If you throw parties or attend parties often, then getting one of these instant cameras will make your parties more fun. I love getting my photos printed on the spot, and those memories last longer than taking pictures on your phone. I personally value physical photos way more than digital ones, so I decided to write this article and recommend some of the best instant cameras out there.
1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The winner of our best instant cameras list is definitely the Instax Mini 9. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is on top of the best instant cameras list because it is the absolute best when you take into consideration its ease of use, its low price, and without features that will just ruin this simple and innocent experience. It delivers low fidelity aesthetics perfectly with modern technology and its simplicity and attractiveness in the Clodydesign are unmatched by any other company.
It has the bubbly and toy-like design that the aforementioned mini 8 has but it doesn’t feel cheap at all. It is lightweight and easy to carry but feels substantial simultaneously, a feature that only a quality product consists. The grip is very well shaped and you can easily operate it with one hand thanks to it, and it also has a mirror that can be used for selfies. Everything else about the design is mentioned and talked about in the Mini 8.
The majority of the instant cameras work hard to recreate that retro look with less saturation and blur, that looks outlandish. However, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 wanders away from that theory and delivers true-to-life photos with precise colors, while still maintaining that low fidelity vibe, and if you get the exposure correct you will get amazingly detailed photos with popping colors that carry on that vintage vibe that many seek.
The focus is accurate 95% of the times if the subject is farther than 2meters, it is a little more inconsistent in close-ups. The metering system works very well and provides you accurate feedback, some users are concerned with the always-on flash and I think that it would be better to have the option to turn it off. Besides that, the camera has literally every feature that you need and nothing you don’t, the most fool-proof camera that you can find on the market.
The output quality of the printed photos is remarkable, the camera overall provides amazing credit-card sized photos that are excellent for parties or capturing nice moments with loved ones and friends.
If you choose to buy it, you will fall in love with the Instax Mini 9, the experience is really not comparable to any other instant camera.
2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is an instant camera that is as simple as it gets, it looks like a 60s toy camera and has an interesting appeal to it, and it provides great instant photos that you can get from the Polaroid cameras. It will make a common appearance in all the parties, BBQs and your kid’s school events, it is one of the best sources of memory that you can have.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is available in five colors which consist of white, blue, pink, yellow, and black. When you first look at this machine you will think of this as a child’s toy with its matte plastic finish, the huge lens size and oversized buttons. Despite being such a bulky device it weighs just 307grams, however, it is not pocketable and you have to either carry it in your neck all day or in a bag.
On the front there is a button that is used to turn on the camera and extend the large lens, there is also a brightness adjustment dial that is located around the lens. On the hand grip, you can find the shutter button and the viewfinder and right there you can also locate the flash which cannot be turned off.
This instant camera takes its power from two AA batteries and this makes it a true analog camera. This camera has five various exposure levels that you can choose from depending on the ambient and preference, there is the Indoors mode, Night mode, Cloudy or Shade mode, Sunny or Slightly Cloudy mode, and the Sunny and Bright mode. On top of that, you have the High Key mode that helps you shoot photos with extraordinary amounts of brightness and muted atmosphere.
However, you will not find autofocus on the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, the shooting range is from 0.6meters to 2.7meters this means that you have to get very close to shoot decent photos.
To take photos just set the adequate exposure level, and just shoot the photo, it is that simple. It is really fun to take photos, and even if you do not get the picture right you have just wasted a film, no worries.
3. Leica Sofort
The experience you get from an instant camera is something different, it is not about getting the perfect shot with the best detail and so forth, it is all about the moment, and the Leica Sofort provides that at its best. It may have a premium price point but the critics and buyers love it, the Sofort which in German means Instant is an awesome camera that captures awesome memories.
It has a very classy look that has an interesting vibe to it, it is retro and futuristic at the same time. It uses Instax Mini film, and it is almost the same as other instant cameras, except the German touch of conservativeness and elegance, it will look very good hanging from your neck. The white finish on the camera looks pretty good and refreshing, of course, the German design costs a ton up front and lot more per shot over time, but this instant camera is a hobby item, and generally, hobbies cost a lot today.
You will be pleased by its ease of use and its fully automatic point-and-shoot nature, naturally, it offers some kind of control for shooting, you have control over the flash, you can activate the macro mode for close-ups, and you can take great selfies thanks to its built-in mirror that is just perfect, it even has a timer that you can set to take group photos and such, it is really the most complete package that you may get from an instant camera.
It is also worth mentioning the bulb mode for long exposure shots that you can activate, just press the shutter button for as long as you get your desired blur and abstract photo.
The camera is very well built overall and has used quality parts all around, meaning that it will last you for a long time. You can control the focus from the ring around the lens and it has a good focusing range, unlike other instant cameras. The image quality from the camera is very good and has the retro 80s vibes scattered all over, you will wish you had this camera a long time ago.
4. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is an instant camera that shoots Instax Wide film and offers focus control and a lot of exposure control, but no real flash control. But overall the camera makes sense it is very simple to focus and shoot, the build quality is nice and provides awesome grip, and offers awesome Instax Wide photos. It is one of the most advanced in its category and will provide you tons of fun in the process.
The camera has a two-tone black and silver color scheme and has ditched its predecessors curvy and bubbly design, to make space for a sharper look that resembles is inspired by the 80s and 90s boxy designs. However, the design does not look really good, it has a really ergonomic look and I think that function was the primary concern of the designers, and the camera is really comfortable to hold in a secure grip and to use its settings simultaneously.
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300, in its tray, holds 10 shots of Instax Wide instant film at maximum capacity, and it is pretty easy to load it, just open the back panel and put the film in, foolproof. The camera is large and when you power it on the lens extends significantly, and there is a ring on it from which you can select one of the three focusing distances. On the top left of the camera, you can locate the optical viewfinder, which does a pretty good job, the hand grip houses the battery compartment.
I would say that all instant cameras are great party cameras because they provide so much fun and instant memories, especially the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 because of its ease of use, just press the shutter button to take a picture, the bright flash provides that retro looking low-resolution shots that are pretty cool in my opinion.
Also, it is worth stating that the cameras metering system works pretty well and provides good and aesthetic image quality overall.
If the low fidelity retro looks are your thing and want to have a blast at your next house-party the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is one of the best instant cameras.
5. Kodak Printomatic
We are going to start our best instant cameras list with a product from Kodak. In recent years we have seen instant-film retro cameras making a comeback, and manufacturers want to seize this opportunity. Kodak has produced a nice and affordable instant camera that provides decent digital and physical photos, with good quality, a really quality model that provides tons of value thanks to its user-friendly features, the Kodak PRINTOMATIC.
The PRINTOMATIC has a yellow and white body with a large black circle on the middle of the front part, that also houses the lens, it has a classic Kodak look to it due to its color. With its small size and light-weight, the camera is very portable and it can easily fit in your pocket. On top of the device, there is the white shutter button and a slider that allows you to change between color and black-and-white photos, on the bottom, there is the microSD slot and the micro USB port for charging the camera.
Kodak’s PRINTOMATIC uses Zink paper for printing, the camera prints the photos via a temperature activation, not like the more standard models that use chemicals and light, this result in washed-out quality in photos that look a little too retro for my liking. The size of the paper is 2×3-inch and are generally okay, with a lack o saturation in general, it is recommended to leave a little space on the viewfinder for the subject because it tends to crop it a little too narrowly.
When you transfer your photos to your computer you will notice that the results were pretty good and sharp in general thanks to its 3680×2760 resolution. Besides the sharp details, the colors were decent but the lack of saturation was still apparent. The camera was pretty good outdoors and in good light conditions, but it suffered in dimmer ambients where it decreased the shutter speed to get a better image and the result images were washed out.
It is a really affordable model that provides a good retro experience, and it is a nice idea to gift it to someone or if your child is interested in photography, with its value it is still a bargain.