Instant Photography Buying Guide

Instant Photography Buying Guide


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Instant photography requires instant cameras. Before the introduction of the instant camera, printing out photographs was a time consuming and tedious process. Edwin Land, founder of the Polaroid Company, wanted to create an inexpensive camera that was readily accessible and easy to use. For this he developed a camera that went by the name of ‘Land Camera,’ which received positive feedback from the masses. This land camera is, what is known as today, the instant camera. From field biology to the fashion industry, instant cameras have utility everywhere. Some photographers even specialize in instant photography. In a world where everything is quick and spontaneous, instant cameras are most welcomed, in spite of the prevalence of digital cameras. Fuji instant cameras, like the Fuji Instax and the Fuji Instax Mini, and Polaroid instant film cameras are a few of the most popular ones.

Purpose of the Guide

For those looking at buying an instant camera, the purpose of this buying guide is to give you an overview of this unique camera. This guide even intends to provide information that can help the user to choose a suitable instant film camera from the numerous available choices.

What is Instant Photography?

An instant camera comes with a self-developing film, which can produce printed image minutes after it is taken. This packet of self-developing film contains the required chemicals that are needed to develop the film. A pod containing these chemicals get broken open when a picture is snapped, or the picture is drawn out of the camera using specialized rollers. Instant cameras satisfy the three tier need of giving the user aesthetics (since most cameras are also great to look at), great quality outcome and saving time. The photographs that come from these cameras have a distinct look that can easily be recognised a result of instant photography.

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Features of Instant Photography

User Friendliness

The user friendliness of the camera is what makes them easy for anyone to use. In the case of most instant cameras, a button beside the lens needs to be turned on, and the lens adjusted to get that perfect shot.

Shutter Speed and Battery

Polaroids come with a shutter speed of approximately 1/60 seconds. The battery usually will come in a size of 116 x 118.3 x 68.2mm and weigh about 307g. Most cameras will be able to shoot any object within the range of 0.6m.

Photo Size


Instant Photo Size ComparisonsFuji Instax Photo Size Comparison

The Photo size on most polaroids are around the same range. A photo from Fujifilm Instax mini will measure 62 x 46mm.


Brightness Adjustment Dial

Some instant cameras come with a special brightness adjustment dial that will not only help you achieve impeccable photos, but will also guide the user along the process of creating pictures. This feature determines the best ambience for taking pictures in terms of brightness and lighting. The camera will turn the adjustment dial to a position it thinks is the most suitable.

Process Time

In an instant camera, the picture is produced nearly the instance it is shot. However, the picture must be given plenty of time to be processed and dried without any interference. How the picture is dried has a direct effect over the quality of the picture. The photos can take anywhere between ten to forty minutes to process. It is also common to see spots over pictures, but they dry away soon within 24 hours.

Additional Features

Flash units are another important feature commonly found in Polaroid instant cameras. These flash units can be both rechargeable or single use, depending on their type. Other recurring feature on the Polaroid instant digital camera is the self timer, which is extremely popular. Using the best film for the camera is as important as using the correct camera.

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Utilities of Instant Photography

The biggest advantage of an instant camera is that the photographer will immediately be able to see the outcome. Polaroids are used in fashion photography to get an idea and check how the photograph is coming along before going for the main shot on a regular camera. Polaroids have also been used in archaeology, documenting crime scenes, record unusual finds in nature and much more. It was a regular sight in parties in the 1950’s.

Most instant cameras are also known to have a better resistance to temperature than regular cameras.

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Top 3 Manufacturers


Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujifilm is one of the oldest companies that are leaders in the development, production servicing and sales of cameras, color films, photo finishing equipments, optical devices, printers and more. Fujifilm is one of the few companies that still sell instant cameras. Fujifilm Instax cameras are some of the most adorable and fun instant cameras around. Fujifilm Instax and Fujifilm Instax mini are two of the popular cameras from Fujifilm. The Fujifilm instant cameras have always been popular and so are their companion films: the Fujifilm Instax film and Fujifilm Instax Mini film.


The name Polaroid is sometimes synonymously used with instant camera. That is probably because of their reputation of being the oldest company selling instant cameras and films. The company believes in emerging new technologies, trends and perpetually evolving the digital world through cameras, consumer electronics and instant photography. Thus, it intended to manufacture Polaroid digital cameras. In 2008, when it was announced that Polaroid no longer would produce instant cameras in the face of the popularity of digital cameras, there was an outrage amongst photographers who argued of the unique and irreplaceable medium, resulting in pushing Polaroid to back down their decision. Just like Fujifilm, Polaroid camera films are also very popular.


Impossible is a company that is exclusively focused on producing only the finest instant cameras. They are experts in producing cameras, films and accessories for analog instant photography.

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User Friendliness:
The user friendliness of the camera are the features it contains that make them easy to be used by anyone.
Shutter Speed:
The duration or the length of time the camera’s shutter is open when taking a photograph is known to be its shutter speed.
Brightness Adjustment Dial:
It is a special feature in some cameras that guide the user in creating good photos by dominating the dial that adjusts the brightness.
Process Time:
Time taken for a picture to fully develop into a flawless photograph is known as its process time.

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Still have questions or need more information on instant photography? Contact us so we can help!