8 best instant cameras for nostalgic snapping on the go

In a world where the phone in your pocket is capable of taking high-resolution photos with vivid colours, realistic shallow depths of field and impressive high dynamic range, even from 100m away, it’s intriguing that instant cameras, with their dark, grainy prints, are seeing a revival.

Gen Z is leading the analogue resurgence, with Polaroid, Fujifilm and Kodak seeing sales of instant cameras balloon. After falling out of favour at the turn of the millennium, it’s now a common sight to see retro-looking instant cameras at gigs, house parties and at every single summer wedding.

Reimagined for the 20th century, modern instant cameras let you print pictures and save a digital copy. They’re also smaller than ever, more colour accurate, sharper, more vibrant, and feature built-in filters, selfie modes, different artistic styles and wifi connectivity. It’s instant photography for the Instagram age.

Manufacturers are churning out new models at breakneck speed but which instant cameras are the best? We’ve been putting them through their paces, to find out. Just remember, you’ll need to buy film to go in your camera – these aren’t like the disposables you used to bring to school.

How we tested the best instant cameras

Our reviewer in action with some of the tried and tested cameras (The Independent/Alex Lee)

We’ve been testing the best instant cameras over several months – they’ve come with us to baby showers, birthday parties and on holiday. We used all the cameras in various lighting conditions – from bright daylight and cloudy days to dim pubs and dark nights. We tinkered with the apps and printed more than 100 different images to help us figure out a list of the best instant snappers. We looked at how portable they were; whether they were difficult to use or set up; and whether they printed well or poorly. We also considered the affordability of the cameras and the film they require.

The best instant cameras for 2024 are:

  • Best instant camera overall – Fujifilm Instax wide 300: £107.81,
  • Best budget instant camera – Fujifilm Instax mini 12: £74.99,
  • Best smart instant camera – Polaroid now+: £129.99,
  • Best no-film instant camera – Kodak step touch: £98.20,


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