If you’re tired of cramming your phone with selfies, there’s a world of lo-fi film photography that fills the void while still satiating your urge for instant gratification.
Instant film cameras shirk the darkroom, and offer a quick and easy way to print and actually share your snaps in a tangible way. We’ve compiled some of the best instant camera offerings on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Whichever model you decide to go with, just remember not to shake your Polaroid pictures, no matter what OutKast says.
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Fujifilm Instax has packaged several modern day features into a retro styled instant camera through its Mini 90 model. The camera offers several modes that can better expose backgrounds, capture fast-moving subjects and keep everything in focus with its infinity focus. For those looking to go beyond what the entry-level Mini 11 offers, the Mini 90 gives you several avenues to wander down.
Fujifilm Instax’s budget option comes at a price tag far below others on this list. The simplicity of this instant camera is the main draw with just the singular shutter button and option to easily shift to a selfie mode. This straightforward camera is a great way to dip your toes into instant film but can fall short when looking at its depth of features.
If you’re looking for more control when it comes to instant film photography, the Polaroid Now+ gives you full manual control of exposure through its companion mobile app. The app lets you adjust shutter speed, aperture and flash and gives you the ability to shoot double exposures and long exposures. You can also just treat the Now+ as a simple point-and-shoot Polaroid without the app as it also has two lenses that are automatically selected depending on your focus point.
This hybrid instant camera might irk some of the purists of the lomography community, but the SQ20 allows for shooting without film loaded into the camera and offers an in-device preview and edit capability before printing. The digital side of the camera also lets you shoot a 15-second video to select a specific frame to print. The SQ20 also has the ability to 4x zoom and apply 16 filters to your “hybrid” shot.
The Lomo’Instant Automat Glass is built with a wide-angle glass lens like its name suggests. The real glass lens detracts from the oftentimes imperfect shots of instant film, but allows it to capture crisp high-quality details especially for landscapes. The lens also can open up to f/4.5, allowing it to shoot well in low-light situations without having to resort to using flash.
If you’re looking for more frame to fill than what’s offered with the Instax mini film, the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 can probably fit that landscape shot you’re eyeing up. The camera prints a shot that’s double the width of the traditional Instax Mini film and better suits landscapes and group shots. But the Wide 300 also comes in at roughly two times the weight of most Mini cameras.
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 offers the goldilocks size in between the Instax Wide and Mini films. The square format of the camera and film is reminiscent of the days when Instagram only allowed square photo uploads. Unlike the more streamlined SQ1, the SQ6 offers a bunch of shooting options like double-exposure, macro mode and landscape mode.