When it comes to photography, instant cameras are some of the most accessible and affordable devices for those who love to be creative. There is nothing like pressing that shutter button and seeing the camera spurt out a yet to be exposed photo!
If you are new to instant photography and are on a budget, then you are in luck! I have rounded up and reviewed five of the best polaroid cameras under $100 and $200 so you can start capturing memories in an instant (pun intended 😉).
But first, a bit of bad news…
Polaroid cameras as we know them, have stopped being produced with the bankruptcy of the company in 2008 😔. However not all hope is lost…
An initiative called the Impossible Project (now called Polaroid Originals) salvaged what was left of the company. Since 2008, they have gone on to start making film and even releasing a new Polaroid inspired camera!
There are also some other great companies out there who have seen this gap in the market. One company in particular is FujiFilm who have introduced their own great lineup of instant cameras 😍.
Ok, lets get stuck in!
Top 2 Best Polaroid Cameras Under $100
1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera – Smokey White
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera – Smokey White Specifications
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera – Smokey White Review
Coming in first on my list is the uber cute and ultra affordable Fujifilm Instax 9 Instant Camera. In a nutshell, I love everything about this camera from the design, shooting modes and the quality of the film prints.
I don’t seem to be the only was as this model has over 2,100 reviews on Amazon, with an averge rating of 4.5 stars 😱. It is in fact one of the best selling products on all of Amazon! I feel a film revival coming along…
When is comes to the design of this camera, it couldn’t be more simpler. Which in my opinion is a great testament to a well designed product. Less is more. While it is made of plastic, it does feel very sturdy and fits ergonomically in the hand. It also comes in 5 colors which you can see below.
Once I pressed the shutter button on the side and the flash released, a piece of yet to be developed 2.08in x 3.30in film would emerge from the bottom of the camera. Now comes the magical part of watching the film develop! Generally this takes about 3-4 minutes, but it can feel like a lifetime 😉.
Talking about film, this brings me to the film quality component, or with instant cameras, the lack of it. What really stood out for me with this Fujifilm Instax 9 Instant Camera was the homage style look to the original Polaroid film. It still holds onto the washed out/ faded look while also keeping that vintage nostalgia.
Overall I was super impressed with this camera and I can see why it is quickly becoming such an icon. This is hands down one the best polaroid cameras under $100 that I tested. I just wish that I got more film!
2. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera Specifications
Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera Review
Next up on my list is another value packed instant camera from Fujifilm. This Instax Wide 300 builds on everything good about the Instax 9. One of the biggest differentiating factors between these two models is the larger prints.
I find these larger film prints are great for scrapbooking and other montage type of designs.
When it comes to the design of this instant camera, there is no escaping the fact that it is on the bulky side. Measured up, it is 6.6 x 3.7 x 4.7 inches excluding any protrusions. But this larger footprint was a compromise I was happy to make for the larger photo size 😊. One of these ‘protrusions’ is the variable lens which is also great for getting up close to a subject!
Recently I also took this camera to a friends wedding with a huge stock pile of film. Lets just say after a few drinks, everyone wanted to get their hands on this! Overall, this camera was a ton of fun to shoot with. A must have!
Top 3 Best Polaroid Cameras Under $200
Originally this post was going to be focused on instant cameras under $100. But after a lot of research, there is a limit to the cameras under this price point.
This led me to break this article into two parts, first being under $100, and the second being sub $200. So without further adieu, here are some of the best polaroid cameras under $200 that I found!
3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (Neo Classic) Instant Film Camera
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (Neo Classic) Instant Film Camera Specifications
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (Neo Classic) Instant Film Camera Review
Coming in first on my list of sub $200 instant cameras is the vintage/classical style Fujifilm Instax Mini 90. I really wanted to make this my number one pick for the sub $100 list. But it is just a tad over the threshold!
If I was going to compare this model to the Instax 9, I would have to say this this is the more mature older sister. It essentially takes the same format of images, but has a more polished look and offers up a lot more settings. It also reminds me of the older Fuji analogue or Leica cameras 📸.
As for the settings, it has the ability to do great double exposures which is made possible by the high performance flash and bulb mode. This really does open up a whole new world of creativity and is a great concept of photography to learn about.
While I’m still on modes, ‘Auto Mode’ detects the brightness/darkness of the surroundings and adjusts the shutter speed and flash to capture the best possible exposure. Now that is smart!
When it came to the photos, I was incredibly impressed by the grungy look that it gave off. A true successor to a polaroid camera. You can check out the same images above!
Overall this camera was an absolute joy to use and I loved being able to give a physical photo to someone! It’s because of its smart capabilities, design and great film that earns this model earns my pick for the best Polaroid camera under $200!
4. Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Instant Film Camera
Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Instant Film Camera Specifications
Weight: 0.9 lbs
Film Size: 3.4in x 4.25in (8.63cm x 10.79cm)
Batteries Used: Charged via Micro-USB
Film Used: Polaroid I-TYPE Film (Polaroid 600 film not compatible)
Price: Click here to find latest price
Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 Instant Film Camera Review
Finallyyyy! A polaroid camera is in the mix! As I touched on briefly above, this Polaroid camera is the brain child of the Impossible Project. The story is quite incredible when you look into it. What started out as a group of friends trying to save the film production facilities, led onto the rebirth of Polaroids once iconic camera.
So what about the actual camera… How does it stack up to its older predecessors like the Polaroid 600 or the Supercolor 1000?
When is comes down to the film quality and style, they have also managed to keep that original ‘Polaroid feel’ which I have yet to see another company accurately recreate. You can check out some sample images here on Flickr.
As this is the first iteration of the new Polaroid line up of instant cameras, I can understand why there may be some manufacturing faults. So it may be worthwhile waiting on the second generation product if you want to be safe!
5. Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera Specifications
Weight: 0.47 lbs
Print Size: 2.0in x 3.0in (5cm x 8cm)
Batteries Used: Charged via Micro-USB
Film Used: Polaroid ZINK Photo Paper
Price: Click here to find latest price
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera Review
Last but not least on my list is another addition to the lineup of Polaroid instant cameras. Depending on how you look at it, this is technically an ‘instant camera’, but it prints the photos digitally rather than through film. There is also no frame around the photo.
One huge bonus of this camera is that the price of the prints is very cheap when compared to film. For the same price as a pack of 20 exposures. You can instead get 50 prints for the same price. But you will also have to replenish the ink as time goes on.
Overall this is a fun little camera for kids, children or someone who is on a tight budget!
Hopefully this guide on the best Polaroid cameras under $100 and $200 has been helpful for you. I am personally using the Fuji Instax 9 the most and I even just took it on a trip overseas. It made sense to use it for travelling as it is very compact and light.
If you want to learn more about photography, you can check out my list of some great online photography courses here. Happy shooting!