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.

We love instant photography at AP, and our team regularly test and review the best instant cameras – one of our writers recently reviewed the new Instax Mini 99. 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 2024. 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.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99

Instax Mini 99 front view
Instax Mini 99 front view. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Instax Mini 99 is easily the most capable Instax instant camera yet – with many fun features for photographers looking to take their instant photos to the next level.
Pros
  • Elegant look
  • Manual controls
  • Good closeup and action capabilities
Cons
  • The most expensive Instax camera – a title it shares with the Instax Mini Evo
  • No selfie mirror

At a glance:

  • Redesigned body with classic black finish
  • Compatible with Instax Mini instant film
  • Price $199.95 / £174.99

The Instax Mini 99 looks and feels different to other Instax instant cameras. Gone are the camera’s quirky pastels and simple controls… The Mini 99 instead sports a new look reminiscent of Fujifilm’s X-range, including the new Fujifilm X100IV, as well as a host of manual controls including an exposure control dial.

Along with some colour effects similar to the Instax Mini Evo’s, the Mini 99 adds on shooting modes such as Sports Mode, Double Exposure Mode, and Bulb Mode.

Read our Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 Review: The best instant camera?


Polaroid Go Generation 2

Polaroid Go Generation 2
Photo: Isabella Ruffati.

Amateur Photographer verdict

The ‘world’s smallest instant camera’, this one is great for those who want a point and shoot camera with minimal fuss.
Pros
  • Tiny and lightweight
  • Selfie mirror, self-timer and double exposures
  • Mostly produces bright, detailed images
Cons
  • Suffers in low light
  • Film is expensive

At a glance:

  • USB-C charging cable
  • Shutter speed: 1/300 sec
  • Aperture: f/9 and f/42
  • Weighs 239 g
  • Price: $79.99 / £79.99

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, white, red or blue.

The Polaroid Go Generation 2 is only compatible with Polaroid Go film, which comes in at $19.99 / £18.99 for 16 shots.

Best instant camera for: taking everywhere with you

Read our full Polaroid Go Generation 2 review.


Fujifilm Instax SQ40

Fujifilm Instax SQ40 camera body and design.
Fujifilm Instax SQ40 camera body and design. Credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

Amateur Photographer verdict

With the Instax SQ40 Fujifilm has provided yet another good option for instant photographers – this time in a redesigned retro body that uses the square print format.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Classy design
  • Selfie mirror
Cons
  • Underexposure can be a problem

At a glance:

  • Square design with classic black finish
  • Compatible with Square instant film
  • Price $149.95 / £134.99

Much as with the Instax Mini 12, the Fujifilm Instax SQ40 incorporates the same simplified modes, built-in selfie mirror and automatic exposure that the Mini 12 has. A helpful addition is a light that turns on when the camera is on and starts blinking to alert you if it has been on for too long.

This is very much a camera for beginners and those who want an easy to use instant – as well as fans of the larger square format. For those looking for a more colourful and less expensive option, the older Instax SQ1 is still available to buy new.

Read our Fujifilm Instax SQ40 Review.


Fujifilm Instax Mini 12

Best instant cameras and printers: Fujifilm Instax Mini 12
Fujifilm Instax Mini 12. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Amateur Photographer verdict

With simplified controls and quirky pastel colour options, this one is for photographers looking for an easy-to-use instant that’s on the affordable side and shoots Mini film.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Nice portrait and selfie-taking capabilities
  • Relatively inexpensive
Cons
  • Slippery surface
  • Boxy design might not appeal to everyone

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 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.

Read our Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Review.


Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo
Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Amateur Photographer verdict

As a hybrid instant camera, the Mini Evo promises to deliver the best of both digital and film. It doesn’t succeed – but it’s halfway there.
Pros
  • You get to choose what you print
  • Bluetooth connection and smartphone app
  • Some fun effects
Cons
  • 4.9MP sensor
  • Can only send printed images to phone
  • No video
  • On the pricier side

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

The Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo is very popular and has been experiencing stock shortages so you may have to wait to grab it from major retailers. However, given that this instant camera 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

Read our Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo review.


Polaroid Now+

Polaroid Now Plus Camera with Filters

Amateur Photographer verdict

This camera sports a vintage look and has a host of creative modes, making it a solid choice for photographers who want to step up their instant photography.
Pros
  • Creative tools
  • USB-C charging
  • Bluetooth support and companion app
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Large and heavy

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. 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+


Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Best instant cameras and printers: Instax Mini 40

Amateur Photographer verdict

This is a likeable and easy-to-use instant camera with attractively chunky retro styling.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Features a built-in selfie mirror
  • Feels sturdy despite being made of plastic
Cons
  • Small viewfinder window
  • A few handling quirks
  • Auto flash cannot be turned off

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 Instax 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 / £100 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.


Polaroid OneStep+

Polaroid OneStep Plus

Amateur Photographer verdict

Despite having a selection of smartphone-enabled shooting modes, this camera is still designed to be easy to use.
Pros
  • Stylish and retro design
  • Can shoot in manual mode
  • Tripod mount
  • Two built-in lenses
Cons
  • Film is expensive

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+


Canon Zoemini S2

Best instant cameras and printers, Canon Zoemini S2

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Canon Zoemini S2’s compact size makes it a perfect choice for photographers on the go. This is a digital camera that also prints instant photos!
Pros
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Selfie Mirror on the front
  • Hybrid camera

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


Fujifilm Instax Mini Link 2 with prints
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link 2 with prints. Credit: Andy Westlake.

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Mini Link consistently delivers gorgeous little prints with fine detail and vivid colour.
Pros
  • Makes vibrant detailed prints
  • Easy Bluetooth connection
  • Nicely designed app
  • Small and portable
Cons
  • Film costs can rack up

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


Fujifilm Instax Link Wide

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Instax Link Wide is easy to use and produces lovely-looking prints with bright, strong colours. But now, they’re bigger and better than ever.
Pros
  • Makes beautiful prints
  • Intuitive smartphone app
  • Simple and reliable Bluetooth connection
Cons
  • Bulkier than smaller-format siblings
  • Printing from can be rather slow
  • Uninspiring colour options (grey or white)

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


Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

Best instant cameras and printers: Kodak Mini Shot 2 Retro

Amateur Photographer verdict

The Mini Shot 2 Retro is one of the cheaper instant cameras on the market for what it does.
Pros
  • Hybrid instant camera and printer
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy to replace ink and paper cartridge system

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


Kodak Mini 2 Retro Portable Printer

Kodak Mini 2 Retro

Amateur Photographer verdict

This portable printer works out as excellent value for money and can be run at a cheaper running cost than many of its competitors.
Pros
  • Portable
  • Excellent value for money

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


Text by Claire Gillo, with contributions from Jon Stapley and Isabella Ruffatti.


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