Claire Gillo and the AP team pick the best instant cameras and printers on the market, from Polaroid, Fujifilm Instax, Kodak and more.

With the best instant cameras and printers, you can capture a little analogue magic with your photography. There’s a reason that Polaroid instant film cameras have been popular for decades – they’re terrific knockabout fun, with a lo-fi charm that just can’t be replicated with pixels and screens. Making instant prints is a fantastic way to give your image-making a little physical presence – all the rarer in the digital age – and

We love instant photography at AP, and our team regularly test and review the best instant cameras – one of our writers recently explored why the Instax mini 8 is a lot more than just a toy. As such, we’ve had a few debates among staff in putting this list of the best instant cameras and printers together, but as a result, there should be options for all stripes of instant shooter.

For more knockabout analogue fun, you can also check out our guide to the best disposable film cameras. Or for something more high-end, we have a guide to the best fixed lens 35mm film cameras. But for now, let’s get into what you’re looking for when you buy the best instant cameras and printers.

How to choose the best instant camera or printer

First up, in this article we’re dealing with both instant cameras and printers. Both do much the same thing in terms of quickly spitting out a physical print of an image – however, as you’d imagine, only the instant camera can actually capture the image. Instant printers are generally built to receive images wirelessly, via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and print quickly on to a specific type of photo paper designed for this purpose.

Instant cameras come in two types – ones that use actual instant film, such as Polaroids and Fujifilm Instax cameras, and digital instant print cameras made by Kodak and Canon, which use photo paper. Generally, instant film images will look much better, with improved tonality and image quality. However, instant photo paper tends to be much cheaper to buy.

This is the key to buying instant cameras and printers – figuring out how much you’re willing to lay out on running costs for quality prints. 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.

The best instant cameras and printers – our full list

These are our picks for the best instant cameras and printers you can buy in 2023. We’ve opted for models to suit a range of budgets and ability levels, so whether you’re an absolute beginner or an old hand with a Polaroid, there should be a suitable camera here for you.

1. Fujifilm Instax mini 12

Instax Fujifilm Mini 12 in all available colours on a table

Photo credit: Fujifilm.

At a glance:

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film
  • 60mm equivalent f/12 lens
  • Close-up mode with parallax correction
  • Powered by two AA batteries
  • Weighs 306g
  • Price: $80 / £79

The newest Fujifilm Instax camera, the Instax mini 12 is a do-everything instant shooter that’s designed for people who just want to point, shoot and print. It lacks the more sophisticated exposure modes of instant rivals from Polaroid, as well as more sophisticated members of the Instax family. However, it does what it does very well, and spits out charming low-fi Instax mini prints within seconds of the shutter button being pressed.

There are a few upgrades to this camera compared to the previous Instax mini 11, such as in the close-up mode, which now has parallax correction to help you frame more accurately (the mini 11 had a reputation for producing wildly mis-framed shots in this mode). There are plenty of other instant cameras that offer deeper control and broader functionality, but for simple knockabout fun and beginner-friendly charm, the Instax mini 12 is one of the best instant cameras you can buy.

Best instant camera for: beginners and casual photography enthusiasts.

Find out more about the Fujifilm Instax mini 12

2. Fujifilm Instax Link

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

At a glance

  • Uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film
  • Prints from iOS or Android devices
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Charges via micro USB
  • Weighs 209g
  • Price: $99 / £109

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.

Best instant camera for: travel

Read our Fujifilm Instax Link review

3. Fujifilm Instax Link Wide

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
  • Weighs 340g
  • Price: $149 / £129

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.

Best instant printer for: printing large images

Read our Fujifilm Instax Link Wide review

4. Fujifilm Instax mini 40

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
  • Weighs 330g
  • Price: $99 / £89

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.

Best instant camera for: simple pointing and shooting

Read our Fujifilm Instax mini 40 review

5. Canon Zoemini S2

Best instant cameras and printers, Canon Zoemini S2

At a glance:

  • 10-sheet capacity
  • 8 Megapixel camera
  • Remote shutter and live view (With the Canon Mini Print app)
  • Print resolution 314 x 600 dpi
  • Weighs 188g
  • Price: $139 / £159

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.

Best instant camera for: selfies

Find out more about the Canon Zoemini S2

6. Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

Best mini cameras and printers: Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

At a glance:

  • Uses Fujifilm Instant Mini film
  • 10 integrated lens modes and 10 built-in filter effects
  • 3-inch LCD rear screen
  • Accepts microSD cards
  • Connects to smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Price: $199 / £175

A newer camera in the Instax range, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo has been experiencing stock shortages, and you may have to wait to grab it from major retailers. However, given that this 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 being a little patient for.

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.

Best instant camera for: analogue and digital shooting

7. Polaroid Now+

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
  • 1/200 – 30 sec. and Bulb mode (App Mode)
  • Weighs 457g
  • Price: $149 / £139

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.

Best instant camera for: taking creative control over the final outcome

Find out more about the Polaroid Now+

8. Polaroid Go

At a glance:

  • USB charging cable
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 sec – 1 sec
  • Aperture: f/12 and f/52
  • Focal length: 51.1mm
  • Weighs 242g
  • Price: $99 / £109

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+.

Best instant camera for: taking everywhere with you

Find out more about the Polaroid Go

9. Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

Best instant cameras and printers: Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

At a glance:

  • Camera and printer combo
  • LCD viewfinder
  • Selfie mirror
  • 2.1 x 3.4 inch photos
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy to replace ink and paper cartridge system
  • Price: $149 / £94

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.

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.

Best instant camera for: running cheap

Find out more about the Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

10. Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer

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
  • Price: $139 / £89

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.

Best instant camera for: budget users

Find out more about the Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer

11. Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3

At a glance:

  • Printing resolution 318 dpi
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Square
  • Film developing time approximately 90 seconds
  • Supported image format – JPEG, PNG
  • Weighs 312g
  • Price: $199 / £174

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 Fujifilm 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.

Best instant printer for: square format photos

Find out more about the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3

12. Polaroid OneStep+

Polaroid OneStep Plus

At a glance:

  • Tripod mount
  • Bluetooth LE connectivity
  • Standard lens focal length: 103 mm
  • Portrait lens focal length: 89 mm
  • Weighs 493g
  • Price: $187 / £129

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.

Best instant camera for: experimental instant photography

Find out more about the Polaroid OneStep+

Text by Claire Gillo, with contributions from Jon Stapley.

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

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