Instant cameras are officially back on trend. In recent years, they’ve become popular as one of the easiest forms of film photography, as you don’t need to worry about getting someone else to develop or print your shots.
Well suited to capturing events and occasions, with the added benefit of a film aesthetic, they’re often quite simple point-and-shoot devices, without the complex controls you’re likely to find on more advanced compact and DSLR cameras.
With the popularity of film photography and the increased desire to create memories away from our digital lives, instant cameras have become an easy and relatively affordable choice, although it’s worth shopping around to find a camera to suit your budget. Bear in mind that as well as the price of the camera itself, you will have to purchase film, which normally comes in packs of 10 or so.
We’d recommend being sparing when snapping – it can get expensive quickly! That said, the results from many cameras on the market these days are excellent, especially from the models we tested.
How we tested
For this round-up, we tried a selection of instant cameras with a variety of features, from analogue-only models to options that include digital enhancement and Bluetooth connectivity.
They were tested in two different settings over the course of two weeks – bright, daytime, outdoor light and darker, indoor, evening light – to examine colour reproduction, lens quality and exposure settings.
We also took into account the ergonomics of the cameras; how easy they are to store, transport and use; and what’s entailed in setting them up for use, including the price of purchasing additional film. The cameras on this list showcase the best combination of picture quality, creative ability, ease of use and value for money.
The best instant cameras for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Fujifilm instax wide 300: £109, Amazon.co.uk
- Best easy to use camera – Fujifilm instax square SQ1: £119, Johnlewis.com
- Best for additional features – Polaroid onestep+: 129.99, Polaroid.com
- Best compact camera on a budget – Fujifilm instax mini 11: £69, Johnlewis.com
- Best pocket-sized camera – Kodak smile instant print camera: £99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best classic looking camera – Polaroid now: £119.99, Polaroid.com
- Best for accessories – Lomography lomo’instant automat: £149, Lomography.com
- Best for creativity behind the camera – Lomography Diana instant square: £65, Lomography.com