Vintage retro instant photo camera
Last updated: June 22, 2020

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It has been a long time since 1948, when the first commercial polaroid camera, the 95 Land Camera model, was released. Over the seven decades since, instant cameras have gone through good and bad times. However despite the emergence of digital cameras and mobile phones, polaroid cameras remain very popular.

The uniqueness of being able to hold a photograph in your hand immediately after capturing it is priceless. However choosing the right polaroid camera is not easy as you need to consider a number of factors prior to making your purchase. To make the buying process of a polaroid camera easier for you, we have prepared the following guide.

First things first

  • The latest trend is digital and hybrid polaroid cameras that allow you to choose and edit photos before they’re printed. However many photo enthusiasts prefer to use the traditional polaroid camera that produces the photo instantaneously without the opportunity to edit.
  • The two most prestigious manufacturers of polaroid cameras are Fujifilm and Polaroid, however Leica and Lomography are also brands that have made quality polaroid cameras over the years.
  • Just like a digital camera, you can use polaroid cameras to capture memories of your travels or special moments. You can also use them at parties and special events, or even to introduce children and teenagers to the fascinating world of photography.

The best polaroid cameras on the UK market

Here’s the ranking we’ve prepared of the five best polaroid cameras available on the UK market. We have prepared a broad list by selecting products that meet the needs of many different consumers. All polaroid cameras in our list stand out for being great value for money and for being produced by recognised brands.

Instax Mini 9 Camera with 10 Shots

The Fujifilm instax mini 9 will be your new best friend, its cute, colourful and compact. It’s available in 10 different colours and comes alone or with 10, 20 or 50 shots producing instant credit card size photos.

Keeping up with current times, this camera offers a dedicated selfie mirror so you can check your framing with the mirror next to the lens. This camera automatically determines the best brightness for taking a picture and informs you of the suitable setting. It has fantastic reviews and is a great price.

Instax Mini 90 NEO Classic Camera

Again, a Fujifilm Instax which has a stylish yet classic good looks, combined with the latest feature-rich image tech. The instax mini 90 is designed to keep even the snap-happiest photo lover in seventh heaven. It offers a variety of shooting modes and enhanced creative capabilities. You can pop the mini 90 into double exposure mode, press the shutter button twice and superimpose two different images into a single artistic photo.

The instax mini film offers instant credit card-sized prints you’ll be eager to share. Available in black and brown, the sophisticated mini 90 is as striking to look at as it is easy to use.

Instax SQUARE SQ6 instant camera

The Fujifilm cameras really are top rated so here in 3rd place is another one from their range. The SQ6 is made for your everyday but turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. It is stylish looking and has easy-to-use creative modes that’ll bring out your most adventurous side every day.

Combined with a special selfie mode, which automatically adjusts the focus, you’ll never fail to capture your ‘best side’. Every shot, every moment, symmetrically captured within a neat white border.

Polaroid Originals 9008

You may have expected a Polaroid to be a bit higher on the reviews but here it is in position 4. This is a great looking camera available in black, blue and white and the ‘stranger things’ edition.  It is easy to use, just point & shoot, press the red button and magic will appear.
You can also take your photography to the next level by downloading the free Polaroid app that is compatible with iOS and Android. With the app you’ll be able to upload your arty polaroid photos directly to Instagram or Facebook to show all your friends and followers.

Fujifilm Instax SQUARE SQ10 Hybrid Instant

This Instax SQ10 is a great looking camera that has all the best Instax features, combined with a little digital wizardry to help capture yours. The the LCD screen lets you edit and apply filters before printing off your memories as awesome, retro square format prints.

If you need more storage, you can get yourself a microSD card, slot it in and stay focused in the moment for longer, before printing outrageously awesome prints. What more could you ask for in a camera.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to  know about polaroid cameras

When it comes time to buy a polaroid camera, it’s important that you learn about this type of camera in order to make an informed decision. As you most likely are aware, there are many different models of polaroid cameras, each offering different features. In this section we’re going to answer the most common questions of polaroid camera consumers.

Smiling attractive woman with a red polaroid indoors

Instant cameras are analog or digital photo devices that 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, are analog or digital photo devices that allow you to take pictures and receive a copy on photo paper almost instantly. To achieve this, they use photographic film to produce a single positive image.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of polaroid cameras?

A polaroid camera has many advantages. To start with, they provide you with almost instant access to the physical photo after you have captured it. This form of photo is special as you are able to hold the photo in your hand rather that view it on a screen, such as with a digital camera. The following table elaborates further on the advantages and disadvantages of the polaroid camera.

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?

There are many possible uses for the polaroid camera. You can use them to take photos of your travels or special moments as you would do with a digital camera. You can also use polaroid cameras at parties or events, such as weddings, where you want to offer your guests an immediate souvenir.

Another possible use of this type of camera is to introduce children to the wonders of photography. Children are usually in awe when they take a photo on a polaroid camera and have the ability to hold the physical photo in their hand immediately afterwards. In fact, there are specific polaroid camera models made for children.

Who should buy a polaroid camera?

Polaroid cameras are ideal for those who want to capture special moments on film or for those who have a general interest in photography. They are also great for children, to introduce them to the world of photography, as well as photographers working on events such as weddings or birthdays.

What types of polaroid cameras are there?

Today’s polaroid cameras can be classified into two main groups: digital and analog. There are also hybrid polaroid cameras but they are a minority. The advantage of digital polaroid cameras is that they allow you to edit your photos prior to printing. Meanwhile the traditional analog polaroid cameras guarantee a much more authentic feeling.

Product Type Features
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?

Not all polaroid cameras function the same way. Mostly it depends on whether the camera is analog or digital. For analog polaroid cameras, light enters the camera through the lens and is captured on film. The camera then prints and ejects the photo using the built-in functions is has for developing.

Couple printing a photo on instant camera

The battery of instant cameras may be rechargeable or may consist of a series of AA batteries. (Source: Rawpixel: 76171246/ 123rf.com)

What are the most common errors when using polaroid cameras?

One of the most common errors is not removing the lens protector (black protective screen) before using the camera for the first time. Another common error is shaking the physical photo after taking it. Contrary to what most people think, shaking the photo doesn’t reveal the image faster no matter how much you shake it. It is better to wait a few minutes for it to dry itself.

It is also common that people don’t use the camera settings available to them and as a result they don’t get the most out of their polaroid camera. Finally, it is also common to start using the camera without reading the instruction 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?

Continuously buying photographic paper may be one of the biggest concerns you have when considering buying a polaroid camera. However, you can rest assured that it is very easy to find photographic paper for instant cameras.

To start with, you can always buy photographic paper easily from online stores such as Amazon. You can also easily find photographic paper in all specialised photography stores and in the vast majority of large supermarkets. The extensive distribution network of brands like Fujifilm ensures that you can buy sheets of photographic paper for your polaroid camera virtually anywhere in the world.

Shopping Criteria

If you’re determined to buy a polaroid camera, it’s important that you consider a number of purchasing criteria before making your decision. To make it easy for you, we’ve selected the the criteria that we consider most important. We hope that this will serve as a useful guide for buying the polaroid camera that best suits you.

Use

You won’t need the same type of polaroid camera for travelling as you would need to take snapshots at a wedding or birthday. With this in mind, you might be more interested in an economical and easy-to-use model for travelling. Although if you prefer a camera that offers a high level of performance, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 or the Polaroid Snap Touch may be right choice for you.

The Instax Mini 90 is also a great option if you want to make creative use of your camera at events or functions. Similarly, you should look for a different camera for your kids to use to learn the magic of photography. For this last use we recommend the Kodak PRINTOMATIC or even the Polaroid Snap Touch.

Old film camera and polaroid photos with Indian famous landmarks on the wooden background

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

Design

One of the features that make polaroid cameras stand out in particular is their design. You can find cameras with a vintage look like the Lomo’Instant Wide, or those with more original designs like Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 or a more classic and elegant look like the Leica Sofort or Instax Mini 90.

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. In general, most manufacturers offer their models in different colour combinations so there is a lot of variety to choose from.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwaDJjMlRNg/

Size of photos and photographic paper

When it comes to buying a polaroid camera, one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is what size you want the photos to be. Each camera model uses a specific size which will influence the photo paper you’ll need to buy.

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, although the most famous size of photo from Polaroid is its iconic square format.

Battery

The batteries of instant cameras can be rechargeable or consist of a series of AA batteries that need to be replaced from time to time. There is no doubt that rechargeable batteries are far more practical and economical. It is important to consider not only the battery life as well as if it is rechargeable or not.

Additional functionalities

Another question you should keep in mind when buying an instant camera is what “extra” features it has. There are cameras that offer the possibility to enjoy multiple exposures, different filters and even interchangeable lenses. With this in mind, the Lomo’Instant Wide is an excellent choice for the array of extra features it offers.

Brand

When choosing any type of camera, it is essential to opt for a camera from a recognised brand that has extensive experience in the field of photography. This is no exception in the case of instant cameras. When thinking about polaroid cameras, the first and most famous brand that comes to mind is Polaroid.

However, Polaroid is not the only or most prestigious brand on the market today. Fujifilm is undoubtedly the brand with the greatest brand recognition and the largest variety of models. Manufacturers such as Leica or Lomography also have high brand recognition in the world of polaroid cameras.

Summary

Polaroid cameras have never lost their style. In fact, they have become extremely fashionable with hipsters and adolescents alike. They are the ideal present for someones birthday as well as for capturing important moments at parties and even for introducing children to the art of photography.

Choosing the right model that suits you is easy if you follow a set of basic purchase criteria, as explained in this article. Think about the intended use of the camera, designs that you like and which brands you trust.

Finally, if this guide has helped you in your selection process, you can leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.

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

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