In an age where the cameras on our smartphones are capable of billboard-quality selfies and where 12- and 13-inch screens equipped with downloadable software give us all the power of a state-of-the-art film lab, it would seem there’s no room for a relic like film photography. Then again, people were saying the same thing 10 years ago about vinyl’s fight against the MP3—and look how that worked out.
Instant cameras are in the midst of an incredible cultural comeback, and if you don’t believe us, now’s the time to look at the evidence. Here are 7 Instant Cameras That Actually Don’t Suck.
If you’re even the slightest bit of a camera nerd, you know Leica as one of the foremost camera manufacturers in the world. While the Sofort won’t give you billboard-quality stuff, it will produce some of the most beautiful and highest quality instant film prints you’ve ever seen. The Sofort comes in a stylish square package, and is available in orange, mint, and white. Everyone’s main complaint about the cute little camera is that, while it looks beautiful, it isn’t the most ergonomic camera on the market. Still, the Sofort is a great instant camera and it carries the Leica brand name, which is worth a few points. $299
Fujifilm INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic
Fujifilm released the INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic in the American market as a way to show that instant film cameras aren’t just toys, and it is far and away the best instant camera they offer. The design is retro and handsome (paying clear homage to Fujifilm’s classic x-series cameras), and while it can be used by damn near anyone, it also features more unique settings—like multiple exposures and a bulb setting—for people who know what they’re doing. With an attractive price tag, the Mini 90 Neo Classic is one of the top contenders out there right now. $125
Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300
If there’s one brand that’s really trying to revolutionize the instant camera game, it’s Fujifilm. The Wide 300 shoots the same way Fuji’s standard mini film does, only it’s wide enough to capture beautiful landscape photos and group shots. Aside from producing excellent quality photos, the Wide 300 is also super easy to use and features automatic flash, exposure compensation, and even a focal zoom. It’s one of the most popular-selling instant cameras on the market, and the minute you take a photo with it, you’ll understand why. $110
Polaroid OneStep 2 i-Type Camera
Polaroid is still taking pre-orders for the OneStep 2 i-Type, but if the OneStep 2 is anything like its iconic predecessor, it’s going to blow the competition out of the water. The OneStep 2 is a completely analog camera that packs a heavy punch with its high-quality lens, built-in flash, self-timer, 60-day battery life (with rechargeable 1100mAh USB-chargeable battery), and a design inspired by the original OneStep. It was supposed to hit the shelves back in November (just in time for the holiday season), but alas, it’s still on pre-order as of the publication date of this story. Either way, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that patience is a virtue—and we’re quite virtuous. $100
Lomo’Instant Sanremo + 3 Lenses
The Lomo’Instant Sanremo comes in a small, beautiful package that’s easy to carry and even easier to be seen with. It offers three shooting modes (Flash-On Auto Mode, Flash-On Manual Mode, and Flash-Off Manual Mode); and includes the built-in wide-angle lens, a fisheye lens attachment, a portrait lens attachment, and a close-up lens to help give you complete creative control over what you’re shooting and how you want to shoot it. It also offers a slew of color filters, unlimited multiple exposures, and even a bulb setting for long, streaky photos. Far as instant film cameras go, the Sanremo is one of our favorites. $135
InstantFlex TL70 2.0
The InstantFlex TL70 2.0 isn’t an instant camera for the casual hobbyist; it’s a tool to be honed and used to create beautiful works of instant art. It might come with a hefty price tag, but its beautiful manual aperture control abilities—thanks to its sleek two-lens design—make it stand out from other instant cameras in the world right now. It borrows much of its overall design from the classic Rolleiflex cameras of yesterday, and the vibrant viewfinder, larger magnifier, and sturdier shutter and aperture mechanisms make it something near unbeatable, far as quality goes. If you have the coin and you’re really looking to make some beautiful photos, this is where your money should go. $389
Lomography Lomo’Instant Glass Magellan
If you’re looking for something light and compact that that’ll pack one hell of a punch and not demolish your bank account, the Glass Magellan from Lomography is an excellent option. Aside from its beautiful packaging, the Glass Magellan also features a wide-angle multi-coated glass lens (the first of its kind) for sharper, clearer images, along with an incredible f4.5 aperture (better than any other camera on this list), a .3-meter minimum focusing distance, multiple exposure modes, flash filters, and more. $189