Fujifilm Polaroid Camera – Complete Buying Guide

Hello Everyone

Do you remember your granddad owning an instant camera? Well, many of you might, because it was a fascinating camera. You click a picture and immediately it is printed. It was almost magical, then. Over time, as the camera technology improved, there was a shift in popularity. People were attracted towards digital cameras, where you could take hundreds of photos without worrying about the film, development, and cost. Polaroids were kind of lost during that period.Today, even though the digital camera is irreplaceable, there is a developing market for Polaroids. Especially, the young ones who are born in this digital age and have never seen an analog machine are mesmerized when someone clicks their picture and almost instantly hands them over a printed version of it.

The most significant contribution to this trend shift is of Fujifilm. Although there are some other Polaroid manufacturers too, like Leica, Polaroid, Lomo, Kodak, the biggest player right now is Fujifilm. The company has truly revived the old spirit of instant cameras and is doing an amazing job with its products. So, in this buying guide, we are going to look at the top Fujifilm Polaroid cameras and discuss them in detail.

Why You Should Get a Polaroid?

Owning a Polaroid camera is exciting and fun. The first Polaroid was demonstrated on 21 February 1947!! So yeah, it is an old concept but Polaroids have changed over the years, they have been digitized, modernized and made better. The new Instax or the Leica Sofort is a remake of the original Polaroid camera, so it’s like owning a piece of history. I know it sounds exaggerated but, you will understand what I mean if you have ever used a Polaroid. If not, get one!

The Fujifilm Instax is a unique camera. The real magic is in the film. There are three types of films from Fuji – the mini, wide, and the square. If you notice, the film has a small pocket of chemical on the downside of the frame. Those chemicals are electrically activated when exposed to light. When you click an image, a blank piece of paper rolls out. After a few minutes, an image develops magically onto the paper. Have a look at this cute video.

The film is a bit expensive but it depends on your locale. For example, in the UK, it costs about 15 pounds for a set of 20 but here in India, it is about a 1000 rupees (11 pounds) for the same set. This makes you very selective about taking photographs. Nevertheless, once you get a hang of it, it is so much fun to have this little gadget in parties, family reunions, birthdays and more.

People often misrepresent it as a toy or a gimmick, but let me clear any doubts, it is not a toy, just a very basic camera. The newer versions of the Instax is high-end cameras with advanced features like wireless sharing, adding filters, selective printing, double exposure, etc. Well, obviously it is not a camera for the pros but lets be honest, isn’t it worth owning?

1. Instax LiPlay – The High-Tech Polaroid

The smallest, lightest and the most advanced Instax -The LiPlay is the latest addition to the Instax camera lineup. Though it is quite small, it packs a bunch of very good and attractive features. The camera is compact enough to fit in your pocket but has enough memory to store 45 images without an SD card (yes, you can expand the memory too). The camera is available in three colors. It charges via a micro-USB (takes 2-3 hrs for a full charge) and can 100 images before it runs out of juice.

Image Sensor: 5 megapixel | Storage: Built-in memory (upto 45 shots), micro SD / micro SDHC memory card | Focal Length: 28mm | Aperture: f2.0 | Autofocus:Single AF | Shutter Speed: 1/4- 1/8000 (sec) | ISO: 100-1600 (auto) |Self Timer: Yes | Screen: 2.7″ TFT | Weight: 255gm | Dimensions: 82.5 x 122.9 x 36.7 mm

For a full list of specifications, click here

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The most interesting feature of LiPlay is sound recording. The camera can record sounds and it is embedded as QR codes on your printed photo. To play, the sound all you need to do is scan the code on your mobile using the Instax app and there you have it. Another interesting feature is the remote shutter release. Using your mobile phone, you can click pictures with this camera over a Bluetooth connection. It gives you a lot of flexibility (especially when you can print the pictures selectively). Along with this, there are 30 beautiful frames and fun filters which can be accessed on the app. The lens allows you to focus as close as 10cm from the subject which is good for close up shots and the printer can print your photos in less than 12 seconds.

2. Instax Square SQ20 – Feature Packed Polaroid

The Instax Square SQ20 is a significant upgrade from the SQ10 Polaroid. The SQ20 is a part of the Instax square lineup of camera. It is clear from the name itself that it prints square photos on a square film. This camera packs a lot of features in its square body. It has a number of modes to click a picture. The most innovative one is the movie feature. It lets you shoot a 15-second video and you can then print the frame which you want to. Along with this, there is a collage mode and a double exposure mode too.

Image Sensor: 1/5″ CMOS | Storage: Built-in memory (upto 50 shots), micro SD / micro SDHC memory card | Focal Length: 33mm | Aperture: f2.4 | Autofocus: Single AF | Shutter Speed: 1/2- 1/800 (sec) | ISO: 100-1600 (auto) |Self Timer: Yes | Shooting mode: Standard, Double exposure, Bulb mode, Split, Collage, Time Shift Collage | Screen: 2.7″ TFT | Weight: 440gm | Dimensions: 119 mm x 50 mm x 127 mm

For a full list of specifications, click here

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The camera comes in two colors: Matte Black & Beige. One distinguishing feature is the bulb mode which is mostly found on professional cameras. In this mode, the shutter remains open as long as the shutter button is pressed. Also, it comes with very interesting functions like selective coloring, vignette and a range of filters. Other features include a selfie mirror on the front of the camera and it is the first Instax camera to allow zoom (upto 4x).

3. Instax Wide 300

The Wide 300 is a bulky device but feels comfortable while shooting. It produces large-sized prints (well, comparatively). Though it does not have a lot of features like the above two, it is a great camera for parties, reunions and several other occasions. The camera has a tripod socket, which in my opinion is almost never used. Also, don’t get confused by the name wide, the lens is not a wide-angle lens, it only prints larger photos.

Shutter Speed: 1/64- 1/200 (sec) | ISO: Auto | Weight: 612gm | Dimensions: 167.8mm x 94.7mm x 120.9mm | Power Supply: 4 AA batteries (last upto 100 shots).

For a full list of specifications, click here.

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The back of the camera is fairly simple. It has a small LCD display which shows the image count and the flash control. Unlike the other two, you cannot print images that you want. It has no memory and thus will print everything which you shoot. The film size is about 85mm x 108mm which is almost the size of a regular print. The colors are beautiful on this device and it lets you choose between three exposure modes – Light, Normal, and Dark. It is a very basic camera but the larger prints attract many people.

4. Instax Mini 90

The Instax Mini 90 has a traditional camera look and was the first camera that had rechargeable batteries. The camera has subtle controls like exposure compensation, flash modes, and a range of different shooting modes. From the sample pictures, it was clear that the party, landscape, and macro modes do work to some extent. The image quality was visibly enhanced when the subject was matched with the shooting mode (e.g- landscapes in landscape mode). Like the SQ20, it also has a bulk and a double exposure mode.

Shutter Speed: 1/8- 1/400 (sec) | ISO: Auto | Aperture: Auto | Weight: 296gm | Dimensions: 113.4mm x 91.9mm x 57.2mm | Power Supply: Rechargeable Battery (lasts upto 10 packs) | Flash Control: Yes

For a full list of specifications, click here.

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The camera has a nice little tripod socket, which again is rarely used. The back of the camera has a battery holder, a small LCD and a number of buttons to toggle between various modes and flash functions. Though it does not have any zoom nor it allows any wireless transfers, still, the camera is a much better option than the Mini 9 or 8. The camera comes with a nice carrying strap.

5. Instax Mini 70

The last in this series but definitely a powerful Polaroid, the mini 70 comes in 6 striking colors and has a number of good features to talk about. The selfie mode enables you to frame your shot perfectly using a small mirror located on the front of the camera. The high-performance fill-in flash is a nice addition; it helps you to capture frames in low light with automatic exposure control.

Shutter Speed: 1/2- 1/400 (sec) | ISO: Auto | Aperture: Auto | Weight: 281gm | Dimensions: 99.2×113.7×53.2mm | Power Supply: 2 CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries (lasts upto 30 packs of film) | Flash Control: Automatic

For a full list of specifications, click here.

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Some other features include Macro mode, Landscape mode, and a tripod socket. While comparing it to the Mini 9 or 8, I found the Mini 70 to be better in terms of built quality and performance. Both of them use the standard mini film but somehow the pictures were better with the 70. Also, the Mini 70 feels a tad bit more professional than the squeaky Mini 9. All in all, it is a great shooter and you won’t regret it in case you choose to buy.

Final Verdict

Shot by a dear friend of mine at the Cairo International Airport in 2018.

In my opinion, those are the top 5 Fujifilm instant cameras which are available right now in the market. I have
ranked each of the 5 cameras according to the features they offer and only after analyzing the pros and cons of each one. Honestly, if I had to buy only one of the Instax cameras, I would go for the SQ20 because of the many features that it offers. But that’s just me if you like the Mini 70, just go ahead with it.

I hope you read the article thoroughly and some of you might be waiting to get one for yourself. You should do it right away from the orange buy button. If not, well, I hope you enjoyed reading this article on the Fujifilm Polaroid cameras. Keep checking for more such content.

If you have any questions, queries, feedback or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.


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21 Responses

  1. Thank you. Thanks also for including the links to buy it and different countries. I didn’t know that it was a different website to buy it from Amazon in a different country. My sister likes photography and she has the Instax Square SQ20. She says it is one of her favorite cameras.

    I have a question because it says your website is about tripods. I like to sometimes record myself in the gym to check my form and also because It helps me get extra enjoyment out of my work out. Now are there some good Universal tripods that I could get that would fit pretty much any camera? And ones that would be good for using in the gym, if there are any special considerations needed for that.

    thanks for your expertise in cameras and tripods. Talk to you next time.

  2. What a great article!
    I’ve enjoyed reading it very much and learned a lot.
    I remember my dad used to develop the pictures by himself back in the days when there was a limited amount of pictures at your disposal and you’d have to carry the small barrels of films wherever you went with a camera… Yeah, nostalgy 🙂

  3. I am too young to even remember polaroid cameras, but I think they have a special charm. With the models you reviewed here, you can get the vintage look of a traditional polaroid camera with the perks of newer technology. Thanks for sharing this different mode of photography.

  4. Memories are great but so much better if it’s captured! Polaroid cameras has been enjoyed by many. I would like to have one for myself that I can share with my kids. Unlike digi cams or phone cams, polaroid gives you instant satisfaction of seeing your pictures in essence. 

    Among your suggestions, I simply like the aesthetics of Instax Liplay. I always bring a small handbag with me and it’a good thing that it’s size won’t matter in a small bag. I am not much into specification as long as it does its job well. Honestly, I get too confused, impatient and intimidated with too much options for settings. To use it well, I want it as simple as possible. Thanks for sharing these great Fujifilm Polaroid Cameras. It’s still great to compare features and specification so buyers can really choose one that they like best for themselves or for gifting. 

  5. I am forty years old and this post has brought me to my youth. In the family we always had a Polaroid but with the introduction of digital cameras I thought that this type of cameras would go by the wayside. Thanks to Shashwat for sharing this beautiful post, well written and the reviews are well done. I will definitely buy one to let my children experience what I did as a child.

  6. Excellent article you have written up here and I surely enjoyed reading it very much because I learned a lot. Back then, I could remember how my mum developed pictures by herself without anyone’s help and she usually transport her polaroid camera’s films alongside the camera to wherever she was going due to lack of pictures at the time. Wow! You did reviewed the vintage. Great post

  7. Thank you for the really detailed reviews of those cameras. It’s really cool that Polaroids are making a comeback, a bit like vinyl records  are in music. I do remember an old Polaroid camera that my dad had which I remember when I was young thinking was really amazing! Digital cameras can be great but they don’t have the same magic in my opinion. Thanks a lot 

  8. Hi Shashwat,

    Thanks for this great article. I wanted to buy an old fashioned camera for my dad’s birthday. My dad is an old-style who hate anything ‘smart’ and even refuse to use a smartphone to use as a Skype phone. I am greate I came across your site, while on a search for a reliable birthday gift camera for my dad.

    Could you let me know out of your five recommendations which camera would be simplest to use? Something with autofocus would be handy.


    1. They all come with inbuilt automatic autofocus systems. I would recommend the Mini 70 in this case. It is easy to use and has very basic operations. He’ll love it surely!

  9. Yeah, while reading your post, I fell in love with the sq20 and honestly, the camera is a very good pick. I have seen some people making use of the instant camera but I didn’t know it used film or anything. It is really a renaissance of the old cameras we all knew.  I think I’ll get one of this and use it for fun. Thanks a lot.

  10. Hello

    Very interesting topic. Great article!

    I recently had a chat with a friend about taking a photo with her cellphone, and she told me she had the perfect shot,
    I believe, as I said, that in order to capture a photo with beautiful colors and sharpness we will have to use a camera only.

    The Instax Mini 70 impressed me in the selfie mode that allows you to perfectly capture shooting as well as low light conditions with automatic exposure control,
    I believe it is a machine that can offer many features together.

    Thanks a lot for this interesting post

  11. This article is wonderful, as it has taken me on a trip down memory lane. I was transported immediately back to the late 1970’s. I had been given a Polaroid camera by a friend of the family. It wasn’t new so I guess they no longer wanted it, probably due to the cost of the film, which then was even more expensive. I remember mithering my Mother until she finally took me into town and we bought a film from one of the high street shops. I think it was the only one we did buy due to cost.

    I still have a couple of the photos to this day. As a child, there was something magical about pressing a button and a few seconds later having a picture, although back then you had to manually pull the developing photograph out of the camera. It was big and had a huge lense, it was quite ‘Sci-fi’ looking. Maybe that’s what got me into cameras, I had a small collection of the old ‘Box’ cameras. We still have one somewhere and it probably still works as well as ever. Thank you for giving me another look at those memories. 

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