Last updated: August 29, 2021

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The first polaroid camera called the the 95 Land Camera model - dates back to 1948.  Since then generations of instant cameras have emerged and fallen in use. However, polaroid cameras have remained popular throughout.

There is nothing quite like being able to take a picture and right after have a physical copy of it in your hands. That said, finding the best polaroid camera is not easy as there are several factors to consider before deciding on 'the one.' To help you figure out which polaroid camera is best for you, we have prepared the following guide.




Summary

  • There are several digital and hybrid cameras available. However, many photographers prefer polaroid cameras that create photos immediately, without the opportunity to edit.
  • The most recognized polaroid cameras currently on the market are Fujifilm and Polaroid. Leica and Lomography are also brands that have been increasingly gaining popularity.
  • You can use polaroid cameras to capture life's moments and give someone the picture to take with them in their hand. Polaroid cameras can also be used to teach children about photography.

The best polaroid cameras: Our Picks

In the following section we present the top five best polaroid cameras available on the market.  All the polaroid cameras on our list have been selected due to their compelling features and affordability.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about polaroid cameras

For anyone seeking a polaroid camera, there are several options on the market at the moment -  each with its own set of features. Here, we examine the most frequently asked questions regarding polaroid cameras.

Smiling attractive woman with a red polaroid indoors

Instant cameras allow you to take pictures and receive a physical printout immediately. (Source: deklofenak: 99711613/ 123rf.com)

What is a polaroid camera exactly?

Polaroid cameras, also commonly known as instant cameras, enable you to take and create tangible pictures instantly.  They use photographic film to create a single image.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of polaroid cameras?

The key strength of polaroid cameras is that they provide you with the ability to take a picture and get a physical photo instantly. This type of photography is unique since it makes the picture more tangible and real. The following table highlight the advantages and disadvantages of polaroid cameras.

Advantages
  • They allow you to receive the physical photograph instantly
  • They usually are not expensive
  • They are very easy to use
Disadvantages
  • You need to buy photographic paper from time to time that can be expensive
  • Analog models do not allow the possibility to edit the photo prior to printing
  • Most polaroid cameras do not have rechargeable batteries

What are most common uses for a polaroid camera?

Polaroid cameras can be used for travel pics. They can also be used at parties and weddings.  Basically they are great for settings where it would be fun to offer your friends a physical souvenir of themselves.

Another possible use is for photography education. Children are delighted when can take a picture and right after get to see the picture materialize in their hand.  Some polaroid camera models have been designed especially for children.

Who should buy a polaroid camera?

Polaroid cameras are best suited for anyone who wants to capture unique moments and create an immediate souvenir  of them. Children love them. And they are especially popular for photographers working on weddings and birthdays.

What types of polaroid cameras are there?

Polaroid cameras can basically be classified into two main groups: digital and analog.  Digital polaroid cameras let you edit photos prior to printing. Traditional analog polaroid cameras give you an un-edited experience.

Type Features Product
Digital Give you the ability to take pictures and decide when you want to print them. They allow you to edit or crop your photos. You can take many of photos and only print the ones you want
Analog Photos are developed immediately after they are taken. Photos cannot be edited. The traditional art of photography is retained

How does a polaroid camera work?

For analog polaroid cameras, light enters the camera through the lens and is captured on film. The camera then prints and releases the picture using its internal printing technology.

Couple printing a photo on instant camera

Instant cameras can include either rechargeable or AA batteries. (Source: Rawpixel: 76171246/ 123rf.com)

What are the most common errors when using polaroid cameras?

A common error is forgetting to remove the lens cover before using the camera. Another error is shaking the photo after taking it. Despite what most people think, shaking the photo doesn't develop the image faster. It is best to wait for it to dry itself.

It is also common that people don't use the camera settings to optimize the picture and as a result they don't get the most out of their camera. Finally, people often ignore reading the operating manual.

Gavin StokerDigital Camera World
"Generally speaking you don’t want to be standing more than five or six feet away from your subject – unless you’re trying to squeeze a landscape or piece of architecture into the frame".

Where can I buy photographic paper for polaroid cameras?

Getting photographic paper might be one of the concerns you have. However, finding photographic paper is easy.   You can find it in photography stores and large supermarkets and obviously on Amazon. The extensive networks of brands like Fujifilm ensures that you can buy photographic paper all over the world.

Shopping Criteria

It is a good idea to think about several criteria before making your decision. We've selected the criteria that we consider most important. We hope that this will help when choosing a polaroid camera that best suits you.

Use

The type of polaroid camera you will want will vary depending on if you will use it for traveling or for events. If you prefer a high level performance camera, consider the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 or the Polaroid Snap Touch.

The Instax Mini 90 is also a great option if you want to take pictures at events.  For kids - we recommend the Kodak PRINTOMATIC or even the Polaroid Snap Touch.

Camera and photos of India

You won't need the same type of camera for traveling as you do to take snapshots at a wedding or birthday (Source: Marina Pissarova: 42213967/ 123rf.com)

Design

Polaroid cameras can also be differentiated through their design. There are those with a vintage look or others with more classic designs.  If you prefer a polaroid camera with modern design, the Instax Mini 70 is a great choice, meanwhile a camera specially designed for children is the Hello Kitty camera by Fujifilm. Most manufacturers offer a variety of colors.

Size of photos and photographic paper

When buying a polaroid camera, consider the photo sizes you want. Each camera uses a specific size which will determines the photo paper you'll need.

Fuji sells paper in three different formats: Instax Mini (54 mm x 86 mm), Instax Square (86 mm x 72 mm) and Instax Wide (108 mm x 86 mm). The latter is also used by some Lomography models. Another size you can find is the 50 x 76 mm Polaroid.  The most famous photo size is from Polaroid - its iconic square format.

Battery

Instant camera batteries can be rechargeable or consist of AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are more economical and better for the environment.

Additional functionalities

Another question to consider is what other features the camera has. There are cameras that offer multiple exposures, filter options and interchangeable lenses. The Lomo'Instant Wide is an excellent choice due to all the extra features it offers.

Brand

When choosing any type of camera, look for a brand that has extensive history. With polaroid cameras, the most famous brand is Polaroid.  However, Polaroid is not the only option on the market. Fujifilm is an excellent brand with the and the largest variety. Leica or Lomography also have high brand recognition.

Summary

Polaroid cameras have stayed popular even as digital phones have gone mainstream. They are popular with hipsters and adolescents alike. Polaroid cameras can serve as a great birthday present as well as for saving unique moments and teaching children about photography.

Choosing the right model is not hard if you consider basic purchase criteria, as discussed in this article. Consider the use of the camera, design and which brands you trust.

If this guide has helped you, please feel free to leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.

(Source of featured image: Rawpixel: 77924245/ 123rf.com)

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