Thanks to smartphones, capturing photos was never easier. All you need to do is aim, shoot, and voila! But if you think about it, digital photos rob you of the feeling of actually holding a physical photo in your hands. And that's when instant cameras come into the picture. Most instant cameras have introduced a host of new & interesting features that adds to the fun quotient, and self-timer (or selfie timer) is one of them.
With most cameras giving you an 8-10 second interval, all you need to do is point the camera towards yourself and click away. And it gets even better if the camera has a selfie mirror.
If you are looking for instant cameras with a decent self-timer in 2020, here are the best ones. But before that,
If you want your photo prints to stand out a little from the regular crop of credit card-sized photos, you should check out the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6. As suggestive of its name, this one churns out adorable 2.4 x 2.4-inch photos. Yep, just like the old-school Instagram posts. The Square SQ6 is a simple film-based camera that is easy to use. It has a slew of modes for you to experiment with the cool double exposure mode.
And if that was not enough, it also comes with a cool exposure compensation feature to let you lighten or darken photos. As for selfies, the Square SQ6 packs a selfie mirror at the front. Like phone selfies, you will need to press on the self-timer button at the back and hold the camera at arm's length.
The timer gives you ten-seconds to frame your shot, and the good thing is that it works on the other modes as well. The fact that the camera is easier to hold makes capturing selfies a walk in the park.
When it comes to quality, it's safe to say it is great. The exposure and saturation levels are nearly accurate. Quite obviously, you will need to invest some time (and films) before you land up with the perfect shot.
Though its a wee bit old, the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant (phew, quite a mouthful) has managed to earn pretty great reviews until now. The best part is that it looks great, thanks to its slight curvy look and rounded edges. It houses a 60mm mechanically-operated lens that manages to churn out pretty decent pictures. The best part is that it's easy to operate and doubles up as a point & shoot camera. Its specialty is that it gives you more control over image exposure.
It lets you switch between the macro and landscape modes swiftly. More importantly, there's a dedicated button for the selfie timer. So next time you are ready for a selfie, press it and point the camera towards you and say cheese.
The Instax Mini 90 churns out some great natural-looking photos with accurate skin tones, you'll end up with some natural and great-looking photos, and several user reviews on Amazon have backed that.
Of course, you won't get quality like digital cameras, and that's the compromise you have to make while buying an instant camera. Should you buy it, you have to keep in mind to keep the flash on when you click once the small f/12.7 fixed aperture results in darker images otherwise.
With a wide-angle lens and a unique form factor, the Lomo'Instant Automat is suitable for the film photography enthusiasts. It relies on instant film and well, delivers better than most cameras in its league. You can also play with the colored filters or go for some adapter lenses if you are looking to spice up your photos. Compared to other cameras, it looks a bit unusual. However, you can rest assured that the output is worth the money.
Interestingly, here the shutter button acts as a selfie mirror, and there's no dedicated power switch. To switch it on, you'll need to twist the lens. Another interesting aspect is that you can manually adjust the focus. So yeah, you will need some time in gauging the focusing distance to get it right.
Thankfully, the results of this instant camera are impressive. The photos are crisp, bright, and vivid. Typical of most cameras, here too, you will have to play with the exposure modes to get fruitful results.
The Lomo'Instant Automat is powered by two CR2 batteries, which can prove to be a bit difficult to find.
Do you want an instant camera to take you back in time? If yes, you can check out the Polaroid OneStep 2. This instant camera boasts of a retro 1970s design and the classic vintage Polaroids. With thick bold borders, the polaroids will take you back in time. Safe for the quirky color combinations and the USB port on the side, one might even mistake it for an original Polaroid camera. Jokes aside, this one churns out classic vintage-style photos with a slightly dark theme.
It also bundles quite a few traits of modern digital cameras, and one of them is the selfie timer. The timer gives you a buffer time of 8 seconds before it captures the frame in front of it.
Like most of the cameras in this list, it uses instant film to generate photos. Naturally, you won't find the crisp and vivid details that your smartphone camera or DSLR spits out. Instead, they will have the raw look of good old polaroids with a vignette theme.
However, the bulky body can be a bit of an issue, especially if you think of gifting it to a kid, as it's too big for their little hands.
The Canon Ivy Cliq and the Cliq+ were launched to take on the popular Instax Mini 9, and it has fared well. One of the highlights of this camera is its sleek and modern look. Unlike the boxy appearance of most cameras in this list, the Ivy Cliq+ is extremely slim and looks like a modern-day digital camera. Instead of relying on traditional film, it opts for ZINK photo paper (more on that later).
The biggest extra that the Cliq+ brings to the table is its external storage. It lets you store your prints in an external memory card. So once you are done with your shoot, you can transfer the photos to your laptop. It also comes with a nifty reprint button. Plus, the ability to connect to the companion app via Bluetooth sweetens the deal, since you can select photos from your phone to be printed.
Unlike traditional films, ZINK photo paper is generally considered inferior to instant films since the photos tend to appear dark and grainy. Thankfully, the Canon Cliq+ delivers great results, with the photos being punchy and vivid.
It's not without its share of flaws. For one, the slim and sleek body means that there's no display on the camera body to view your shots.
The Polaroid Now is one of the newest Instant cameras to hit the market in 2020. This quirky camera brings several interesting features to the mix and one of the most prominent features is the Autofocus mode. Once the lens detects the frame's subject, it switches automatically between the 35mm and the 40mm lens. Another thing worth writing about is its quirky body. Though it has an ergonomic build, the unique (and boxy) design is sure to attract its share of stares and compliments.
Unlike its predecessors, there's no Bluetooth. That means you don't get any option to pair the camera with your smartphone. On the upside, you can experiment with different modes. For instance, you can capture dramatic double-exposure shots by pressing on the selfie-timer twice.
The Now bundles the selfie timer at the front. It gives you approximately 9 seconds to frame the shot and smile. Strangely, there's no selfie mirror. So, you will have to rely on your instincts. Given that you will be playing with films, that's a tad heavy gamble to play.
You will see less of overexposed pictures coming to the photo quality, thanks to the better flash in place. It's designed to match the frame's exposure, meaning you will end up with clear photos with nearly accurate colors.
The Now has a rechargeable battery.
Did You Know; the Polaroid Now is the first instant camera to come out after Polaroid shut down its instant film production in 2008
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