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best polaroid cameras

The Best Polaroid Cameras in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

A Polaroid camera is a photo camera that develops or prints the photo right after you take it. Instant cameras allow you to hold spontaneous snapshots immediately in your hand, give them as a gift or stick them in a guest book, for example. Today, Polaroid cameras are back in vogue and new products offer high image quality, displays and even a video function.

With our Polaroid camera review, we want to help you decide on the best instant camera. We have compared analog Polaroid cameras with digital ones and show you the advantages and disadvantages of each. This article will help you to make the right decision.

  • A Polaroid camera is another name for an instant camera. Immediately after printing, the photo is developed or printed and ejected.
  • The Polaroid camera does not come close to modern digital cameras in terms of image quality and performance. However, it is also not intended to shoot qualitative pictures. Because it pursues the goal of capturing moments authentically and printing the memory immediately.
  • Basically, two types of Polaroid cameras are compared: analog and digital. Analog models work just like they used to and bring a nostalgia effect. In contrast, digital Polaroid cameras offer more technical features, such as a memory card.

Best Polaroid Cameras

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera
2,998 Reviews
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 – Instant Film Camera
  • 1: 1 square format. Use Instax square style film
  • Auto exposure control the high performance flash…
  • Includes 3 Color Filters, orange, Purple and Green, that can…
  • 2 Cr2 batteries

The Fujifilm Instax SQ 6 is an analog camera with some modern features. It measures about 118 mm × 128 mm × 58 mm and weighs almost 400 grams. The pictures have a large square image format and a very good image quality. The Polaroid camera is very comfortable to hold and very simple to use. And the Instax Square offers all this for a low price.

The hip instant camera is the perfect compromise between old technology and modern modes as well as good quality. Its chic retro look is convincing. If you are a fan of analog photography and want big beautiful photos, the Fujifilm Instax SQ 6 is the best choice for you.

Zink Polaroid Snap Touch Portable Instant Print Digital Camera

Zink Polaroid Snap Touch Portable Instant Print Digital Camera
2,904 Reviews
Zink Polaroid Snap Touch Portable Instant Print Digital Camera
  • Point, Shoot, Print Taking picture Perfect Snapshots is…
  • All in One Camera & Printer : From portraits to selfies,…
  • Stunningly Vibrant Prints: Zink Zero INK Printing technology…
  • Free Polaroid Mobile APP: Take Your photography to the next…
  • Travel Ready Design: The mini, Colorful, and pocket sized…

The Polaroid Instant Snap camera works with zinc technology; therefore, it does not require ink. Compared to the analog cameras, the photos can be saved and edited before printing. The pictures have an impressive quality. The Polaroid measures 120 × 250 × 75 mm and weighs only 213 grams. It is available at a relatively low price.

With its small and lightweight body, the Polaroid can be taken anywhere, which is especially fun. Thanks to the many technical features, there are no limits to your creativity! If you like to try things out and enjoy digital technology, the Polaroid Snap is ideal for you.

Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Black (9010), Bluetooth Connected Instant Film Camera

Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Black (9010), Bluetooth Connected Instant Film Camera
3,132 Reviews
Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Black (9010), Bluetooth Connected Instant Film Camera
  • Original Polaroid Format – easy to use – 60-day battery life…
  • Bluetooth-connected app: full manual control – double…
  • Standard & portrait lenses: you can switch between two…
  • Available for iOS and Android
  • Compatible with I-type and 600 film

The Polaroid One Step 2 is a mid-priced analog Polaroid camera. It is known for its retro design, which is similar to the Polaroid original from the 1970s. The housing is rather large at 150 × 11 × 95 mm and weighs 460 grams. The functions are deliberately kept simple, making it easy to operate.

Both the One Step 2 and its relatively large pictures have a nice nostalgic effect and will delight Polaroid fans. Pictures taken with this instant camera are unique and authentically capture unique moments. If you love analog technology and want to take pictures like in the 70s, the Polaroid One Step 2 is the perfect camera for you.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
19,558 Reviews
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
  • Takes 2 AA batteries
  • New selfie mirror; Picture size: 62 x 46 millimeter and…
  • New macro lens adapter for close ups 35 centimeters to 50…
  • Automatic exposure measurement; The camera signals the…
  • High key mode takes brighter pictures with a soft look…

With a price of only about US$60, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is one of the cheapest Polaroid cameras on the market. It works analog and convinces with a very simple handling. The housing measures about 116 × 118 × 68 mm and weighs about 300 grams. The pictures of the Instax Mini 9 are relatively small.

With its cute look and many modes, the Instax Mini 9 is an absolute bestseller. It takes very good close-ups and macro shots, as well as beautiful selfies. The automatic light meter also makes it easier for you to take good pictures. If price-performance is important to you, then the Instax Mini 9 is the right choice for you.

How To Choose The Best Polaroid Camera

In this section, we will present some buying and evaluation criteria for Polaroid cameras, which will make it easier for you to evaluate them.

The criteria that will help you compare instant cameras include:

  • Weight and size
  • Image quality
  • Features
  • Design
  • Price-performance ratio

In the next sections, the evaluation criteria of Polaroid cameras will be further elaborated.

Weight & Size

A camera is only helpful and fun if you can take it with you everywhere. Therefore, it should be as small as possible and also light. However, the size of the camera is also related to the size of the pictures and the printing technology.

First, a larger camera will allow you to take larger pictures. Nevertheless, be aware that photos from analog Polaroid cameras have a white border, so they are not necessarily larger. Second, the photo development process of the analog camera requires the body to be a certain size.

Both digital and analog Polaroid cameras come with widely varying sizes and weights. Housing sizes vary widely, ranging from approximately 2.5 × 12 × 7.5 cm (225 cm3) to 15 × 11 × 9.5 cm (1567.5 cm3). A Polaroid camera weighs between 250 and 650 grams.

Image Quality

It is obvious that the achieved image quality of a camera is a very important evaluation criterion. Nevertheless, the image quality is not the main focus for most fans of Polaroid cameras.

At the very beginning, it must be said that photos from Polaroid cameras cannot compete in quality with those from high-quality digital cameras. Recently, however, manufacturers have made great strides in the field of image quality. Especially new digital, but also analog Polaroid cameras achieve a very good quality of photos.

With the purchase of a Polaroid camera you also commit to a picture format.
To find the perfect camera for you, you should ask yourself what is important to you. Do you want the highest possible picture quality? And the ability to select the best image before printing or editing your images? Or is the vintage look and the spontaneity and authenticity of analog photos more important to you?

In terms of the image, it should additionally be noted that when you buy a Polaroid camera, you also commit to an image format at the same time. For both analog and digital cameras, there is usually only one film that fits.

Features

The current Polaroid cameras on the market have a lot more to offer than just taking pictures.

The modern analog cameras often offer different modes for successful macro or landscape photography, self-timer or double exposures. Some analog Polaroid cameras also allow brightness adjustment, flash suppression, color filters and have a built-in selfie mirror.

A very crucial feature of digital Polaroid cameras is the memory card.
It allows you to store images and select and edit them before printing.

With digital cameras, many other features are also possible, such as a zoom, a (touch) display, a WLAN and Bluetooth connection or even an HD video function. Often, an app can also be used to send photos from the smartphone to the camera and print them.

Design

Of course, the design of your Polaroid camera also plays a role. You can find a wide variety of designs on the market; from old and retro to modern and chic.

Polaroid cameras are known for their colorful and iconic looks. Whether pink, yellow, red, green, blue, turquoise, white or black – most manufacturers offer their cameras in many different colors.

An exciting design is offered by the Polaroid Originals brand. The housings of their models correspond to the original Polaroid cameras from 1977. Today, the modern retro design is back in vogue and very popular among Polaroid fans.

Price-Performance Ratio

Last but not least, there is the price-performance comparison. Basically, the prices for a Polaroid camera range between US$60 and US$300 – so there are big differences. As already discussed, more expensive products also have a lot more to offer.

Tip: Pay attention to the respective prices for films or photo paper before you decide on a camera.

Another point to consider when comparing prices is the price per picture. Even if a Polaroid camera is rather cheap, there are always additional costs for film or photo paper. The price per photo varies greatly. The cheapest films start at US$0,60 per picture. The most expensive ones cost up to US$5, but are more likely to be used by professional photographers.

If your main focus is on memories and you enjoy taking spontaneous snapshots, the inexpensive analog models are perfect for you. However, if you are ready to spend a little more money on high image quality and technical gadgets, there are many suitable options for you. In this case, the more expensive models are worth the higher price.

Types of Polaroid Cameras

It is important to distinguish between two types of Polaroid cameras:

  • Analog Polaroid camera: nostalgic effect of the pictures, surprise effect, easier handling
  • Digital Polaroid camera: memory card, image processing, technical features

If you want to know more about the two types of products, you can read more in the next two sections.

Analog Polaroid Cameras

Analog Polaroid cameras – apart from some new modes and small features – still work just like in the old days. The mechanism of photo development is purely chemical. After ejection, you can watch with excitement as the photo slowly emerges.

Advantages

  • Nostalgic effect of the pictures
  • Surprise effect
  • Easier operation
  • Cheaper

Disadvantages

  • No saving possibility
  • No selection of images possible
  • No image editing

The analog pictures of a Polaroid camera bring a nostalgic effect. They have a white border and typical Polaroid colors, which are somewhat softened and pixelated. The photos are real snapshots and the result remains a surprise until the end.

Analog Polaroid pictures are not about high quality, but about fun photography and authentic memories. Nevertheless, there are also analog models on the market, which offer a very high image quality.

Since analog cameras do not offer many additional features, their operation is usually simple and understandable for everyone. The camera is well suited for beginner photographers.

The analog Polaroid cameras are usually cheaper than their digital competitors. However, the price per picture must also be taken into account, which strongly depends on the manufacturer.

Digital Polaroid Cameras

The digital instant camera is an attempt to remedy certain disadvantages of the analog Polaroid camera. However, some spontaneity and the surprise effect are lost in the process.

Advantages

  • Memory card
  • Image editing
  • Technical features
  • Can partly be used as a printer

Disadvantages

  • No analog look of the images
  • More complicated operation
  • More expensive

Digital cameras usually offer very high image quality. In some cases, brightness and focus can be adjusted better and certain models even offer a zoom lens.

In addition, the memory card and display allow you to review and edit the photos you take. The best ones can then be selected and printed.

Another cool feature is the ability to control the camera via an app on the smartphone. Thus, cell phone photos can also be sent to the camera and printed out. Thus, some digital models serve as a camera and printer at the same time.

The digital Polaroid cameras are often a bit more expensive than the analog ones. On the other hand, the required photo paper is usually cheaper than the analog films, which keeps the follow-up costs lower.

Frequently Asked Questions: Polaroid Cameras

This guide will answer all your questions about Polaroid cameras.

What is a Polaroid camera?

The Polaroid camera was invented in the 1950s and was especially popular in the 1970s and 80s. Its principle is simple and convincing: you only have to press a button and a little later you hold the developed picture in your hand. The original has neither a memory nor an image display. These functions are possible today – thanks to digital Polaroid camera.

The name “Polaroid camera” comes from the brand “Polaroid”, the first and for a long time the largest manufacturer of instant cameras. In today’s usage, however, the name “Polaroid camera” is used synonymously with the term “instant camera”.

How does a Polaroid camera work?

In both analog and digital Polaroid cameras, the image is developed by exposing a light-sensitive surface.

With analog Polaroid images, the film is exposed in the same way as with analog cameras. All chemicals needed for image development are already included in the frame of the so-called integral film. This explains the typical white border of the Polaroid pictures.

When the image is ejected, the development process starts. The developing fluid in the frame is distributed on the film by the pressure of two rollers and thus fixes the image.

Most current digital instant cameras today work with zero-ink technology (zinc technology). Compared to conventional printers, they do not need ink because the color pigments are already in the zinc paper. The paper consists of three layers of crystals containing the three primary colors yellow, magenta and cyan. The color pigments are activated by thermal pulses during exposure, causing the image to appear.

Who should get a Polaroid Camera?

A Polaroid camera is suitable for anyone who enjoys taking creative snapshots and souvenir photos. Besides casual and hobby photographers, the Polaroid camera is also used by professional photographers. Furthermore, it can be used for damage assessment or for documentation of legal or medical events.

The Polaroid camera is ideal for personal use or for use at events such as weddings or birthdays. Polaroid pictures can be given as gifts, sent as postcards, or used to create guest books and keepsakes.

Polaroid cameras are perfect for creating a guest book.

During the event, guests can take photos on their own, glue them in and write comments on them.

How good is the image quality of a Polaroid camera?

As mentioned earlier, image quality is not a priority with the analog original. It does not come close to the quality of modern digital cameras.

However, the current models, both analog and digital, offer increasingly better image quality that is almost comparable to a cell phone camera.

How good is the image quality of a Polaroid camera?

As mentioned earlier, image quality is not a priority with the analog original. It does not come close to the quality of modern digital cameras.

However, the current models, both analog and digital, offer increasingly better image quality that is almost comparable to a cell phone camera.

What are the polaroid camera alternatives?

Of course, all kinds of photo cameras are possible alternatives to Polaroid cameras. However, we have limited ourselves to two options that have one important characteristic in common with the instant camera.

  • Analog camera: Suitable if you like analog pictures but would like to reproduce them.
  • Cell phone printer: Suitable if you want to print your pictures immediately, but prefer to select them on your cell phone.

In the next two sections, we will briefly introduce the two alternatives.

Analog camera
If you are a fan of analog cameras and pictures, the traditional analog camera is also a good alternative for you. The pictures are not printed directly. Instead, you can have the film developed or even develop it yourself in the lab, which is a lot of fun.

The big advantage over analog Polaroid cameras is the ability to reproduce pictures. After developing, the negative film allows you to enlarge the pictures over and over again. In addition, you can easily edit the photos in the lab. Especially the brightness and contrast can be easily adjusted.

Cell phone printer
A possible alternative to Polaroid cameras are small printers that you can connect to your cell phone. They allow you to print pictures from your smartphone directly. Some of the printers also have a Polaroid function, which print the pictures with the typical white border.

On the one hand, of course, the digital and printed pictures do not have the same charm as real analog Polaroid pictures. It lacks the excitement of seeing the made picture slowly appear out of nowhere without having seen it before. However, the printer also has many advantages: You can select the perfect pictures on your smartphone, edit them, and print them as many times as you want. A cell phone printer gives you the opportunity to finally make all the hidden pictures on your smartphone visible.

How do I operate a Polaroid camera?

The operation of the Polaroid camera strongly depends on the model and its possible functions. The classic analog models hardly have any additional functions and are therefore very easy to operate – just pull the trigger and you’re done.

The classic models are very easy to use – just pull the trigger and you’re done.

Other newer cameras have modes for different lighting conditions or subjects that you have to select before pulling the trigger. With digital Polaroid cameras, you can also edit the photos afterwards.

When taking photos, you should also pay attention to the following points:

  • Avoid direct backlight
  • Avoid numerous light sources
  • Indoors you should always use the flash

Tip: If you need the manual for your Polaroid camera, search Google for “manual” and the model of your camera.

What accessories do I need for my Polaroid camera?

In order to be able to take pictures with your Polaroid camera, you urgently need certain accessories.

  • Film cassettes: An analog Polaroid camera can of course only be used with the right film. This film is inserted into the camera in a cassette. Film cassettes are not standardized and vary depending on the manufacturer and model.
  • Photo paper: Photo paper is necessary for the use of digital Polaroid cameras. It is sold in cartridges, some of which contain ink. The type of instant camera cartridges decide black and white or color, self-adhesive or writable images, glaze and exposure time.
  • Camera bag: a sturdy carrying case protects the Polaroid camera from dirt and damage. They are available in different price ranges and designs.
  • Flash: Almost all current instant cameras have an integrated flash. Unfortunately, this cannot be switched off manually on some models, which can prove to be a big disadvantage in certain lighting conditions.

Is a Polaroid camera environmentally friendly?

Simple analog Polaroid cameras in particular are environmentally friendly because they contain very few electronics. More sophisticated digital cameras, on the other hand, require a lot of energy to produce and use.

In addition, the purchase of new batteries and the disposal of old ones is harmful to our environment. If you want to take pictures in an environmentally friendly way, we recommend an instant camera with rechargeable batteries or using rechargeable batteries.

Does waving a Polaroid picture do anything?

No. You should never wave your just-developed Polaroid picture. Contrary to what is often assumed, it does not help the development process, but hinders it. If the photo is moved too much, the chemicals cannot spread evenly. This leads to low image quality.

Instead, you should immediately put the picture in your pocket. First, your body temperature favors the development process of the photo. And second, the picture should be developed away from light. It takes about half an hour to develop most of the photo. However, the full process goes on for a whole eight hours. During this time, the quality of the photo improves even more, so it must be kept away from light.

Last product update on 2021-09-24 | Source: Amazon Affiliate