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The Instant Film Camera: Relive the Fun

Updated on February 17, 2018

The Instant Film Camera Isn't Gone

Instant film cameras have faded from the forefront of the market place as digital cameras have taken over for the average consumer. However, there are still models on the market that allow you to enjoy the ability to take shots and create prints instantly from the same device. Simple, spontaneous, creative, and fun.

Fujifilm and Polaroid are the primary manufacturers.

What Kind of Features to Instant Film Cameras Offer?

A good instant film camera should have:

  • an auto flash to help in low light situations
  • selectable shooting modes and exposure compensation to help you get better image quality from a variety of distances and changing lighting situations
  • perhaps a close up adapter
  • red-eye reduction
  • high ISO speed for improving performance in low light settings; such as indoors.

Overall, however, they are much more simple that the average digital camera and should be appreciated by those who like simplicity, novelty, or just old-fashioned fun.

The Advantages

So with all of the great features that a digital camera offers, why would you want an instant film camera?

One simple reason is nostalgia. The old Polaroids of yesteryear pack a lot of powerful memories for older folks, and for younger folks an attraction to "retro" isn't uncommon.

Another reason is fun. Instant film cameras are a bit of a novelty. They are often a bit larger than an ultra compact or compact digital camera so they grab everyone's attention and soon they want to snap some shots too.

Immediacy is another positive quality that attracts users to these devices. Although you can check out your photos on the LCD immediately after taking them on your digital camera, it's usually awhile before you get them to a printer in order to share or swap prints. With an instant film camera, your shot prints out immediately for all to see and enjoy.

How Can You Use an Instant Film Camera?

You can use an instant film camera for just about any of your casual photography needs but there are instances that make them the perfect choice:

These cameras can liven up a party, get your guests involved, and leave you with great memories of the event. Just leave your camera out and encourage guests to pick it up and capture the shots you'll all enjoy. Guests can also make notes on the prints to really capture the mood.

Just like parties, weddings provide another opportunity to get everyone involved in the memory making.

Like parties and weddings, a family reunion is a great place to use these handy cameras. In many cases there may be far-flung family members present that you seldom see. Being able to produce a print on the spot is ideal to assure everyone gets some shots before they walk away.

Classrooms and Class Trips
These quick little cameras are great for use in the classroom, where being able to snap a shot and use it or post it instantly are important.

Just About Any Situation with Kids as the Photographer
Young kids can have a lot of fun and learn a great deal through the lens of a camera. A camera that produces a print instantly can help them learn more about handling a camera properly. They can adjust distance, their camera hold, framing, and so forth with the immediate feedback a print offers on how well their previous effort turned out. For this reason, instant film models can make great cameras for kids.

But There are Drawbacks

Instant film cameras are great for many purposes, but if you choose one remember:

They generally aren't as small as a compact digital camera.

There is an expense to the film. In fact, Fujifilm and Polaroid are currently the only manufacturers of instant film.

These instant cameras do not offer all of the controls and features that the average digital camera does. You can't expect the same photo quality for this reason. This is especially true in low light situations such as indoors.

You can't edit these photos or print them in various sizes. You would have to scan them to share them online. In addition, print sizes are limited to just one or two sizes.


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    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 7 years ago

      Now I know what I would ask Santa for my Christmas gift, lol!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      I used to have Kodak instant. I think they subsequently lost a court case when Polaroid sued them. Anyway the camera was bulky but fun. Still have a box of the photos, which at the time I was told would not survive more than about 10 years. Well it's now more than 20 and they still look fine, though I have taken the precaution of scanning them all.

      Thanks for this interesting Hub.

      Love and peace


    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I remember those.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 8 years ago

      I had one as a kid and loved it. But, I know what ThePartyAnimal means, I'm so into the digital thing, it's easy to forget these other things still exist!

    • ThePartyAnimal profile image

      ThePartyAnimal 8 years ago

      Wow I almost forgot what they were - lol. Great tips and great use ideas.

    • lakeerieartists profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Instant cameras are really great if you are on a trip and don't want to lose a camera, or you need to get a camera for a child. We did that for my 11 year old and it worked great.