium battery, and a wrist strap. It weighs 14 ounces and is approximately 5x1x2 inches in size.

We like the quirky six picture mode, but the best feature is the light indicators, one for low battery, and one for the paper.

How to Use It​

Things We Liked

  • Self-timer
  • Raise the viewfinder to turn it on or off, no silly button to find
  • Rechargeable
  • It can work with a tripod
  • It has a magnetic lens cap

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Does not come with film or SD card
  • Objects in the viewfinder show up farther away than they actually are
  • When jostled, it turns on and takes a picture
  • No LCD display
  • The shutter sound is barely audible

​Final Verdict

There are aspects of this camera that are still a little "off," even though it is one of our favorite cameras on the list. Depending on the lighting, the pictures can be colored very strangely.

It will take pictures with just a little wiggle sometimes. Overall, it is good for the price because it has more features than the other cameras in the price point.

It also has black and white or color film available, plus an option for cheaper film, which is great if this is for a shutterbug. All in all, we recommend this camera for new photographers who want to test the water.

2- Polaroid Z2300 10MP Instant Digital Camera - Runner-Up

polaroid z2300 10mp digital instant print camera

The Polaroid Z2300 10MP Instant Digital Camera has so many amazing features that it had no competition to become the second best instant camera on our list.

It comes with a USB cord, four kinds of plug adapters for international travel, a wrist cord, and a sample of photo paper. It takes one rechargeable lithium battery, which is included with the purchase.

The camera takes a 32 GB SD card. It has the capacity to film a short video plus take the business card sized pictures. The total weight of the Polaroid Z2300 10MP Instant Digital Camera is ½ pound, and the size is a tiny 1 ½ x 3 x 4 ½ inches. The user has the ability to turn the flash on/off and auto.

The best feature is the ability to view the pictures before printing. The polaroid Z2300 can be worth your money because it is a digital camera that also has an in-camera printer.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • It comes with a sample of paper, you can use it immediately
  • The battery is rechargeable
  • It has memory built in
  • It comes in five different colors

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Despite being such an advanced camera, there is not Wi-Fi connectivity
  • It cannot take a bigger film for the larger pictures, but you can print from your computer/SD card
  • It doesn't print in black and white
  • You might need to lighten the pictures before printing

Final Verdict

It is fast and works good. The pictures are sharp, once you get past the learning curve. There are a few rumblings about the camera dying after a month; we suggest you buy the extended warranty. We really like the 10mp and the battery life. We took over 50 pictures and the battery was still going strong.

You can add, delete, and crop pictures, or even add special effects. The Polaroid Z2300 10MP Instant Digital Camera will also let you print three copies of the same picture, which is a nice feature, especially if you take group photos so everyone can get an instant copy.

1-Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera - Best Instant Camera

fujifilm instax mini 90 neo classic instant film camera

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera not only looks very sleek, in silver and black but is also one of the most efficient cameras available. The build quality, features, and picture quality, everything justifies for it to be the best instant camera.

The dimensions are 4 x 2 x 3 inches and it weighs ½ pound. It has a double exposure capability and a macro mode. The self-adjusting on the flash and shutter speed is pretty nifty.

But what really sets it apart?

The answer is: a plethora of amazing features.

These pictures are bright and crisp. We have no complaints about weird colors or fuzzy images.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera has the option of a vertical or a horizontal shot. It was the only instant camera that offered this feature. It was another feature we didn't realize was important until we couldn't do it.

There were very few jamming issues with the built-in printer, unlike the Polaroid cameras. There were no photos with red heads or blue skin, another complaint we often had with the Polaroid prints.

It has a kid-mode for making photos of fast moving things like pets and vehicles, and running children. It comes with a rechargeable lithium battery. It comes with a camera, strap, battery, and battery charger and user manual. The camera is made of plastic, but it doesn't feel cheap or like a toy.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera has a timer for self-portraits. However, the best features are the night photography and the double exposure.

Yes, you can expect digital quality pictures.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • The battery is rechargeable
  • It took very little time to charge the battery
  • Very easy to use
  • It can take portrait and landscape photos
  • Great picture quality, the best we've seen in a mini

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It did not come with a sample of paper
  • There were a couple of paper jams
  • The view finder is a bit off

​Final Verdict

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera has a lot of fun features packed in this mini. The special effects options are easy and fun. The camera prints fast.

Unless you accidentally get a lemon, we have no real complaints. This camera is a clear winner because of the amazing pictures you can take with it.

Bonus products

Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer - Best Phone Printer

polaroid zip mobile printer w-zink zero ink printing technology

Do you want to turn your cellphone into the best instant camera ever?

If yes, we have the good news:

The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer is an amazing gadget that works as an instant mobile phone printer. It comes with free software for the Android and the IOS Smartphones, NFC, and Bluetooth.

The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer also works with tablets. It is a tiny add-on to the phone that is only 3 x 4 ½ x 1 inch in size, and weighs just 6 ounces. After charging for an hour and a half, it has enough battery to print 25 pictures.

The phone printer comes with a lithium battery that is rechargeable. It uses a micro-USB port and comes with the USB to micro-USB cable. It comes with 10 sheets of photo paper. This is a great value, well worth the money.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • Print from your phone
  • Don't need another camera because this solves the issue
  • Comes with photo paper to experiment
  • Has a fast-rechargeable battery
  • The app has lots of photo options for editing

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It won't work with the PC – that would have been an added bonus
  • The manual from Polaroid is useless
  • The Bluetooth connection kept disconnecting
  • It over colors the picture until you learn how to tweak

Final Verdict

The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer offers the best of both worlds. This is an instant phone printer that lets you choose the phone camera for your photos. Now you have the option of serious editing of your photos, or delete, or print the best. You can add all sorts of things to your photos, emojis, text, time, and date stamp, just to name a few.

The Prynt Case - Best Case Printer

prynt case printer

The Prynt case is a phone printer that is lightweight and easy to use, but this has a lot more and better options. The Prynt Case has the right idea and a very nifty hidden feature; it releases a small video with each picture that can be viewed by the recipient.

The box has the Prynt Case phone printer, the USB cable, and photo paper. It has a real instruction manual and a website for videos. It has no batteries; it can be charged directly from your computer. The app will tell you how much charge is on the Prynt Case. This is a good value for the price point and we wouldn't hesitate to buy it for a friend.

How To Use It​

Things We Liked

  • You can print photos from your phone library
  • The hidden video feature is cool, just scan the photo with the app
  • It is easy to and quick to charge

Things We Didn’t Like

  • It only fits iPhone 6/6S, iPhone 5/5S, 6Plus/6SPlus, and Samsung GalaxyS4 and S5
  • To use the video option, someone must install the Prynt app on their phone, taking up memory

Final Verdict

The video part of the photo print is just amazing. This is like having a 3D photo or a Hogwarts photo. The instructions aren't as easy to understand as one would wish. We spent the better part of the day trying to make the app work.

We understand it was "user error" but a better-written manual and clearer video would make a big difference. All in all, this is a great option for a separate camera and printer set.

Top Brand

The Fuji products won hands down the top brand category, with Polaroid as a close second. Polaroid has the experience of making an instant camera for more than 50 years. Fuji, on the other hand is the new instant camera producer. They offer a wider variety of features that are more in tune with today's market.

Fuji instant cameras are not only better in terms of design and performance, but their picture quality is also much better. Moreover, their instant camera film is more affordable, which can save you a lot in the long run.

Buying Guide and FAQ

The best instant camera will be more than just a camera and printer. But what features should it have?

Firstly, the picture quality should be good. What’s more, it should have adjustable lenses, the film should be affordable, and the battery rechargeable. Some special features like saving pictures on your phone or sharing them can be icing on the cake.

The most important factor

The most important quality is the ease of use. You should be able to take pictures instantly, or you might miss that priceless moment. But if it takes all day to figure out the dials or how to print a photo, the camera doesn't fit our criteria for the best instant camera.

The best feature worth every penny

The best feature worth paying extra for is the ability to view the photos and choose whether to print them or not. Some of the instant cameras have no photo choice’; you shoot, and it prints right away. That means the precious film will be wasted on bad shots.

Instant cameras make instant memories

instant camera

The instant camera is made for parties and special occasions where someone wants memories. Being small and compact, printing right on the spot, and delivering pictures with sticky backs is just the thing for a memory collage.

Several people take these to weddings and print photos for the newlyweds of the guests for their picture albums. We are thinking this would be a great addition to a baby shower, sneaking pictures of people oohing and ahhing over the pretty presents for the baby. The best instant camera makes candid photos that are priceless.

It all depends on the user of the instant camera

Before buying the instant camera, decide who will be the main user. The ones that cost the less look like toys and have only a few features. They look appropriate for pre-teens. The ones in the middle price range have better photography options and would be good for teens. The more expensive cameras have multi-lens options. We recommend them for adults or responsible teens.

Quality control issues are abundant

All the instant cameras can break pretty easily. We did not find even one that worked correctly all the time. Quality seems to be a serious issue with this type of camera.

Instant Camera Films

There are three major providers of the instant camera films:

All instant camera films come in the same sizes, the business card size, or the full print size. They are not priced the same, however. Some are interchangeable with the others, while others aren't.

One of the main differences is that Polaroid builds a battery into some films. The ZINK and the INSTAX can work in both Polaroids and Fuji. The Impossible instant camera film and the Polaroid film can work in the instant cameras of both of those brands.

Conclusion

In our opinion, the best instant camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera. It had the most features for the price. It makes a better-quality picture. It has extra lens options like taking night photos, macros, and double exposures. It has a bunch of features, and yet is very easy to use.

Not to mention, there are some other great options on the list too, which depending on your needs and expectations can make an ideal choice. For example, if you want to have the best of both worlds (i.e. digital and instant), or want to save pictures on your phone directly, you might have to look at some other options.

We believe the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera is the best instant camera with the best options for any amateur or moderately experience photographer who wants to capture the precious moments of their live, which otherwise will be lost forever!

Subscribe

Get Our Latest Reviews, Posts and Giveaways