Are Polaroid and Fujifilm the Same: Which Camera is Better?

By Mark Plummer •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  7 min read
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Wanting to buy your first camera? I’m telling you, the instant camera is a great choice. But with a host of Fujifilm and Polaroid cameras on the market, you might wonder what the best instant camera is.

Are the most popular Fujifilm and polaroid cameras the same?

Are Polaroid and Fujifilm the Same
Are Polaroid and Fujifilm the Same?

The Polaroid camera and the Fujifilm Instax camera are not the same cameras. Despite being very similar, they belong to two separate companies with various cameras under those respective brand names.  

Polaroid CameraFujifilm Instax Camera
Founded in 1937Founded in 1934
Company: Polaroid CorporationCompany: Fujifilm
Origin: Massachusetts, United StatesOrigin: Tokyo, Japan

To the untrained eye, some of us might think that the Polaroid camera and the Fujifilm Instax camera are the same thing but keep reading to see how and why they are different to help you make the best decision.

What Are the Differences Between Polaroid And Fujifilm Instant Cameras?

What Are the Differences Between Polaroid And Fujifilm Instant Cameras
What Are the Differences Between Polaroid And Fujifilm Instant Cameras?

The most significant difference between the two instant camera brands is that Polaroid focuses primarily on making instant cameras their feature camera product. Fujifilm’s brand covers a broad range of different instant, digital, and film cameras. Here are a few critical differences between Polaroid and Fujifilm:

Founded in Massachusetts, United StatesFounded in Tokyo, Japan
Manufactured in ChinaManufactured in Tokyo and China
The first Instant Camera was made in 1948The first Instant Camera was made in 1981
Photography Products: Instant Cameras
Point and Shoot
Photography Products:
Instant Cameras
Point and Shoot
DSLR Cameras
Mirrorless Cameras
Quicksnap Flash Cameras
Film Cameras
Mirrorless Lenses
DSLR Lenses  

Instant Camera History

Instant Camera History
Instant Camera History

The History of Polaroid

Polaroid is the original form of the instant camera and was created in 1937 and manufactured in February 1942. This plays a significant role in whether the Polaroid camera and Fujifilm Instax are the same because every instant camera design is based on the original Polaroid camera. 

Because of this, and the Polaroid’s significance in providing a certain kind of vintage aesthetic, people often refer to any other instant camera as a Polaroid camera. But this same issue can be said for other products which face this confusion; for example, if you were to call a Canon a Nikon, you would instantly be corrected.

The History of Fujifilm 

Fujifilm was established in a very similar time frame to Polaroid in Japan just a few years earlier, in 1934. It started as a government plan to help create a domestic photography industry in Japan. 

Fujifilm first started with film, but in 1981 they followed the likes of Polaroid and Kodak and decided to introduce their instant camera to the world, Fotorama. Fujifilm got this name by combining the words photograph and panorama but most likely using an “F” for Fujifilm. 

And Unlike Polaroid’s square film, Fujifilm used a more rectangular film to enhance the panoramic effect. This was a great tactic as they wanted their film to be more available to the public than Polaroid’s exclusive film system.

In 1999, the Fujifilm Instax camera was born.

Originally Fujifilm wanted to release the Instax worldwide but decided to work on a combined project with Polaroid, the Mio.

The Mio, inspired by the Instax mini 10, was released in 2001 but failed to succeed in the market and was discontinued a few years later. Instax was first released with a wide film and struggled in the US market but was extremely popular in the Japanese market. 

In 2008, when Polaroid had been discontinued, Fujifilm began exporting a wider variety of pack films overseas with the Instax Wide and Instax 200. Their popularity in the US grew, and by the end of 2009, they reintroduced their mini-series, the Instax camera we all know and love today.

Polaroid vs Fujifilm Performance 

One of the most significant differences between Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax cameras is their performance in different lighting, the speed at which it develops, and the quality of the picture. 

The Fujifilm Instax camera is better than the Polaroid camera when capturing pictures in lower light settings.

Both brands come with flashes for a reason.

Still, when comparing their ISO equivalents, the measure of light sensitivity on the camera, the Polaroid has a slightly lower ISO equivalent of 640 than the Fujifilm Instax’s ISO equivalent of 800. What this means is that the Fujifilm Instax will be able to perform in less light better than the Polaroid would.

Another difference, the selling point for Fujifilm Instax, is that while Polaroid takes 15 – 30 minutes for the image to develop on the film, the Fujifilm Instax only takes an impressive 1 – 2 minutes. 

The quality of the picture produced by Polaroid and the Fujifilm camera determines who buys the camera.

The Fujifilm Instax’s images come out crisper and sharper, giving it an excellent modern take on the Polaroid’s more distinctively vintage look.


The price difference is usually a deciding factor when purchasing the Polaroid or the Fujifilm Instax camera. 

The Polaroid ranges from $99.99 for the Polaroid Go Instant Mini to $139.99 for the Polaroid One Step+; without any film. The Fujifilm Instax ranges from $72.49 for the Fujifilm Instax Mini to $229 for the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, also without film. 

Buying the camera is cheap, and when it comes to affordability, the consumer leans more towards Fujifilm Instax because it costs $13.98 for 20 pieces.

In contrast, Polaroid sits at a whopping $16.98 for only 8 pieces of film. Here’s my complete guide to Which Instant Camera Has The Cheapest Film?


Fujifilm Instax has a wider variety when it comes to film sizes. Still, Polaroid’s massive square size compared to Instax’s square film remains a winner for many photographers worldwide. It is one of the biggest reasons Polaroid still has such loyal users. 

Instant CameraFilm Size
Fujifilm Instax Mini3.33 x 2.13 inches
Fujifilm Instax Square2.83 x 3.39 inches
Fujifilm Instax Wide3.39 x 4.25 inches
Polaroid3.1 x 3.1 inches

What to Consider When Buying a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instant Camera?

What to Consider When Buying a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instant Camera
What to Consider When Buying a Polaroid or Fujifilm Instant Camera?

But when you are looking at buying one of these cameras, there are a few things to consider before spending the cash.

  • Your Budget – how much do you want to spend on this camera, and how much are you willing to pay on restocking the film (it’s an instant camera, not a digital one)? Fujifilm Instax will be the better option when considering which camera will be more affordable. The price is lower for the film, and you get more film. 
  • Your Photography experience and skills – if you’re a beginner or an expert will determine if you enjoy the process of appreciating the time it takes for the photo to develop or the way you need to adapt to different lighting; it’s either pure joy or extremely frustrating (so if you’re the latter go for the Fujifilm Instax Mini)
  • Your expectations – if you’re expecting a photo to pop out and develop in a few seconds, you need to lower your expectations because both brands take time. But Fujifilm Instax film takes significantly less time to develop and gives more crisp shots than the vintage Polaroid look. 

Polaroid Camera Options

Polaroid CameraBest ForPrice
Polaroid OneStep 2Beginners$69.99
Polaroid 600Beginners$129.99
Polaroid NowBeginners$129.99
Polaroid Lomography Lomo’InstantIntermediate or expert$89.00
Polaroid OneStep+Intermediate or expert$149.99
Polaroid SX-70Expert$429.99

Fujifilm Instax Cameras Options

Instax CameraBest ForPrice
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11Beginners$76.95
Fujifilm Instax Mini 70Beginners$119.95
Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Instant CameraBeginners$227.50
Fujifilm Instax WideIntermediate or expert$89.95
Fujifilm Instax Mini 70Intermediate or expert$119.95

Which Is Better: Polaroid or Fujifilm Instax?

For years, passionate photographers have heated debates; most will say it all comes down to personal photography preferences and what you want to do with the camera. 

There is no way to say which brand between Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax is better; if you want the vintage look, then it’s Polaroid hands down, but if you want a crisp shot developed at high speed; then the Fujifilm Instax is your best friend.

The most economical and convenient choice will point you toward the Fujifilm Instax camera.

Mark Plummer

Mark Plummer is a co-founder and blogger on Instant Cameras. Together with his wife, Susana, and daughter Scarlett he loves capturing special family moments with his Instax Mini 11. He is passionate about sharing knowledge and tips on Instax and Polaroid cameras through the Instant Camera Blog.

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