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1 November 2021

Best instant cameras

We tested Polaroid cameras and instant cameras from Kodak, Instax and Fujifilm to find out which is the easiest to use and produces the best photos
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Olivia Woodhouse
Someone using an instant camera

Instant cameras are back in fashion in a big way, with trailblazer Polaroid and Fujifilm leading the effort. But how far have instant cameras come since the 1960s and is it worth splashing your cash on one for yourself or as a gift? 

In September 2021 we tested eight popular instant cameras from Polaroid, Fujifilm and Kodak, ranging in price from £50 to £150. Among those we tested was a mixture of hybrid and standard instant cameras. 

  • Instant - The classic point-and-shoot camera. No bells or whistles - just a viewfinder, instant photo printing and flash, but you still have to wait for your images to develop. 
  • Hybrid - Often more expensive but with extra functionality. You'll get digital displays, fun frames, filters and even apps that allow you to print photos from your phone. Most will still require developing time for the photos.

To ensure we could recommend the best instant cameras, we tested each one for ease of use and enlisted the help of our in-house expert, James Stringer, to help judge photo quality.

Prices and availability checked as of 1 November 2021. 


Read our compact camera reviews for something a little more hi-tech.


The best instant cameras

Only logged-in Which? members can view the instant camera reviews below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the instant cameras we tested.  

Join Which? now to get instant access to our test scores and Best Buy recommendation below. 

Instax Mini Li-Play instant camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Camera

Cheapest price: £139.95, available at Amazon, also available at Currys, Jessops, John Lewis, Maplin, Very

Price per photo: 70p (if buying the 50-pack)

Type of film: Instax Mini Film

Size of print: 86 x 54mm  

Size of image: 62 x 46mm

Weight: 255g

Key features: Bluetooth connection, digital display, rechargeable lithium battery, charger included, two-year guarantee 

This Fujifilm camera is compact, has a digital screen and can even connect to your smartphone, making it perfect for snapping pics at parties.

Find out whether the Instax Mini LiPlay's extra functions are a gimmick or genuinely useful. Log in or join Which? now


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Instax mini 11 instant camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £69, available at Amazon, Currys, John Lewis, also available at Argos, Asos, Boots

Price per photo: 70p (if buying the 50-pack)

Type of film: Instax Mini Film

Size of print: 86 x 54mm  

Size of image: 62 x 46mm

Weight: 490g

Key features: Rechargeable lithium battery, charger included, one-year guarantee

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is one of the cheaper instant cameras we tested and it's the latest in the Instax Mini range. 

Log in or join Which? to read our review of this popular instant camera.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £89, available at Amazon, Currys, John Lewis, also available at Argos

Price per photo: 70p (if buying the 50-pack)

Type of film: Instax Mini Film

Size of print: 86 x 54mm  

Size of image: 62x 46mm

Weight: 450g

Key features: Requires two AA batteries (included), three years instant replacement from Currys 

This Fujifilm camera certainly has the retro design, but did it wow our photography expert when it came to the quality of its snaps?

We took photos of a researcher in a various settings to gauge how well the cameras could deal with dark rooms, natural light and movement. 

To unlock our results of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera, log in or join Which?

Fujifilm Instax SQ1Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £119, available at Amazon, Jessops, John Lewis, also available at Argos

Price per photo: 85p (if buying the 20-pack)

Type of film: Instax Square Film

Size of print: 86 x 62mm 

Size of image: 62 x 62mm

Weight: 370g

Key features: Requires two CR2 batteries (included), one year-guarantee

You'll be able to print bigger images with this instant camera from Fujifilm. You can also take selfies using the small selfie mirror next to the lens. 

Find out whether the bigger, square prints made a difference to its photo quality. Log in or join Which?.

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 Hybrid Camera

Cheapest price: £179, available at Amazon, also available at Very

Price per photo: 85p (if buying the 20-pack)

Type of film: Instax Square Film

Size of print: 86 x 62mm 

Size of image: 62 x 62mm

Weight: 390g

Key features: 4x zoom, digital display, rechargeable lithium battery, charger included, one-year guarantee 

As the first instant camera in the Instax series that has zoom, the Instax SQ20 has a number of digital functions to offer. 

It has a digital display and a number of filters and frames to choose from. We tested it to find out whether it's worth paying more for this hybrid camera. Log in or join Which? for our verdict. 

Kodak Printomatic Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £49.99, available at Amazon

Price per photo: 49p (if buying the 20-pack)

Type of film: Kodak Zink Photo Paper

Size of print: 50.8 x 76.2mm  

Size of image: 50.8 x 76.2mm

Weight: 199g

Key features: No USB cable included, rechargeable lithium battery

The Kodak Printomatic is the only instant camera in our line-up to print ready-developed images. We found the images looked very different from the other cameras.

Find out whether they were better or worse. Log in or join Which? now.

Polaroid Go Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £109, available at Polaroid, Urban Outfitters, also available at Analogue Wonderland, Asos

Price per photo: £1.19 

Type of film: Polaroid Go Film

Size of print: 66.6 x 53.9mm 

Size of image: 47 x 46mm

Weight: 242g

Key features: Rechargeable lithium battery, charger included, two-year guarantee 

It's compact and lightweight but does this smaller version of the Polaroid Now produce good-quality photos?

Log in or join Which? to read our full review.

Polaroid Now i-Type Instant Camera

Cheapest price: £104, available at Amazon, also available at Currys, Argos

Price per photo: £1.48 (If buying the 40-pack)

Type of film: Polaroid i-Type Film

Size of print: 107 x 88mm 

Size of image: 79 x 79mm

Weight: 434g

Key features: Rechargeable lithium battery, charger included, two-year guarantee 

A classic retro design and traditional large print size makes this Polaroid instant camera an attractive option for vintage camera enthusiasts. 

To find out whether the bigger print size affected the quality of the photos, log in or join Which?.

How much does instant camera film cost?

Below, we've given the prices for the most basic film for each camera, but there's plenty more to choose from if you fancy some stylish borders or coloured tints.

Fujifilm InstaxInstax Mini 20-shot pack: £14.99, 75p per print
Instax Mini 50-shot pack: £34.99, 70p per print
Instax Square 20-shot pack: £16.99, 85p per print
Instax Square 50-shot pack: £39.99, 79p per print
PolaroidPolaroid i-Type Colour Film 8-shot pack: £14.99, £1.48 per printPolaroid Go Colour Film Double 16-shot pack: £18.99, £1.19 per print
KodakKodak Zink Photo Paper 20-shot pack: £12.79, 64p per print
Kodak Zink Photo Paper 50-shot pack: £24.99, 49p per print
Kodak Zink Photo Paper 100-shot pack: £49.99, 49p per print

Five things we learned testing instant cameras

We gained some interesting insights into instant cameras during our testing. Here's what we learned:

  1. You shouldn’t shake your instant camera print, as this could damage the final image. Instead, leave it face down on a surface or pop it into your pocket.
  2.  Don’t open the film compartment until you’re sure you've finished the film. Otherwise you risk exposing it, rendering it useless if you do this prematurely.
  3.  You can only use a specific type of film with each camera, so always check you've bought compatible film for your camera. 
  4. There's a huge difference in development time between Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax film. It looks like Polaroid is very much still following the traditional template, while Instax has tried to bring its film up to speed, quite literally.
  5. There seems to be no improvement in image quality with the hybrid cameras compared with the instant cameras. 

Instant camera print sizes compared

Print sizes compared.
Film from left to right: Polaroid Go, Instax Mini, Instax Square, Polaroid i-Type, Kodak

Print sizes can vary massively between cameras. To give you an idea of the sizes of the prints you'll get with different film, we've listed the measurements below and given you a visual comparison above.


Print sizeImage size

Polaroid Go

66.6 x 53.9mm
47 x 46mm

Instax Mini

86 x 54mm
62 x 46mm

Instax Square 

86 x 62mm
62 x 62mm

Polaroid i-Type

107 x 88mm
62 x 46mm

Kodak Zink Photo Paper

50.8 x 76.2mm
50.8 x 76.2mm

How we tested instant cameras

We selected eight popular instant cameras that are widely available at major retailers and snapped away until we found our winner.

Ease of use

Point-and-shoot cameras by their nature should be simple to use. We had two researchers carry out a range of standard tasks with each camera twice - once with gloves and once without - to see how easy they are to navigate. We noted how easy it is to change the batteries, find the charging port and whether there were delays after pressing the shutter button. 

We also gave the cameras a rating for their film development time, with those developing quicker getting a higher score than those that took longer. 

Photo quality

We put ourselves in the shoes of an instant-camera owner and took photos of our researcher in various locations. We snapped them in a dark room, a well-lit room and outside. This allowed us to test the flash and how the cameras dealt with natural light as well as artificial light.

We then had our in-house photography expert, James Stringer, judge all the photos.