A list of the best instant cameras to gift for the holidays or to buy for yourself! It includes the latest instant cameras and printers from Fujifilm and Canon.

By: Cheryl Lynne Azarraga

As long as this year felt, somehow it wasn’t long enough to get all your holiday shopping done in time. The good news is that we have come up with a list of instant cameras that you can purchase as seamlessly as snapping a picture.  Now, you may wonder what makes an instant camera the perfect gift?

Polaroids have that nostalgic appeal for those of us of a certain age, but the newer crop of instant cameras and printers use updated technology. What makes instant cameras the perfect gift is that it is universal — who doesn’t take pictures? Secondly, it is a great way to enjoy photography in its purest form: creating a snapshot in time without having to worry about settings or exposure. No matter which model you choose, you will be giving the gift of memory.  

Below are some of the most highly recommended instant cameras and photo printers you can give (or get yourself!) this holiday season.



1. Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera

One of Fujifilm’s playful cameras, it has the ability to record audio via a dedicated sound located in front of the camera. The audio clip is converted into a QR code, which is printed into the Instax print. Perfect for capturing the magical sounds of Christmas, like laughters, carols, Christmas melodies. 

Canon is also competing with the famous Fujifilm when it comes to instant cameras. Canon's new Ivy Cliq uses a technology called Zink, which is shorthand for "zero ink." It produces more traditional prints, similar to what you'd get from a professional printer (but without the professional quality).



2. Canon IVY CLIQ+2 Instant Camera Printer

This instant camera + printer is equipped with an eight-megapixel camera and a selfie mirror surrounded by a glowing LED ring light. It is controlled by connecting your smartphone to the Canon Mini Print app, letting users customize and personalize their prints. The app is also packed with fun filters and borders, available for seasonal and celebratory themes. Users also have the option to print from an SD card and Live View allows users to check the image before clicking. The camera itself includes landscape, portrait, and selfie modes.


3. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Instant Film Camera

The SQ6 captures the beauty of each memorable moment. At 1.3 times the size of instax mini prints, there's plenty of room to set the scene. It comes with a Selfie Mode & Selfie Mirror with automatic brightness and focal length adjustment, and a Macro Mode which allows you to capture subjects within a range of 10 to 20 inches. Landscape Mode is ideal for capturing subjects at a distance of at least six feet away. For the artsy folks, there is the Double Exposure mode where you press the shutter twice to capture a shot with two images in the same print. Lighten and Darken Modes control the brightness of your photo and add a low-key or high-key effect.



4. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 Instant Camera

This model makes use of the brand's Instax Square format film. This new camera is a lot like shooting with the retro, bulkier version of the Instax Mini 9, 10, and 11. Shooting with the Instax Square SQ1 is incredibly straightforward. Simply turn the camera on, look through the viewfinder, and press the shutter on the front grip of the camera. If you're shooting a selfie, use the small mirror on the front of the lens to frame the shot. The only downside on this camera is that it lacks the creative modes, like double exposure or lighten/darken, but it’s a great gift for someone who is just starting out in capturing authentic pictures!



5. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Film Camera

The Instax Mini 11 is powered by two AA batteries and is at the affordable end of instant photography. Despite the plastic build, big buttons and bright colors offer both visual appeal and simplicity for the nimble-fingered. It includes a built-in flash that fires every time and a front mirror for selfies. The button placement makes for a convenient snap while shooting modes are selected with a twist of the camera’s lens. Close-ups of one foot away from the subject are also possible.

While smartphones have given us a camera you can stick in your back pocket, they can’t print out your photos instantly, lacking the magic and charm of an instant camera. One of the few film camera types to still exist, instant cameras give you that fun polaroid-style buzz of being able to instantly see your photos printed out and shared. Life comes at you fast, and sometimes we don’t know a moment until it’s gone. So make the best of it and try to capture the moment as best as you can: authentically and in print.