At least in photography, what’s old is new again. In an age where nearly everyone has a top-notch, portable camera in their pocket with their smartphone, something interesting is happening.
Especially with children, instant cameras are becoming more and more popular. More than likely, you’ve probably seen a child walking around with an instant camera ready to snap a photo at a moment’s notice.
Along with a quick rundown on what exactly instant cameras are and how they differ from old-school technology, we’ll provide some great modern options for kids.
Why Should You Buy an Instant Camera?
The name Polaroid should sound familiar to those old enough. The one-time juggernaut made the instant camera hugely popular—well before the age of the digital camera. While it might not seem fascinating in today’s tech-filled society, the instant camera still holds a bit of its magical appeal.
First off, you’ll need to load the appropriate film for whatever camera you own. Then, after framing your shot in the viewfinder and pressing the shutter button, a nearly complete image develops, then exits its film slot. That’s when the real fun begins. You’ll usually need to wait anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute as the image slowly appears on the film.
Instant cameras and children are a great combination for a few reasons. Many kids are interested in taking great photos in the same way as their parents did. Along with ease of use, instant cameras help foster creativity in children, teach basic photography principles, and provide a better understanding of the world around them.
Fujifilm’s Instax 9 is a perfect instant camera for your kids. The camera is available in a number of fun hues, including pink, blue, green, and white. Oversized and comfortable to hold in smaller hands, the camera gets power from AA batteries, so there’s no need to worry about charging either.
The rear contains a film compartment, print indicator dials, and viewfinder. Inserting film takes just a few seconds and can even be done by kids with just a little practice. The front of the camera sports a flash, shutter button, lens, selfie mirror, and power button. When it comes time to take a photo, you can just line up the subject and push the shutter button.
Surprisingly, there are even a few more advanced features for children once they get a handle on the basics. The shutter speed is always fixed at 1/60th of a second, but the aperture can change using the brightness adjustment dial. The dial selects one of four possible choices: indoors, cloudy, cloudy and sun, and sunny.
The included close-up adapter that snaps onto the lens will allow your kids to take close-up photos of subjects from between 14 to 20 inches from the camera lens. Also, a special high-key mode will give pictures a cool softer appearance akin to a filter on Instagram or other social networks.
Along with the easy-to-use camera, there is a huge amount of different film kids can use; everything from a monochrome option that will print in black-and-white to borders that feature Star Wars characters. And there are also a lot of fun accessories for the cameras like cases and frames specifically for the 2×3-inch prints.
For a more advanced instant camera, the Polaroid Snap helps older kids explore the world of digital photography. Along with an instant print camera that produces 2×3-inch prints, the Snap features a 10-megapixel digital camera sensor that can capture images onto an optional microSD card of up to 32GB, making it easy to print and even share the image to social media later.
The special ZINK paper uses a thermal process to create the image in around a minute after snapping the picture. You can select from three different color modes: normal, black and white, or a vintage sepia tone. Your kids can print images with a Polaroid Classic Border Logo or just a plain shot.
Another great feature is the fun Photo Booth mode that takes six quick pictures in 10 seconds. Older children can even use the Snap’s timer to make sure they’re in the shot too. There are six different camera colors to select from: black, blue, red, pink, white, and purple.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is a great step up from company’s Instax Mini 9. Featuring a retro vibe, and available in either black or brown, the camera uses the usual 2×3-inch film. Thanks to an included rechargeable battery, you’ll save money in the long run compared to purchasing disposable cells.
Your budding photographers will definitely enjoy a number of fun shooting modes. Some of the best include a double-exposure mode that allows you to superimpose two different images on one frame, and a bulb exposure mode to show great night view and light trails.
You can attach an optional tripod to the socket mount for those longer exposure modes. Thanks to a handy dial on the lens, you can easily change modes and functions while looking through the viewfinder, making it easier to capture that perfect shot.
While the Kodak Smile Classic looks like an old-school instant print camera, it’s also packing some modern technology. Using ZINK paper, the camera can print out large 3.5×4.25-inch prints. You can also peel off the back of the prints for them to become stickers for scrapbooks or elsewhere.
The built-in rechargeable battery allows you to print up to 35 images on a single charge. There is even a pop-up flash to help brighten up images. And when your kids capture that perfect shot, it doesn’t have to be lost forever. With the built-in microSD slot, you can provide an optional card to save images for printing later.
Using the companion smartphone app, you can edit images and then print them out on the camera. You can also use the app as a remote control for the Smile Classic. There are four different colors to choose from; black, blue, green, or red.
Even if your kids have made the move to smartphone photography, they can still enjoy instant camera prints. The Fujifilm Instant SP-3 Mobile Printer uses square 2.4×2.4-inch film, which is perfect for Instagram photos.
You can transfer images to the printer via Wi-Fi or print directly from other apps, including Instagram, Facebook, and Dropbox. Before printing, you can also use the app to edit the images or select different templates. The built-in rechargeable battery allows you to take the printer anywhere too.
The Best Instant Cameras for Your Kids
As you can see, there are a large number of great options to help introduce children, both young and old, to the fun world of instant cameras. Hopefully, with a little time and practice, your child will be capturing photos like an expert.
And an instant camera isn’t the only way that your kids can have fun with technology. Take a look at some of the best drones for kids to take to the sky.