We've spent a lot of time testing and reviewing the best digital camera this year. And as much as we love high-end photography tools, we also dig the old-school instant camera. Today's best instant cameras are small in size and big on picture quality. So, what's the best instant camera your money can buy? These are the models we recommend.
Colorful, affordable, and reliable
Small, colorful, lightweight, and easy to use, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a solid option if you're looking for an instant film camera with style. This little device runs on two AA batteries and is compatible with Fujifilm Instax Mini film. There's a one-touch selfie mode, built-in macro mode, and an automatically adjusting shutter that gives you a perfect photo every time.
A slim, fun 10-megapixel point-and-shoot camera from a company that knows cameras. This offering from Kodak has a fixed f/2 lens for wide-angle and close-up shots. High-quality color and black and white photos slide out of the camera's side for on-the-go shooting and printing. The updated design is sleek and available in six colors. You can even grab a specialized camera case for the Printomatic.
Polaroid printing perfection
This fresh take on a classic looks like something your grandparents used, but it has a ton of new bells and whistles under the hood. The Polaroid Originals Now I-Type comes in 10 fun colors, has a fast autofocus system, and prints come out in sharp, vivid color with lots of detail. All-new this year, this boxy instant camera comes equipped with dual lenses, a digital photo counter, and a flash system that works even in the dark.
A hybrid for perfectionists
The elegant-looking Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay captures photos and sounds. The onboard LCD gives you the chance to preview photos and add filters before printing. Printing time is only 12-seconds, so you can take back-to-back pictures and never miss a moment.
The Kodak Smile will have you grinning from ear to ear as you snap selfies, pics of family and friends, and print them out on sticky-backed paper. The Smile slides open and closed, making it super small and portable. The camera is rechargeable, too — yay for never running out of batteries again. The back of the Smile has a color LCD to help you grab the perfect snapshots.
Print and shoot in an instant
It's an analog instant film camera with a twist. This colorful update on your parents' film camera charges via USB and uses Polaroid 600 or i-Type film. With a self-timer inside and automatic shutter speeds, you can point and shoot self-portraits or family photos in seconds.
Wider than your average film
Most modern film comes in the smaller, rectangular format, but the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera takes printed photos to a whole new level! This instant camera allows for light and dark control to help you take the perfect picture and prints out on 3.38-by-4.24-inch film. You can also buy color and monochrome film.
Easy to use
Our review of the Polaroid Now left us with warm fuzzing, extolling the virtues of its excellent battery life and easy to use interface. This affordable instant camera looks old school, and, in some ways, it is. It won't integrate with your portables, but it takes a darn good photo.
Film meets square
You might not be a square, but the film from the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Instant Film Camera sure is. This innovative camera uses a square style film and auto-exposure control for a truly fantastic photography experience. The camera has a selfie mirror and also comes with three color flash filters: orange, purple, and green.
Print from your smartphone
There are times when it's inconvenient to carry an extra camera, and that's when you want the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link. This smart unit made it onto our list of the best iPhone photography printers this year for its ease of use and small size. Connect your iPhone via Bluetooth, and you can instantly print up to 100 photos at a time. This kit comes with the Mini Link printer, 20 sheets of printer paper, stickers, and a cleaning cloth.
Comes with a selfie mirror
We're big fans of Canon digital cameras and the IVY CLIQ+2 from Canon also gets high marks from us. This slim instant camera prints 2x3 sticky-backed photos, comes with an LED ring light, and has a two-inch selfie mirror. Built-in Bluetooth connects the camera to your phone, so you can edit, filter, and print your best work.
The perfect square
If you want a genuinely retro-looking camera, we love the Kodak Mini Shot 3. This cool square camera prints out 3x3-inch photos in layers of ribbon, all with a laminated finish. You can even use it to print photos from your smartphone over Bluetooth. If you want something unique, this is the best instant camera for you.
If you want our recommendation
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Your new iPhone takes remarkable photos, but sometimes you want something a little different. There's no replacement for film cameras. We love the price point, quality, and bright colors the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 instant camera provides. It gives you the best of all worlds when it comes to instant printing.
The Polaroid Originals Now I-Type is the best instant camera for the whole family. It has blazing fast autofocus, can take double exposure shots, and is available in 10 colors.
If money is your driving factor, you'll save a few bucks and still get a top-notch instant camera with the Kodak Printomatic. It's a point-and-shoot model with an impressive sensor and a wide-angle f/2 lens. It's pocketable and prints fast to boot.