They say that the days of printed photographs are done and over with. Of course, with most devices leaning towards digital storage methods, printing out a picture seems like an obsolete practice. But if you’re one the people who still finds satisfaction in having printed pictures of your favorite moments, an instant camera might just be the perfect image capturing device for you.
As the name suggests, and instant camera is a type of point and shoot camera that can instantly print out images as soon as you take them. The pictures develop minutes after the camera ejects the film, ready to be used in a scrap book, displayed at home, or simply kept in a wallet to look back at in the future.
If you’re on the market in search of the best cheap instant cameras, then you’ve come to the right place. Find out which 5 options we think provide the best satisfaction without buyers having to break the bank.
The Ultimate Cheap Instant Camera
Fujifilm is a Japanese multinational brand that specializes with imaging devices. They’ve released countless products for a variety of different photographers and amateur users, leveraging unique designs and quirky features that truly set their cameras apart from other options.
The brand is also one of the biggest in the instant camera market, muscling it out neck and neck with just one other brand. That’s why many of the instant cameras you’ll find are likely to be under the Fujifilm brand.
When it comes to their instant camera line up, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a bestseller. As one of the best cheap instant cameras, this device provides users an easy, straightforward, and problem-free user experience that really makes it convenient and simple. After all, isn’t that what buyers look for in an instant camera?
The device has four different pre-sets to match your environment for the best possible capture. Beside the lens is a small selfie mirror that allows users to see what they look like before taking a snap.
Finally, the camera prints beautifully soft images with a vintage feel, true to instant camera style. This makes it easy to get creative with printed photos, especially because they come with their own unique look.
Pros of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
- Straightforward use, minimal buttons and settings make for an easy image capture experience.
- Easy film reload process for seamless use.
- Small mirror beside lens provides greater control over selfie picture outcomes.
- Different colored camera bodies make it fun to choose a camera that suits your personality.
Cons of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
- Uses up battery life relatively faster than other options.
Our Second Pick for the Best Cheap Instant Camera
Of course, being the most prominent instant camera brand on the market, it’s no surprise that our second pick for the best cheap instant cameras comes from Fujifilm yet again. The brand has several different instant cameras, and their second best has to be the Fujifilm Instax Mini 26.
This affordable instant camera shares a lot of the same features with the Instax Mini 9, with a few minor exceptions. Firstly, the camera features two shutter buttons allowing users to switch between portrait and landscape imaging without losing grip of their device. Secondly, it comes with print color brightness adjust settings that make it possible for users to adjust brightness before images are printed.
Other than that, the Mini 26 is essentially equipped with the same features as the Mini 9. The device also has the selfie mirror for easier and more accurate self images, and a detachable close up lens for macro shots. Powered by 2 double A batteries, this camera is another great pick if you’re looking for the best cheap instant cameras on the market.
Pros of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 26
- Easy controls for fast and convenient point-and-shoot.
- Selfie mirror makes it easy to capture accurate self pictures.
- Fill in flash brightens background for a more even exposure.
- Two shutter buttons makes it easy to grip the camera regardless of orientation.
- Ergonomic body for effortless use.
Cons of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 26
- Flash can overexpose subjects in the foreground.
Third Place on Our List for the Best Cheap Instant Camera
The third best cheap instant camera on our list is also the last Fujifilm instant camera on the list. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera is potentially one of the most aesthetically pleasing instant cameras on the market, which is really one of the factors that make it a bestseller.
The body of the camera features a sleek design with a leatherette section across the front. So if you’re particular about the way your camera looks, or if you want to carry it around as an accessory, the Instax Mini 90 is a great pick.
When it comes to image quality, the Mini 90 doesn’t stray too far from the previously mentioned cameras. The brightness, softness, and clarity of the images are at par with the rest of the Fujifilm instant cameras, so there really is no problem there.
A special feature on the device does set it apart from other choices – a double exposure mode allows users to take two different pictures with one film, thus creating a unique image style that really extends horizons in terms of creativity.
Pros of the Fujifim Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera
- Superior build and aesthetic design, perfect for people who really want to flaunt their instant cameras.
- Superb image capture quality doesn’t differ from other top notch instant cameras on the market.
- Simple and seamless design, easy to hold and use with minimal effort.
- Double exposure is a fun way to create unique images.
Cons of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera
- Not the cheapest option on the list, but still pretty affordable without comparison.
The Fourth Best Cheap Instant Camera on the Market
Back when instant cameras were all the rage, there was one brand that was on everyone’s lips. Polaroid was practically synonymous with instant cameras, and was often even used as a term to refer to the pictures that instant cameras printed – regardless of the brand of the device that took the image.
Today of course, Polaroid has met some competition, but they still hold a pretty high place in the market, considered by some as the best brand that manufactures cheap instant cameras. Their best instant camera to date has to be the Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera – a front runner in the industry.
This instant camera features a lightweight body, making it easy for users to hold the camera with one hand for simple and convenient operation. The device runs on four AA batteries, so you can be sure that it will always be easy to find a power source for your device if and when you run out of juice.
Reloading the camera is straightforward and simple, and using it is just as convenient. So if you’re looking for an option that offers a seamless experience, then this camera might just be the best one for you.
Pros of the Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera
- Auto-shut off if the camera is idle for 5 minutes, saving lots of power and preventing accidental battery consumption.
- Runs on any AA batteries, making it easy to restore power whenever, wherever.
- Bright colored body makes it a good choice for people who want a camera that speaks to their personality.
- Sturdy body promises years of use without wear and tear.
Cons of the Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Film Camera
- Polaroid brand films can be more expensive than other brands.
Our Final Cheap Instant Camera Recommendation
The last on our list of the best cheap instant cameras is the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera. This is one of the latest releases from the Polaroid brand, and hopes to combine newer tech with old school image capturing styles.
What sets this unique camera apart from the others on the list is that it’s a fully functional digital camera complete with an LCD screen that allows users to really see what image their taking before they click the shutter. The device gives users the option to print or delete pictures, to prevent the odds of printing an image that doesn’t capture their subject the way they want to.
The device uses zero ink technology, much like other instant cameras. The adhesive-backed paper films develop pictures in minutes, and provide stunning color and quality unlike any other option on the list.
Pros of the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera
- LCD screen makes it possible for users to really see what they’re taking a picture of, unlike viewfinders that tend to differ from what’s printed on the film.
- Touchscreen display gives more functionality to the camera for better quality outcomes.
- Sleek body is slim and stylish, perfect for those who are particular about aesthetics.
- Smartphone compatibility improves the overall user experience.
Cons of the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera
- Still cheaper than other point and shoots, but definitely more expensive than most instant cameras.
Tips for Choosing the Best Cheap Instant Camera
There are lots of different instant cameras on the market, and some of them can be very affordable. But aside from the price tag, there are a few other factors you should consider if you really want to get the best bang for your buck.
If you’re still not sure which of these options are the right one for you, here are a few things to think of when you make your purchase.
- Cost of Film – What’s the point of scouring your entire selection of cheap instant cameras if you end up choosing one with expensive film? Keep in mind that these cameras use one film per image, and because films come in limited quantities, you will have to keep reloading your camera with fresh film if you want to keep using it.
Films can range from as cheap as a few dollars to over 10 dollars per set. If you plan on using your instant camera often, be sure to choose one that offers films for cheaper.
If in case your chosen camera doesn’t offer affordable films, you can opt to buy films from other brands to cut back on the cost. But beware – some cameras won’t acknowledge your warranty if it was broken as a result of using films from other brands.
- Battery Life – When using standard batteries from a convenience or grocery store, you should know that your cameras battery life won’t be as long as other cameras. If you intend to use your instant camera often, you may want to consider how many pictures it can take on a fresh set of batteries.
This way, you won’t have to find yourself in the situation of running out of juice in the middle of a party.
- Accessories – You’d be surprised just how many different accessories these brands offer for their instant cameras. This gives the cameras a more personalized feel, allowing users to buy unique pouches, cases, decals, and decorations to name a few, to make their camera more appealing to their preference.
If you want to be able to customize your camera, be sure to choose a brand with a wide range of accessories to offer.
Cheap instant cameras are the perfect companion for party goers, scrapbook enthusiasts, and everyday photographers who want to be able to hold on to keepsakes right after the memory happens.
If you’re any one of these, it would be in your best interest to have a trusty instant camera by your side at all times. Be sure to check out our top 5 picks to help you narrow down your options, and snag a top notch product without having to break the bank.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Martin Brigden – https://flic.kr/p/VvGGZk
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