Even though the original Polaroid no longer exists, we can still purchase a number of instant cameras that can print the photos you take right away without having to move them to the cloud or without pouring them onto a PC, thus combining all the nostalgic aspects of the old paper photos with modern times, where the photos must be immediately available without too many waiting times.
Let’s find out together then what the characteristics of instant cameras must be and which models can be purchased online.
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What are instant cameras
Not all Instant Cameras (as they are called now) have the same quality and the same characteristics, so before buying we recommend you read what the parameters must be to choose a good instant camera.
Instant camera features
In order to meet the requirements of modern photography, an Instant Camera must have the following characteristics:
- Image quality: photos must be clear and in natural colors, even if the printing process is not comparable to the inkjet printer or to the quality obtainable by the photographer. Much depends on the type of instant paper chosen and the chemical process used for the impression.
- Target: although it may seem trivial, a good lens will allow to pass the right amount of light on the instant film, so as to increase the quality of the shot that will be printed by the Instant Camera. We try to control the focal aperture, so as to have a reference parameter (the lower the number, the better).
- Type of paper: the old instant cameras used self-developing films, while modern cameras use a chemical paper that reacts immediately to the light and impresses all the elements of the shot. The faster the chemical reaction, the faster the printing process, which will also provide better colors and details.
- Display: the presence of a display will help you take precise shots and immediately check all the settings of the instant camera before each shot, such as exposure and white balance.
- Expansion: Many instant cameras have a microSD slot, so you can both print the photo on paper and store the photos in digital format, so you can save them on a PC or reprint them in a larger format.
- Connectivity: in addition to the classic USB cable useful for transferring photos to the PC, many Instant Camera models have Bluetooth connectivity, very useful for transferring photos to a smartphone or for interfacing with the respective mobile app.
The other features are in fact identical to any other camera and we can also rely on the features seen in the guide Best WiFi and Cloud digital cameras.
Instant cameras to buy
If we want to buy an instant camera, we can rely on the models available online, so to choose the one that’s right for us. The links provided refer to Amazon, currently the best e-commerce site for buying new cameras including snapshots.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The best-selling instant camera in recent years is not a Polaroid, but the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Ice (60 €), available in different bright colors for all tastes, with a sensor for automatic brightness adjustment, mirror and macro lens for selfies, focal distance 60. Optical screen / viewfinder and compatibility with Fujifilm Instax Mini Film.
Directly from the manufacturer of the first Instant Camera we can view the Polaroid Mint (79 €), which features a print on 2×3 Zink photo adhesive paper, 16 Megapixel sensor, zero ink technology (without ink), integrated selfie mirror, LED flash dynamic and automatic and automatic shooting settings based on ambient light.
Polaroid 9010 OneStep + i-Type
The first Instant Camera with a similar appearance to the cameras of the past is the Polaroid 9010 OneStep + i-Type (€ 128), which boasts a standard focal length of the lens of 103 mm, a focal length of the portrait lens of 89 mm, lithium battery from 60 days, LED flash, self-timer mode, Bluetooth connection and compatibility with the dedicated app for Android and iPhone.
KODAK SMILE Classic
Among the best instant cameras we recommend the KODAK SMILE Classic (€ 169), which boasts a 16 MP sensor, Bluetooth connectivity, 3.5×4.25 “ZINK paper pack, adhesive photo frames, optical viewfinder, 10 second timer and compatibility with the Kodak app available for Android and iPhone.
Even if instant cameras take us back to the 80s and 90s immediately, we must carefully consider whether to buy one: if we are looking for a machine to immediately print photos to be framed or to be inserted in a handmade photo album, the models that we have recommended are without a doubt the best possible choice; if instead we are looking for high quality photos, we recommend taking them with a reflex or a high-end smartphone and printing them online on one of the sites seen in our guide to Best sites to print photos, posters, mugs, paintings and other items, sure to get a much higher quality than you can get from instant photos.
On digital photography and on the sites we can use to create online albums, we recommend you read our articles on how Create online posters with images and writings also to be printed and how Create a photo album as a collage or photo book to print.