It would not be wrong to say that instant cameras give us the instant gratification of seeing and holding a physical photo. Imagine this—you capture a memorable moment of your life, and instead of storing it away in a deep corner of your phone's storage, you can actually hold the frozen moment in your hand. However, not all instant cameras are built equal. Cameras like the Lomo'Instant Automat is built for photography enthusiasts and are not meant for little kids. Simultaneously, some instant cameras have a big build and can be convenient for the little ones to hold. That's where we come in.
If you are a frequent Guiding Tech reader, you must already know that we do regular roundups of instant cameras, mobile printers, and security cameras, among others.
So, if you are in the market looking for some cool instant cameras for kids in 2020, here are our recommendations. But before that,
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 churns out square-shaped photos and is meant for older kids and young adults. This is a film-based instant camera and uses Fujifilm's instant Instax film. With the Instax Square SQ1, the company has done away with the complexities of manual exposure and has instead introduced automatic exposure. This translates into a simple point & shoot camera where all you need to do is frame your shot and click on the shutter button.
Other than the above, it bundles a neat Selfie mode and Close-focus mode. For instance, if you have to capture a selfie, all you need to do is pull the lens barrel gently, point the camera towards yourself (and smile), and click the shutter button.
As noted earlier, the photos are bright and vivid and have an 'almost' natural color reproduction.
Do note that the Instax Square SQ1 has a bit boxy design and may not be suitable for kids with small hands.
If the camera's size is really a concern, the Canon IVY CLIQ+ is the best one from the lot. This Canon instant camera is sleek and bundles a compact form factor, making it easy for kids to hold it. Unlike the SQ1 above, this is a digital instant camera and doesn't rely on traditional films to develop the photos. The IVY CLIQ+ uses Zink tech or Zero Ink technology to print photos.
And before you have second thoughts, let me tell you that Zink photos are smudge-free, waterproof, and have an adhesive layer at the back. The latter makes it easy to stick photos to scrapbooks and journals. More importantly, the photos appear bright and natural, and the odds are that your kids will love the outcome.
Unlike the Instax Sq1, the IVY CLIQ+ has a bevy of additional features. This digital camera comes with an external storage option, and the memory can be extended up to 64 GB via a MicroSD card. Quite naturally, you will have a digital backup of your precious memories, and if the need arises, you can have them printed via a traditional photo printer.
Plus, there's a nifty reprint button on the camera which lets you print a second copy of the same photo, thereby giving the little one an option to share a duplicate photo with their friends.
The Polaroid Originals Now is the new iteration in Polaroid's instant camera lineup and it packs a punch. From dramatic double-exposure shots to the advantage of autofocus, it brings a lot to the table. Apart from that, you get a nifty selfie-timer. The Originals Now have most instant cameras because the photos are fairly big in size, thus making them perfect for journals and scrapbooks. And yes, it's a film based camera and uses i-Type films and classic 600 films for the photos.
The Polaroid Now brings home a neat autofocus feature. Depending on the object's distance, the lens switches between 35mm and the 40mm to help render a better shot.
Speaking of shots, it renders detailed and clear photos with almost perfect color reproduction.
Do note that there's no Bluetooth connectivity. Also, it bundles a rather boxy look and may not be convenient for young kids to hold or carry it. On the upside, if you have a photography enthusiast kid in mind, the Polaroid Originals would make the perfect gift for them, especially if you can get a discount on it.
Fujifilm's new iteration of its instant camera lineup packs some pretty amazing features. For one, it's affordable and has the right balance of features-to-price. Like the SQ1, this one is based on films, and the good news is that Fujifilm has made the operation simple and straightforward in this variant. This means you won't find any metering LEDs on the lens barrel. Yep, you read that right. Now you no longer have to fiddle with the lens. Instead, you have to point and shoot, and that's about it. The camera will take care of the rest.
The Instax Mini 11's lens has a neat selfie mirror at the front and comes with a dedicated selfie mode. Like the SQ1, you simply have to pull out the lens to push the camera into the Selfie mode and Close-focus mode.
Compared to its predecessor, Fujifilm has upped its game when it comes to the photo output. The photos are bright, vivid, and clear and have a natural vibe to them. The flash always stays on and you needn't worry about the exposure. In fact, the Mini 11 shoots visible backgrounds as well. In case you remember, the Mini 9 use to capture almost black backgrounds (see Polaroid Now vs. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11).
Mini 11 uses two AA batteries, and a pair should get through 10 packets of a film before calling it a day.
Another instant camera in the budget segment is the Kodak Printomatic. The first thing you will notice about it is its small and sleek form factor. Secondly, it's a simple camera with a straightforward interface. There are no hassles of exposure adjustment or the likes. And both the compact form factor and the simple features make it ideal for kids.
Since it's a digital camera, you get the advantage of storing a backup of your photos on an external memory card. The Printomatic's digital photos have a decent resolution and yield photos around 3680 x 2760 pixels.
More importantly, this is a Zink based printer, and it delivers decent prints for the price. Though the color reproduction is mostly accurate, the saturation is on the lower end.
Last but not least, the Kodak Printomatic also lets you capture black-and-white photos. There's a neat slider at the side that lets you enter the world of Black & White photos.
So far, the cameras mentioned above are targeted at kids over 11 years of age. However, if you have a younger kid, the Dragon Touch Instant Camera makes a good buy. This one is designed for kids and has a chunky yet durable design. Moreover, there's a neat screen at the back of the camera to help the little ones frame their shots better.
One of the biggest limitations of this camera is that it prints only black and white photos. On the bright side, you do not have to deal with the hassles of film printers or toners and inks, for the Dragon Touch camera utilizes zero ink tech.
But at the end of the day, you can consider it more as a play camera for kids. You will get a physical photograph to hold in your hands, and that's about it.
If you like the form factor of the iPhone XS, you will fall in love with the Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Camera. This digital instant camera has an excellent form factor making it easy to hold and carry. In fact, the slim profile means kids can slip it into their pockets or bags. The wide strap helps to carry it around comfortably.
Like some of the cameras in this list, this one also uses Zink tech to print photos. Two of the features that makes it a tad different from the other cameras in this lineup is the Selfie Timer and the Color Mode.
Yeah, the Polaroid Mint bundles a 10-second selfie timer that lets you pose for selfies. And the selfie mirror helps its cause. Cool, right? At the same time, this instant camera lets you switch between Color, Sepia, and Monochrome modes. You just have to press a button and that's about it. Quite naturally, this gives you run fun experiments with different photos.
It has all the other features associated with instant digital cameras, such as rechargeable batteries and expandable memory.
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Pose, Smile, Click!
Before you get an instant camera, you have to consider that instant cameras, be it a film-based one or a Zink-based one, the output won't be as sharp and detailed as the photos churned out by DSLR cameras.
With that in mind, which of these instant cameras will you get this holiday season? Will you pick the tried and tested Instax Mini camera or opt for the popular Polaroid camera?
Should you buy a mobile printer like the Polaroid Zip or the HP Sprocket 200? From the next link, check the our comparison of both to figure out the best one for your needs.
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