Instant cameras review - 05/2019

The instant cameras have been making a huge comeback for a number of years now - they are an integral part of every festival, party and travel. The most popular cameras from the 60/70s are back.

We tested 5 instant cameras for you and paid special attention to the handling and the photo result. Our test winners are the Instax SQ 6 EX D and the Instax Mini LiPlay Blush Gold by Fujifilm: Both devices have a stylish design, can be taken anywhere and capture beautiful moments with high-quality photos. Our favourites with the test mark 9.1!

last modified: 11.10.2019, 9:38
Winner Winner Best price winner
Our winner: Fujifilm Instax SQ 6 EX D Our winner: Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Blush Gold Fujifilm Instax Mini Polaroid Pop 2.0 Digital Instant Camera KODAK printomatic Polaroid Snap Camera

Fujifilm
Instax SQ 6 EX D

Fujifilm
Instax Mini LiPlay Blush Gold

Fujifilm
Instax Mini

Polaroid
Pop 2.0 Digital Instant Camera

KODAK
printomatic

Polaroid
Snap Camera

  • Very easy to use
  • Very light in the hand
  • Beautiful Retro design
  • Good photo quality
  • Detailed, easy-to-understand operating instructions
  • Lots of functions
  • Rechargeable via USB
  • Beautiful design
  • Sound function
  • Images are not printed immediately - selectable
  • Special optics
  • Very handy
  • Easy to use
  • Modern design
  • Simple operation
  • Many creative photo settings
  • Video and GIFs
  • Mobile Photo Printer
  • 10 megapixels
  • autofocus
  • Two picture modes (color and black/white mode)
  • Shoot more photos while printing
  • Simple operation
  • Modern design
  • Photo paper can be used as sticker at the same time
  • Very light in the hand
  • Price per picture (0,50 Euro)
  • Expensive film
  • Rechargeable with battery only
  • Expensive film
  • The camera could not be switched on (could be fixed immediately by a reset)
  • Image quality moderate
  • Expensive film (75 cents per picture)
  • Scratches fast
  • App does not always work properly
  • Satisfactory image quality
  • No operating instructions enclosed
  • It takes about 5 seconds between taking a picture and printing it out.
  • Poor photo quality
  • No big difference between the two picture modes to be seen
  • quality seems poorly
  • Very basic image quality
  • No operating instructions available
  • Not self-explanatory
  • No frame counter available
  • In all the processes very slowly
  • Extreme blue cast

Scores in all respects, especially with their handling, various functions and image quality.

Convinces with lots of functions, good image quality, easy handling and chic design!

A true classic for good reasons: Quick and easy, this camera takes nice pictures.

A modern instant camera with many functions, but with "only" satisfying photo quality.

Easy to use instant camera, but its photo quality is very poor and doesn't have a wide range of functions.

Beautiful retro design, easy to use. The image quality is satisfactory.

Photo measures 62 mm x 62 mm (H x W) 47 mm x 63 mm (H x W) 47 mm x 63 mm (H x W) 70 mm x 80 mm 70 x 75 mm (HxW) 50 x 75 mm (H x W)
Image quality
Design
Speed
Handling
Equipment
Scope of delivery User manual, camera, strap, battery, color lenses Camera, USB charging cable, wrist strap, QR code to download the app, user manual Camera, Carrying strip, Operating instruction camera, manual, wrist strap, warranty booklet, micro-USB cable, 3x4 Photo Border Stickers, frame kit Instant camera, USB-cable, quick start guide Camera, USB-Power cable
Accessories Wrist strap, 2 CR2 batteries Hand strap, USB charging cable Carrying Strip. 2 CRC Battery camera, manual, wristband, warranty booklet, micro-USB cable, 3x4 Photo Border Sticker, frame set Camera, power cable, photo paper USB-Cable, accumulator
Colours Available in three colours: Blush Gold, Pearl White, Graphite Gray Blush Gold, Elegant Black, Stone White Available in five colours: cobalt blue, lime green, flamingo pink, ice blue and smoky white Blue, Yellow, Green, Pink, Black, White Yellow, Blue, Green, Pink, Black Colour variety for the cases: Blue, Purple, Red, Black, White, Pink
Material Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic
Width 12,5 cm 12 cm 10,5 cm 10,2 cm 12,3 cm 250 mm
Height 12 cm 8 cm 12 cm 15,2 xm 7,9 cm 120 mm
Depth 3,5 cm 3,5 cm 6,5 cm 2,5 cm 2,5 cm 75 mm
Weight 393 g 254 g 380 g 426 g 199 g 213 g
Cost per photo 0,90 Euro 0,99 € 0,99 Euro 0,99 Euro 0,50 Euro 0,50 Euro
Print/Development time 1 to 3 minutes 2 1/2 minutes 1 to 3 minutes 60 seconds 40 seconds 60 seconds
Focal lenght 65 - 75 mm 28 - 35 mm 60 mm 8 mm 3,4 mm
Quality impression Good Good Good Good OK satisfactory
Packaging Good Very good Good Good Ok satisfactory
Additional warranty Two years 2 years 24 Monate 24 month Two years Two years
Processing Good Good Good Good Satisfactory Satisfactory
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
59 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
4 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
859 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
27 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
62 reviews
☆☆☆☆☆
★★★★★
1299 reviews
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Self-timer Yes Yes No Yes No 10 seconds
Self-mirror Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Manual language DE, EN, FR, IT, PL, ES EN, GER, FR, ES, TW, KO, PT, RU, IT, NL, PL, CS, SK, HU DE, EN, FR, ES, JA, KO, CS EN, FR, IT, DE, ES, PT, CZ, SL EN, DE, FR, ES No operation instruction in delivery package
Quality of instructions Very good Good Good Very good No operation instruction in delivery package No operation instruction in delivery package
Test seal: Fujifilm Instax SQ 6 EX D, Rating 1.6
read review
Test seal: Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Blush Gold, Rating 1.6
read review
Test seal: Fujifilm Instax Mini, Rating 2.2
read review
Test seal: Polaroid Pop 2.0 Digital Instant Camera, Rating 2.2
read review
Test seal: KODAK printomatic, Rating 2.6
read review
Test seal: Polaroid Snap Camera, Rating 2.8
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Fujifilm

Instax SQ 6 EX D

Test seal: Fujifilm Instax SQ 6 EX D, Rating good

The instant camera Instax SQ 6 EX D by Fujifilm is not only convincing with its unique retro design, but above all with its diverse functions and good image quality. It is very easy to use and can easily be taken along on events or trips. A real eye-catcher!

read review

Fujifilm - Instax SQ 6 EX D

Winner: read review
  • For good pictures to succeed, light and angle must be right
  • The more light, the better
  • It always depends on the motive
  • Taking pictures of people instead of panoramas
  • Attention must be paid to details and colour contrasts
  • Small objects or food can be perfectly set in scene by focusing on the most important details and a good choice of colours
  • The camera must not be opened until the image cassette contains no more empty negatives (otherwise the rest of the film may be exposed prematurely when the cassette is opened, showing only white tones instead of the motifs from the weekend trip)
  • Modern cameras are usually very beginner-friendly, while the original Polaroid cameras from the 70s often have a few technical tricks to learn
  • Paying attention to a clean lens
  • Modern Polaroid cameras offer the function of rejecting images. The old-fashioned Polaroids do not have this feature and must therefore be operated with care. Normally, about 10 to 20 images can be printed per film. Polaroid images are relatively expensive at around 80 cents per film. It is best to buy a Multi-Pack directly, which contains more blank images and is therefore much cheaper
  • Colourful pictures come to the fore especially well
 

Test procedure

Before the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Handling
  • Speed
  • Design
  • Equipment
  • Picture quality

In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the instant cameras. First, the scope of delivery is checked. The devices are prepared and set up according to the manufacturer's specifications.

In the test runs, all existing functions of the cameras are checked. Photos of people and objects are then taken. The handling and user-friendliness of the devices are judged.

The time required to print the photos is then stopped. The finished images are checked for quality, with a special focus on sharpness and colour, and directly compared with each other.

In order to avoid mistakes and to ensure the stress of everyday use, each test takes place in several rounds.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

A Polaroid image costs about 80 cents. For this there is the retro charm and the possibility to snap away immediately. For the pictures to be successful, light and angle, among other things, have to be right. With creative tricks, the instant pictures become the highlight of the photo album.

Find the right motif

Taking party pictures
Personen statt Panoramen ablichten

An instant camera or Polaroid camera is a camera that develops and prints images immediately after they have been photographed. It has the advantage that the photo is taken quickly. The shutter release is pressed, the image is developed and the finished photo is ready to be amazed and viewed. Today, instant cameras are mainly used for celebrations and holidays. With our tips the photos are guaranteed to succeed.
An instant camera has lenses in the range of 50 to 60 millimetres. Zooming or choosing between different flash settings is usually not possible. Therefore, it is important to select the subject well and to pay attention to a good lighting and the correct angle before taking a snapshot.
Instant cameras are particularly suitable for taking pictures of people. As long as the correct distance is maintained, the pictures usually succeed.

Taking pictures of people instead of panoramas

instant camera with developed images
instant camera with developed images

When photographing with the instant camera, it is important to pay attention to details and color contrasts. Small objects or food can be perfectly staged by focusing on the most important details and a good choice of colours. Magnificent scenes such as sandy beaches or city panoramas can only be captured to a limited extent with an instant camera. The image detail is relatively small and sometimes makes the motif appear much more sobering than in reality.
Tip: make sure that the subject optimally fills the field of view of the camera. Then the picture succeeds and all details are captured.

Tips for changing films

Instant cameras are equipped with an image cassette, which is gradually used up when the shutter release button is pressed. Do not open the camera until the image cassette is empty of negatives. Otherwise, the rest of the film may be exposed prematurely when the cassette is opened and will then only show white tint instead of the motifs from the weekend trip.
It is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the packaging. Photography forums on the Internet give tips on the individual Polaroid camera models and their peculiarities. Modern cameras are usually very beginner-friendly, while the original Polaroid cameras from the 70s often have a few technical tricks that need to be learned.

Creative tips for the instant camera

For example, an image can be created within an image. A Polaroid image is taken and then photographed again with the Polaroid camera. The effect is unique and offers a lot of space for playing with contrasts and colors. Polaroid cameras are also great for telling a little story. You can record the growing pregnancy belly or the round trip in Italy and later reconstruct it chronologically in the photo album.
Modern Polaroid cameras offer the function of rejecting pictures. The old-fashioned Polaroids do not have this feature and must therefore be used with caution. Normally, about 10 to 20 images can be printed per film. Polaroid images are relatively expensive at around 80 cents per piece. It is best to buy a multi-pack directly, which contains more blank images and is therefore much cheaper.
The films should be purchased from the manufacturer of the instant camera. Otherwise, the film may not be recognized or the photos may not succeed as desired.

Instant cameras usually cannot be used with other lenses. However, different surfaces can be used to give the image a special effect, such as a glass or pane. Various "media" that are transparent and give the image a special touch can be used as filters.

Taking pictures with instant cameras has become a trend - not suprising at all, since these practical devices can take beautiful pictures with a high nostalgia factor. In addition, the immediate development of the photos is of course a highlight, as you can directly admire the result of your snapshot. In contrast to digital cameras, instant and Polaroid cameras have a higher weight and a less manageable size, but they make up for this with their robust construction and high-quality workmanship.

So even when the camera falls down it does not harm them much, which brings a long service life with it. And if something should break, no valuable pictures and memories are at risk from a damaged memory card, as they are always ejected directly onto the recording. Since the invention of the first camera of this kind in the 18th century, a lot has of course changed in terms of technology and quality, so that you can now find a large selection of different models. The original charm, however, has been retained by this type of photography.

Which instant camera is right for me?

At the beginning of this consideration there should be the question what purpose the camera should serve. Is the nostalgic touch of the pictures in the foreground or is it more about being able to hold snapshots directly in the hand? The demand for image quality is also a criterion. There are essentially two types of instant cameras: digital and analog models. With the digital version, the costs per image are somewhat higher, but they can still be processed after the shot. In addition, the photographs are of a higher quality. They can be printed immediately, saved and reproduced later.

If you prefer a classic look, you should buy an analogue model where the photos can only be ejected directly. In order to digitize them, they have to be scanned later. The big advantage of analog cameras is the originality of the pictures, which inspire with their classic charm. A further decision criterion is the desired format of the pictures. While some models also produce smaller photos, e.g. in business card size, many machines have the classic square format with a frame.

In order to make the right choice, a consultation with a photographer or directly with a photo specialist dealer makes sense. In addition, detailed check reports on instant cameras offer interesting information and suggestions on the subject. In addition, the choice of film plays a decisive role, as it determines the later costs per image. There are films by Fuji or Impossible, which differ in this respect.

Furthermore these points have to be considered after the selection of the model:

  • Used or new?
  • How are the device and housing processed?
  • Comparison of price-performance ratio
  • Is there a guarantee?
  • Test photo

In general, a good choice is always characterized by the comparison of many offers. Especially in the case of used offers, the condition of the housing has to be checked, but the workmanship is always an important criterion. A guarantee is usually a good sign regarding the service of the provider, moreover it is the most important insurance against damage to the device. Last but not least, a test photo should always be taken to check its quality - after all, it depends on the result.

Instant cameras - a touch of nostalgia and lots of modern technology

Before the introduction of the instant camera, developing photos was a time-consuming and lengthy process. Polaroid wanted to develop a cost-effective camera that was easily accessible and easy to use. They launched the Land Camera, the first instant camera.

What is instant photography?

An instant camera uses a self-developing film that can produce an image minutes after shooting. The film consists of a special film and chemicals that are needed to develop the film. A sleeve containing these chemicals is broken when an image is taken or pulled out of the camera with special rollers. Photos taken with an instant camera have an unmistakable look.

Functions of instant cameras

Ease of use

Instant cameras are very easy to use. With most instant cameras, only a button next to the lens needs to be turned on and the lens adjusted to get a shot. Some instant cameras still have a brightness dial. They are supplied with an exposure time of approx. 1/60 seconds. Most cameras are capable of shooting any object in the 0.6 m range.

Development time

The development of the photo begins immediately after it comes out of the camera. However, the image takes some time to process without interference and must dry. The way the image is dried has a direct impact on the quality. The photos can take between ten and forty minutes to develop. Stains often appear on the images, but they usually dry within 24 hours.

Additional features

Instant cameras are often equipped with a flash. These flash units can be rechargeable or single use, depending on the type. Another additional feature is the self-timer.

Use of instant photography

The biggest advantage of an instant camera is that the photographer can see the result immediately. Instant images are used in fashion photography to check what the photo looks like before it is taken with a professional camera. Instant cameras have also been used in archaeology, documenting crime scenes, making unusual discoveries in nature and much more. They were particularly popular in the 1950s. Most instant cameras have a better temperature resistance than normal cameras.

Fuji film

Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujifilm is one of Tokyo's oldest companies, a leader in the development, production service and distribution of cameras, color films, photofinishing equipment, optical equipment, printers and more. Fujifilm is one of the few companies still selling instant cameras. Fujifilm Instax and Fujifilm Instax mini with their respective films are two of Fujifilm's most popular cameras.

Polaroid - Impossible - Polaroid Originals

The name Polaroid is sometimes used synonymously with instant camera. This is probably because Polaroid is the oldest company that makes instant cameras and films. The company works on new technologies, trends and the advancement of digital cameras, consumer electronics and instant cameras. They are now making Polaroid digital cameras that include a built-in printer. When it was announced in 2008 that Polaroid would no longer produce instant cameras due to the popularity of digital cameras, there was indignation among photographers for the unique and irreplaceable medium. Since the company was bankrupt, the Impossible Project bought the last factory in the Netherlands and saved Polaroid from closure and resumed production. In addition to acquiring many patents from Polaroid, the Impossible Project has renamed itself Polaroid Originals.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

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