The best instant cameras

Snap happy: The best instant cameras

25 Apr 2024 | |By Hitanshi Kamdar

Easy-to-use and portable, these instant cameras are perfect for going analogue

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Everything millennials once deemed uncool, Gen Z is slowly resurrecting. While we might still be on the fence about the unstoppable rise of Y2K fashion, the growing popularity of going analogue is undeniably appealing. The ease of a Google calendar pales in comparison to the romance of a handwritten diary and perfect smartphone pictures can’t capture a moment as aesthetically or authentically as an analogue camera can. That said, a film camera’s slow processing time isn’t for everyone. So why not consider one of the best instant cameras on the market to upgrade your photography skills?

There’s something magically vintage about instant cameras, while still being convenient. With the click of a button, you can capture a moment and see it in hard copy mere minutes later. Sure, the pictures may sometimes be slightly blurry or underexposed, but in an era where natural, unfiltered snaps are taking over social media and flawless edited images are deemed passé, these retro captures are highly appealing.

Whether you’ve been seduced by the resurgence of analogue media and want to add an instant camera to your daily life or are looking for a unique way to capture a special occasion, here’s the lowdown on the best instant cameras in the business.

Polaroid Go Generation 2

Polaroid’s legacy and market dominance has made the brand name synonymous with instant cameras. The latest addition to the Polaroid family is the Polaroid Go Generation 2 – the world’s smallest instant camera. Easily fitting in the palm of your hand, the Polaroid Go is a portable and lightweight model which boasts a plethora of cool features. With a wide aperture range, precise light sensor and optimal exposure settings guaranteeing those clear retro shots you’d expect from Polaroid, this camera also comes with a built-in selfie mirror and a self-timer. The shrunken model is also crafted with 30 per cent recycled materials and can be charged with a USB-C cable, meaning no more pesky AA batteries. The only downside is that the compatible film is also smaller than most, resulting in tinier prints.

Film: Polaroid Go film (66.6 x 53.9mm)
Lens: Aperture – f9 and f42, focal length – 51.1mm
Charging method: USB-C

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12

The most ubiquitous instant camera, Fujifilms’s Instax Mini 12 is as easy as it comes. The ultimate point-and-shoot camera, it has automatic exposure and flash control, in addition to a simple on and off twist feature so your images will be true to life even in inexperienced hands. The camera also has a dedicated selfie-mirror and a close-up mode for clearer images. While the retro prints are aesthetically pleasing and print in just 5 seconds, the camera itself is also rendered in attractive pastel hues, making it more accessory than mere instant camera.

Film: Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant colour film (54 x 86mm)
Lens: Aperture - f12.7, focal length - 60mm
Charging method: AA batteries

Polaroid Now+ Generation 2

Bulkier than most models on this list, the Polaroid Now+ is a great mix of retro design and modern features. The camera features Bluetooth support and a corresponding app which offers several creative controls, including aperture priority self-timer, manual mode, and light painting. Plus, you can also insert detachable coloured lens filters to customise your photos. While the camera isn’t the most easily portable option, it does come with a tripod mount and produces dreamy vintage shots.

Film: Polaroid i-type film (107 x 88 mm), Polaroid 600 film (107 x 88 mm)
Lens: Standard lens focal length - 40mm, close-up lens focal length - 35mm
Charging method: USB-C

Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro instant camera

Part digital camera, part instant camera, Kodak’s Mini Shot 3 Retro instant camera lets you shoot, view, and print pictures in one piece of kit. As well as letting you view and pick the images before they’re printed, the camera comes with a companion app that lets you print cute square pictures right from your smartphone. The app also lends the camera a fun Snapchat-like quality with a myriad of filters, frames, stickers, and even a blemish concealing feature. While the photo quality can be noticeably lower than others on this list, given the lower cost of the film and the fun additions, it is sure to be a hit at parties.

Film: Kodak Instant print (76.2 x 76.2mm)
Charging method: Micro USB

Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

The Instax Mini Evo is a great premium instant camera option. Designed to resemble a vintage film camera, the hybrid model boasts a full-colour three inch LCD screen along with a lever mechanism to print your chosen images and avoid wasting film on bad pictures. The in-built memory stores up to 45 images to print later while the Mini Evo can also be connected to your phone to print snaps from your photo gallery. The camera features multiple lens options and filters for added creativity while the Fujifilm app lets you take remote shots (perfect for selfie fans).

Film: Instax Mini (54 x 86mm)
Lens: 28mm
Charging method: USB-C

Leica Sofort 2 hybrid instant camera

Another great hybrid option, Leica’s Sofort 2 is a masterclass in chic design. The compact rectangular model pairs with a smartphone app to print images from the phone gallery in addition to select picks taken by the camera. The app also provides 10 film and lens effects for additional artistic touches to your photographs. With an easy to navigate user interface and a stylish minimalist design, this is a great option for snapping on the go.

Film: Instax Mini (54 x 86mm)
Lens: 28mm
Charging method: USB

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