Polaroid closed its last factory in 2008 and a little bit of everyone’s childhood died. In the past decade, however, a number of camera manufacturers, including Leica and Fujifilm, have designed their own takes on the instant camera; and in 2014, The Impossible Project rode that wave by purchasing Polaroid’s old machinery in order to continue to make the film for old Polaroid cameras — and, as of 2020, they are making new instant cameras, as well. Instagram and Snapchat have their place; the instant camera's place is in your beach tote.

Polaroid Go

Courtesy
Polaroid Go
amazon.com
$310.95
$93.85 (70% off)

Film: Polaroid Go Film
Cost per shot
: ~$1.25

Released in mid-2021, the Polaroid Go is the company's smallest and lightest instant film camera. In fact, it's so small that it can almost fit inside your pocket. The Go isn't feature packed, but it still has a two-element lens that allows for autofocus (which you can trigger via a half-press on the shutter button) and flash. It uses a smaller type of film than any of Polaroid's other instant cameras, but it's still in its signature square shape.

Polaroid Now

Polaroid
Polaroid Now
amazon.com
$99.74

Film: i-Type and 600 film
Cost per shot
: ~$2

The Polaroid Now is essentially a bigger version of the Polaroid Go. It has many of the same features, including autofocus and flash, but it uses slightly larger film and thus produces a little larger photo. The other big difference is that because it's a little bigger, the Now takes better photos when shooting in bright conditions; overexposure is a common problem for instant cameras, and the Now handles it better than most.

Polaroid OneStep+

Polaroid
Polaroid OneStep+
amazon.com
$139.99
$115.99 (17% off)

Film: i-Type and 600 film
Cost per shot
: ~$2

Polaroid released the OneStep+ in 2018, but it still remains one of the coolest and best looking instant cameras you can buy. It's neat for a few reasons. First, it has two different focus modes, one for close-up portraits and one for shooting subjects at a distant. Second, it has built-in Bluetooth and works with an app that enables a few shooting modes, including double exposures and a manual mode for photographers who want to control everything. Additionally, you can use the app as a remote shutter control, in case you want to be the photo as well.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Fujifilm
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40
amazon.com
$99.95

Film: Instax Mini Instant Film
Cost per shot: ~$1

Released in 2021, the Mini 40 is the newest instant cameras in Fujifilm's Instax line. It's not so much different from the Mini 11 in terms of its shooting capabilities — it's still a entry-level instant camera with focus, flash and a selfie mode— but its vintage black-and-white design with textured faux leather body makes it look like a classic.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Courtesy
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
amazon.com
$61.77

Film: Instax Mini Instant Film
Cost per shot: ~$1

Fujifilm released the Instax Mini 11 in 2020. It lacks the vintage look and feel of the Mini 40, but it has basically the same features and shooting capabilities. It has the same lens, shutter and flash. It has the same selfie mode. It even uses the same film, too. The big difference is that the Mini 11 comes in a more colorful finishes. And it's more affordable by about $30.

Fujifilm Instax SQ1

Fujifilm
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1
amazon.com
$119.95
$99.95 (17% off)

Film: Instax Square instant film
Cost per shot
: ~$1.15

Fujifilm released the Instax SQ1 and Instax Mini 11 around the same time in 2020. The biggest (and most obvious) difference is that the Instax SQ1 uses and prints 62mm square film (about 2.5 inches), where the Mini 11's frames are only 42mm (about 1.8 inches) wide. Secondly, the Instax SQ1 has the battery life to shoot up 300 photos on a single charge, which is three times better than the Instax Mini 11 though film, and not battery life, is probably your limiting factor. The Instax SQ1 is quite a bit more expensive, and so is its film.

Kodak Smile

Kodak
Kodak Smile
Amazon
€83.99

Print paper: 2x3 Zink Photo Paper
Cost per print: ~$.50

The Kodak Smile is a digital instant film camera, which means you can take photos, they save to the camera, and then you can decide which ones you actually want printed later on. As such, it uses a special type of printer paper, as opposed to photographic film. There's even a microSD slot in case you want to add more storage (up to 256GB extra). The camera is small enough to fit in your pocket and it slides shut to protect the lens from scratches. All in all, it's a fun, pocketable and easy-to-use travel companion.


Mint InstantFlex TL70 2.0

Mint
Mint InstantFlex TL70 2.0
adorama.com
$389.00

Film: Instax Mini Instant Film
Cost per shot: ~$1

The InstantFlex TL70 2.0 is pretty incredible. Its twin-lens reflex design allows you to manually focus through the viewfinder — no other instant camera offers that functionality; you can set the shutter speed for long exposures, too. It uses the same film as the Fuji Instax Mini — $15 for a 20-pack — and runs on AA batteries (which feels a little dated, admittedly). Granted, you’d have to be really into instant cameras, or retro design, to spend nearly $400 on this.