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Accessories of the past have become new trends: think bucket hats, friendship bracelets and even jelly shoes. Our nostalgia has reached even our tech, with instant cameras and flip phones becoming the envious accessories to own. Celebrities including Machine Gun Kelly and Taylor Swift have even been spotted using retro cameras rather than their smartphones, as it creates quick keepsakes.
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Snapping a pic on your smartphone may be the fastest way to take a photo, but instant cameras can capture spontaneous moments while creating tangible photographs you can hold in a matter of seconds.
Before adding a camera to your cart, there’s another popular model (disposable cameras), which may seem similar to an instant camera, but hold a major difference.
“Film in a disposable camera is 35mm film, which needs to be developed after the fact — either in a lab or through self-processing,” Holson explained. “An instant camera uses a self-developing film, which provides you with results within a few minutes.”
If you’re not looking to get too technical, then an instant camera will be more user friendly.
“Oftentimes, the [instant] camera makes decisions for you depending on the lighting conditions, and the on-board flash makes taking photos in low light relatively simple for beginners looking for results,” he added. “So, it’s truly a snap-and-go camera if that’s how you like to take images. The other benefit is that you get to see your photos very quickly.”
Holson prefers using an instant camera with auto-focus capabilities for professional use as it provides sharper images. And, if you “aren’t looking for sharpness, [you] should embrace the overall softness of instant cameras” as “there’s something cool and nostalgic about it,” he shared. Weight will also be a big factor to consider, as the lighter the camera, the easier it will be to take out and snap a pic.
Read on to shop his picks (and a few reviewer-loved ones) below.
Fujifilm Instax Mini EVO Hybrid Black Instant Camera
Holson’s favorite to use is the Fujifilm Instax Mini for its modern-meets-retro design and features.
It “allows you to take photos digitally then choose which ones to print,” he said. Plus, the digital library allows you to look through photos and print them as much as you want. The kit even comes with 10 lenses and film effects for further customization.
For a more budget-friendly model, the Polaroid Now+ is an instant camera Holson says is ideal for the “everyday person.” Connect it to the accompanying app to personalize photos and use different filters. It also comes with five lenses for further customization.
Mint Camera InstantKon RF70 Instant Film Camera
This splurge-worthy option is another Holson pick, as the InstantKon RF70 Instant Film Camera gives you fast photos using a glass lens rather than the common plastic one. Beginners can use a the auto-focus feature while more experienced photographers can take advantage of the manual options.
KODAK Mini Shot 2 Retro 4PASS 2-in-1 Instant Digital Camera
Kodak’s Mini Shot 2 is a compact instant camera reviewers are loving for its ability to easily slip into your purse or backpack. Whether you’re traveling or hosting a party with friends, you can snap a picture and within minutes, have it print out. You can even print photos from your phone or smart device, using its Bluetooth capabilities.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera
If you want to mix trendiness with photography, then consider the Fujifilm Instax 9 Camera. Reviewers love the picture quality and its ease of use. Just use the viewfinder in the top corner, push the button, and within minutes, your memory will be captured and printed.
Canon Ivy CLIQ+2 Instant Camera
The Canon Ivy CLIQ+2 Instant Camera combines modern looks with retro photos. Shoppers enjoy the pocket-size design and the peel-and-stick backing on the printed photos.