In this time of fleeting Snapchats and constant social media updates, there is still something to be said for holding an actual photo in your hand. Now that everyone has a camera on their phone, we take so many more photos that the idea of sorting through them and choosing what to print seems like more effort than it’s worth. Sure we can save them to our computer, but when have you ever looked back through them? I, for one, never have.
Enter the polaroid (or rather, re-enter?). At a time when what’s old is new again, the re-emergence of “polaroid cameras” strikes a happy balance between printed photos and the instant gratification we’re so accustomed to. There’s no doubt that you’ve seen the colourful Instax cameras around, but did you know that Fujifilm also made a smartphone-compatible polaroid printer? If you’re not sure which product is right for you, you’re in luck! I’m going to break it all down and compare my little sister’s Instax Mini 8 camera with my Instax Share Printer.
Ease of Use
Instax Mini cameras are very straightforward. Anyone can point, shoot and within a few seconds have a print. I think it’s important to note that you can’t use the Instax Share Printer unless you have access to a smartphone or tablet with the Instax Share App (Apple and Android, no desktop version at the moment). Winner: Instax Mini
The Instax Mini is adorable and looks great on instagram flat-lays. While the printer’s new SP-2 design is an improvement, it still doesn’t hold a candle to the colourful camera. Now if they re-designed the printer to be cuter and ultimately more “instagrammable”, I think there would be a clear winner. The company could easily reshape its white, rectangular exterior into something showcasing their iconic photo border, or better yet, a smaller, non-functioning version of the camera. Hint, hint. Winner: Instax Mini
Instax Mini cameras (8 & 9) are sold for around $70 USD in Best Buy, while the newest Instax Printer (SP-2) is $200 USD. Winner: Instax Mini
+ I recommend waiting for a sale, or checking Amazon for a better deal. When making my decision, other reviewers mentioned that there wasn’t much of a difference between the SP-1 and SP-2, so I decided to get the SP-1 and use the money I saved to buy extra film cartridges 🙂
While more expensive at first, the Instax printer lets you preview the photo within the frame. Since you only print what you are happy with, this may save you money over time since you’ll have fewer do-overs. At around $1 per print, re-takes add up quickly. Winner: Instax Printer
My sister’s biggest gripe with the Instax Mini is that it is SO BULKY. The 4.6 x 4.7 x 2.7 inch camera takes up the majority of space in her purse, and she’s SOL if the perfect moment comes up but she didn’t bring it with her. On the other hand, I love that with the printer, you can take photos as usual with your smartphone and print them out when you get home. On the rare occasion when you need to print while out, you could still pack the printer, which also runs slightly smaller at 4.8 x 4 x 1.65 inches. Winner: Instax Printer
Since both gadgets leave you with the same polaroid at the end of the day, I think that deciding between the two is a matter of individual preference. If initial cost is a consideration, the Instax Mini is definitely the way to go. It’s easy to use, significantly cuter, and actually gives you the “instant photo experience”. However, IMO, the Instax Share Printer is a better investment. I didn’t mind spending a bit more as long as I could print past memories (they’re fun to give with cards and presents), but it was key that I didn’t have to always lug the camera around. While my little sister still loves her bright yellow camera, she does agree that the convenience of the printer wins out in the end.