The best instant cameras and printers take the best of the digital age and give it an analogue twist. Digital imaging is unmatched for convenience, but all the same, there’s nothing like the feeling of holding a physical print of a photo in your hands. Whether you remember the Polaroids of yester-year or not, there’s no doubt that instant photography has its own magic, and one that simply can’t be replicated with a smartphone camera.

At AP, our expert review team includes plenty of instant photography enthusiasts. And so, we’ve compiled the definitive list of the best instant cameras and instant printers you can get right now. Whether you want something fun to take to parties, or are planning on embarking on a serious instant film art project, these are the best cameras for the job.

First up though, you may be wondering about the differences between instant cameras and instant printers, so let’s take a quick look.

What’s the difference between an instant camera and an instant printer?

An instant camera will shoot and print images whereas an instant printer is for just printing – often from an external device like a mobile phone. Instant cameras and printers are designed with everyone in mind no matter what your shooting experience. Some models have slightly more sophisticated features compared with others which you’ll want to take into account when selecting the one that is right for you.

Instant cameras may use actual instant film, or they may print digital images onto quick-print photo paper.  Although there are a few brands that dabble in the instant film camera market, the main contenders are Fujifilm with their mighty Instax range, and Polaroid, who have been going from strength to strength since the revival of the brand by the Impossible Project in 2017.

In terms of instant printers and digital instant cameras (which use the same kinds of paper), the main contenders are once again Fujifilm, using its Instax film for digital photos, but also Kodak and Canon, who manufacture their own ZINK (short for zero-ink) photo paper that can be printed on in minutes.

Instant film images will look much better, with improved tonality and image quality. However, ZINK paper and its like tends to be much cheaper to buy. This is the crux of picking your instant camera or printer.

How do I choose the best instant camera or printer?

Ultimately, you’re going to be weighing up the quality of prints versus how much you’re willing to lay out on running costs. Polaroid cameras generally produce the best prints, larger in physical size and richer in colour, tonality and detail. However, they also cost significantly more per pack than both Instax film and Canon’s ZINK Photo Paper, so you do have to be prepared for an ongoing cost.

Also, newer instant cameras and printers tend to have more sophisticated features, such as different exposure modes, and smartphone connectivity that enables app control. If you aren’t bothered about these, then you may be able to save yourself some money by opting for an older camera. We’ve included a mix of old and new in this guide, meaning there should be options for all budgets.

So, without further ado, let’s get started running through the best instant cameras and printers you can buy!

The best instant cameras and printers – our full list

1. Fujifilm Instax mini 40 – £89 / $99

Best instant cameras and printers: Instax Mini 40

At a glance:

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film
  • 33mm equivalent f/12.7 lens
  • 0.3 to 0.5m selfie mode, with built-in selfie mirror
  • Powered by two AA batteries
  • Measures 104x121x65mm
  • Weighs 330g

The Instax mini 40 follows on from the mini 11, with attractively chunky retro styling. Producing credit card sized instant prints that you can share instantly with friends and family, this instant camera for just under £90 is likeable and easy-to-use. The hipster-esque Contact Sheet film is reasonably priced as well.
This camera only features fully automatic exposure and full-time auto flash so not recommended for those who want further control. There’s no tripod bush either, so it’s very much a case of point, click, print. There are a few handling quirks, and while the final prints are not always super-sharp or perfectly exposed, it’s all part of the lo-fi charm.

Recommended for those: who want to point and shoot with little fuss

Read our Fujifilm Instax 40 review

2. Fujifilm Instax Link – £109 / $99

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

At a glance

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film
  • Prints from iOS or Android devices
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Charges via micro USB
  • Measures 12.5 x 9 x 3.5cm
  • Weighs 209g

The Fujifilm Instax Link is a mini printer designed to link to your smartphone and produce instant credit card-sized photos using Fujifilm’s Instax Mini film. The Mini Link uses Bluetooth for communicating with your phone, rather than Wi-Fi, which has a couple of advantages – it’s much easier to set up, and it doesn’t require fiddling around with your phone’s Wi-Fi network every time you want to make a print. It also consumes less battery power.

The sleek, curvy design is attractive and will slip easily into a coat pocket or bag. It’s also really easy to use, with just a single external control in the shape of a large power button. Simply turn the printer on and it’ll connect to your phone and be ready to go.

Recommended for those: on the move who don’t want to weighed down

Read our Fujifilm Instax Link review

3. Fujifilm Instax Link Wide – £129 / $149

Fujifilm Instax Link Wide

At a glance:

  • Uses Instax Wide instant film
  • Available in Ash White or Mocha Grey
  • Supported image format JPEG, PNG, HEIF, DNG
  • Image size 62mm × 99mm
  • Measures 139 x 128 x 33.7 mm
  • Weighs 340g

The Instax Link Wide uses the firm’s largest instant film format, giving a print area of approximately 6 x 10 cm – that’s more than double the size of Instax Mini, and 60% larger than Instax Square. Essentially, this printer works in the same way as the Instax Mini Link, but has been made 5cm wider to accommodate the larger film. The only control is a large power button on the front, with multi-coloured LEDs behind it to indicate the printer’s status. The film slots in under a large door on the back.

The device is powered by a built-in Li-ion battery that charges via micro-USB, which means you can use it anywhere.

The Instax Link Wide connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, and is operated using the eponymous app for iOS or Android.

The pros of this little printer are it makes beautiful prints, is intuitive to use and relies on Bluetooth connectivity. On the down side it’s bulkier than its smaller format siblings but it makes slightly larger prints so you need to weigh up your needs.

Recommended for those: who want to print slightly larger images on the go

Read our Fujifilm Instax Link Wide review

4. Canon Zoemini S2 – £159 / $139

Best instant cameras and printers, Canon Zoemini S2

At a glance:

  • 10-sheet capacity
  • 8 Megapixel camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Remote shutter and live view (With the Canon Mini Print app)
  • Print resolution 314 x 600 dpi
  • Selfie Mirror
  • Measures 121 x 80.3 x 22.4mm
  • Weighs 188g

The Canon Zoemini S2 is a pocket sized camera that has been aimed at the youthful market. The compact and lightweight design means it is perfect for those on the go and can be easily slipped into a pocket.

The Zoemini S2 includes a flash and Selfie Mirror on the front so you can shoot and produce perfect selfies. You can also compose and check how you’re looking in Liveview by downloading the Canon Mini Print app onto your smartphone – this also works as a remote shutter too.

Each print takes approximately 50 seconds to emerge from the camera, and if you run out of paper or time on the go images can be saved to a ​​micro SD card and then printed at a later date. The Canon Zoemini S2 uses Canon Zoemini ZINK Photo Paper, which for a pack of 50 sheets costs £24.99 making it one of the cheaper instant cameras to use at 50p per image.

Recommended for those: who want to take selfies

Find out more about the Canon Zoemini S2

5. Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo – £175 / $199

Best mini cameras and printers: Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

At a glance:

  • Uses Fujifilm Instant Mini film
  • Feature 10 integrated lens modes and 10 built-in filter effects
  • Has a 3-inch LCD screen on the rear for image playback and editing
  • 28mm f/2 lens
  • Accepts microSD cards
  • ‘Direct Print’ allows for printing photos from smartphone camera roll
  • Connects to smartphone via Bluetooth

The newest Instax camera, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo has been experiencing stock shortages and is still on pre-order, with delivery expected towards the end of October 2022. However, given that the new instant camera has received a prestigious Red Dot Award for its design, as well as being selected as a finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards, we feel pretty confident that it’s worth checking out.

So what’s different about the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo? It’s intended as a hybrid between analogue and digital, and actually has a 3-inch LCD screen on the rear. This allows the user to easily browse and select images to be printed, as well as do minor edits and adjust settings. The Mini Evo is designed to bridge the gap between an instant camera and an instant printer, and as such it can also be used to print photos directly off your smartphone’s camera roll.

Recommended for those: Who like both analogue and digital shooting

6. Polaroid Now+ – £139 / $149

Polaroid Now Plus Camera with Filters

At a glance:

  • Tripod mount on base of the camera
  • Lens filter kit
  • Shutter system – 1/200 – 1 sec. (Camera only).
  • 1/200 – 30 sec. and Bulb mode (App Mode)
  • Standard Lens: 102.35 mm (40mm/35 equivalent)
  • Close-up Lens: 94.96 mm (35mm/35 equivalent)
  • Measures 150.16 mm x 112.2 mm x 95.48 mm
  • Weighs 457g (without film pack)

The king of instant cameras from the mid twentieth century until is Polaroid. Launched last year the Polaroid Now+ is a ramped up version of their Polaroid Now. With the Polaroid Now+ you get 5 new lens filters plus unlock two extra tools – aperture priority and tripod mode — inside the Polaroid mobile app. You also have a host of creative tools from light painting, double exposure, manual mode to name just a few.

This particular model takes Color iType Film which costs £15.99 for a pack of 8 shots. That’s an expensive £2 per image. If you buy 5 packs the cost comes down to £13 for 8 images which works out just over £1.60 per shot.

Recommended for those: Who want creative control over the final outcome

Find out more about the Polaroid Now+

7. Polaroid Go – £109 / $99

At a glance:

  • USB charging cable
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 sec – 1 sec
  • Aperture: f/12 and f/52
  • Focal length: 51.1mm
  • Measures 105 mm x 83.9 mm x 61.5 mm
  • Weighs 242g

This pocket sized analogue instant camera is great for those who want a point and shoot camera with minimal fuss. There is a reflective selfie mirror and self timer mode meaning you can create the perfect portrait of yourself on the go. The dinky design is available in black or white.

The Polaroid Go is only compatible with Polaroid Film Go, which comes in at £18.99 for 16 shots making it a bit cheaper to run compared to the Polaroid Now+.

Recommended for those: Who want a point and shoot system

Find out more about the Polaroid Go

8. Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro – £94 / $149

Best instant cameras and printers: Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

At a glance:

  • Camera and printer combo
  • Laminated prints that will last
  • LCD viewfinder
  • Selfie mirror
  • 2.1 x 3.4 inch photos
  • Bluetooth connectivity to mobile device
  • Easy to replace ink and paper cartridge system
  • Measures 132mm x 80mm x 30mm

The Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro supports a simple yet old school design and is available in yellow or white. You can either print directly from the camera or from a mobile device with bluetooth connectivity.

Down from £124.99 to £94.99 the Mini Shot 2 Retro is one of the cheaper instant cameras on the market for what it does. Where it really comes into its own however, is through its printing process that uses a laminated layered technique, meaning prints are fingerprint and water resistant and will last a long time. An all in one paper and ink cartridge refill system that supports 60 shots from Kodak costs just £19.99 making this one of the cheaper instant cameras to run.

Recommended for those: who want to save on running costs

Find out more about the Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

9. Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer – £89 / $139

Kodak Mini 2 Retro

At a glance:

  • Available in yellow, black or white.
  • Compatible with the free Kodak mobile device
  • 2.1 x 3.4 inch photos
  • Easy to replace ink and paper cartridge system
  • Measures 133mm x 76mm x 25mm

The Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer uses the same Kodak 4Pass printing process as the Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro listed above. This portable printer works out as excellent value for money and can be run at a cheaper running cost then many of its competitors.

The printer works through a stable wireless connection that can be paired to any device. The printer is also compatible with the free Kodak mobile app where you can decorate and sort images as you so wish.

Recommended for those: who are on a budget

Find out more about the Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer

10. Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 – £174 / £199

At a glance:

  • Printing resolution 318 dpi
  • Film type Fujifilm Instant Colour Film instax Square
  • Film developing time approximately 90 seconds
  • Supported image format – JPEG, PNG
  • Measures 116 mm x 130.5 mm × 44.4 mm
  • Weighs 312g

Replacing the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 the Share SP-3 comes in a new and radical design, which we can’t say looks particularly pocket friendly due to the jaunty angles! This printer does however support a high printing resolution and uses the classic square format instant Fujifilm film (film size 86mm x 72mm, picture size 62mm x 62mm). The Share SP-3 is quick to print and Fujiflm boasts it can produce an image in a speedy 13 seconds.

On the down side this printer does not support Bluetooth connectivity putting it at a slight disadvantage to some of its competitors that do, instead it uses Wi-Fi.

Recommended for those: wanting fast results, and square format photos

Find out more about the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3

11. Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay – £149 / $174

Fujifilm Instax Mini liplay

At a glance:

  • Focal length 28 mm (35-mm film equivalent)
  • ISO 100 to 1600 (auto)
  • Add sound to your images
  • Shutter speed 1/4 sec. to 1/8000 sec. (auto)
  • Self timer
  • Film size 86 mm x 54 mm
  • Image size 62 mm x 46 mm
  • Measures 82.5 mm x 122.9 mm x 36.7 mm
  • Weighs 255g

One of the creative quirks of the Instax Mini LiPlay is being able to record a message or sound and then to add that recording to your image using a QR code. What a great and alternative way to send a message to a loved one! It also comes with a wide range of frames and filters so you can produce some creative and unique results.

Unlike many of the instant cameras the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay supports a large 2.7” LCD monitor giving it the advantage of being able to review and edit images on the device. You can also connect and control the camera through your smartphone via the app.

The Instax Mini LiPlay takes Fujifilm Instant Film instax mini, which comes in at £14.99 a pack for 20 shots. Fujifilm states it can print an image in approximately 12 seconds and up to 100 images (given the right conditions) on a single charge.

Recommended for those: who like quirky and gimmicky features

Find out more about the Fujifilm instax Mini LiPlay

12. Polaroid OneStep+ – £129 / $187

Polaroid OneStep Plus

At a glance:

  • Tripod mount
  • Bluetooth LE connectivity
  • Standard lens focal length: 103 mm
  • Portrait lens focal length: 89 mm
  • Measures 150mm × 111mm × 97 mm
  • Weighs 493g

The Polaroid OneStep+ comes in a stylish and retro design that is reminiscent of its historical past yet this particular model is packed full of modern technology such as Bluetooth connectivity that can unlock creative features such as light painting and shooting in the manual mode. There is a tripod mount on the base of the camera for those wanting to get creative using a slower shutter speed.

The Polaroid OneStep+ comes with two built-in lenses. One for far off landscapes and the other for portrait images. You can switch manually between the two with an on body switch.

Recommended for those: who want to experiment with their instant photography and take control

Find out more about the Polaroid OneStep+

Have a look at our latest buyers guides, or have a look at our Improve Your Photography series

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