How to pick the right cheap instant camera for you

By Emma Johnson •  Updated: 12/18/17 •  13 min read
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After hours of cheap instant camera research and testing, we can say that the Fujifilm Instax Mini 26 outshines the competition. Click here to find out why.

Recently I have received a lot of emails from readers asking “where is the best place to buy a Cheap Instant Camera?”   

Cheap Instant Camera
The Best Cheap Instant Camera

In this article, I will address those questions by sharing unbiased and in-depth reviews of the best cheap instant cameras available in 2022 and talk you through the key design features of each camera and its advantages and disadvantages.

These reviews are based on endless hours of testing of the cameras, having reviewed the full spectrum of cheap instant cameras including various Fuji Instax Mini, Instax Wide, and Polaroid instant cameras.

In addition to reading the reviews below and full reviews of each camera (click the links at the end of each review), I would strongly encourage you to read the customer reviews on Amazon to give you the best information possible before choosing the cheap instant camera which will best suit your needs and budget.

Not what you’re looking for?  Try these instead:

Where to Buy a Cheap Instax Camera

#1 Instax Mini 26

Best Cheap Instant Camera

The Instax Mini 26 is, for some peculiar reason, one of the Fujifilm cheap instant cameras which has been kind of flying under the radar and has not received it’s due attention in the media.

While the Instax Mini 9 (see below) is a fantastic camera and great value, the Mini 26 offers more features (intelligent fill-in flash, adjustable color brightness and the ability to switch between shooting in portrait and landscape mode at the press of a button) AND it is selling for under $60 including 10 sheets of rainbow Instax Film.

Read the full review here.



  • Does not have as many settings features as the Instax Mini 70 or Mini 90

#2 Instax Mini 9

Cheap Instant Cameras under $100

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 instant camera is the latest addition to the Fujifilm Instax range, and was designed as a replacement to the now discontinued Instax Mini 8.

In a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” kind of approach, Fujifilm have (wisely) built on the immense success of the Mini 8 by making only minor modifications to the Mini 9 which include a selfie mirror and close-up lens attachment for shooting objects 35 to 50 cm (14 to 20 inches) away.

Read the full review here.


  • Rated 4.5 stars by Amazon users
  • Fun and easy to use
  • A great instant camera for adults and children alike


  • Not great for long-distance shots
  • Design aesthetic does not appeal to everyone
  • Upgrades are not sufficient to justify replacing your existing Instax Mini 8

#3 Instax Mini 70

Instax Mini 70 Cheap Instant Camera

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 is one of the newest addition to their instant camera range.  Its stylish design makes it a natural step-up model to the hugely popular Instax Mini 8.

Perhaps one of the nicest features of the Mini 70 is the ‘Selfie’ mode which is ideal if you love taking selfies.

Users can press the selfie button when shooting, so that the camera automatically adjusts the brightness and focal length so they are optimized for selfie shots.

One other neat feature is the the selfie mirror beside the lens which lets you check the framing to achieve the best angle for your selfie.

We also really liked the ‘self-timer’ mode which allows you to take group shots without leaving anybody out; this feature is something that not many of the best instant cameras have and is a real plus.

The camera has a lot of other great features including automatic exposure control and the new ‘Fill-in-Flash’ which you can read about here.


  • Stylish Design
  • Selfie mode
  • Self-timer for taking group shots


  • Small viewfinder
  • Pricier than the Fuji Instax Mini 8

#4 Instax Mini 90

Mini 90 Instant Camera

The Mini 90 is arguably the best looking instant camera in the Instax range with its retro-inspired design.

It also comes with a wider range of settings and features which make this an excellent choice if you are looking for an instant camera that offers a higher degree of control over your photos.

The Instax Mini 90 can be used in portrait or landscape orientation, with a shutter button for each position ensuring a comfortable grip either way.

One neat little touch is the front shutter button doubles as a mirror which can be very helpful when using the camera for selfies.

It also features a timer which can be used to capture a special moment without leaving a member of the group out to snap the photo – make use of the tripod mount for the perfect shot.

The optical viewfinder is rather small and it can be difficult to view through, particularly if you wear glasses.

It’s not a showstopper but we would have preferred a larger viewfinder for ease of use.

Overall the range of settings and features are pretty straightforward to use and the learning curve is minimal.

The Instax Mini 90 is great fun to shoot with and captures natural, great-looking photos.


  • Cool, retro-inspired design
  • Best Instax for manual settings options
  • Unique double exposure mode


  • Pricier than the Fuji Instax Mini 8
  • As with all instant cameras, the cost of film can be expensive

#5 Instax Mini 25

Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 Instant Camera Review

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 offers many of the same awesome benefits as the Mini 8 AND several additional customised settings plus a built-in selfie mirror which is a great way of getting just the right distance for your selfie and ensuring you don’t waste film with out of focus shots.


  • Auto focus
  • Has a 4.6 star rating from Amazon users
  • Better customisation settings than the Instax Mini 8


  • No zoom feature
  • Some users prefer AA batteries instead of the lithium ion battery used by the Instax Mini 25

#6 Instax Wide 300

Instax Wide 300 Cheap Instant Camera

The Fuji Instax Wide 300 instant cameras superpower is that it takes photos which are twice the size of the Instax Mini Cameras.

The Instax Wide 300 is a simple, easy to use camera that is lots of fun and perfect for capturing special moments at parties or with loved ones.

The camera has some noteworthy features to help you capture the perfect shot, all of which are controlled by a few simple buttons.

Read the full review here.


  • Photo size is double that of the Instax Mini photos
  • Sturdy, reliable camera
  • Simple and easy to use


  • The Instax Wide 300 is not the most aesthetically pleasing camera
  • The extra size required for bigger photos also make this a bulky camera to carry around

#7 Instax Mini Hello Kitty

This Instax is ideal for anyone who is a fan of Hello Kitty Polaroid Cameras. It also makes a perfect present set as the box comes complete with a Hello Kitty strap, zoom lens and 10 sheets of Hello Kitty film.

One super cute accessory for this camera that we really like is the Katia Camera Case Bag which is also handy for storing your photos in and helps protect the camera.


  • Very cute
  • Great present for Hello Kitty enthusiasts
  • Has a 4.6 star rating from Amazon users


  • More expensive than some other Instax cameras because it is sold in a set


Buying Advice for Choosing a Cheap Instant Camera

What are the most important features and considerations when buying a Cheap Instant Camera?

Knowing the different features of an instant camera and understanding why they are important is vital to help you decide between cameras.

1. Shutter Speed

Shutter speed, or exposure time, is the length of time when the film inside the camera is exposed to light.

The amount of light that reaches the film is, therefore, proportional to the exposure time.

Shutter speed can have a significant impact on the appearance and quality of your instant photos, particularly when shooting moving objects.

Slow shutter-speed often results in a blurred image if you are trying to capture a moving image, something worth considering when you are deciding which camera to buy.

2. Exposure

A photograph’s exposure determines how light or dark an image will appear when it’s been captured by your instant camera.

The degree of exposure is determined by aperture, ISO and shutter speed.

3. Batteries

When selecting a cheap instant camera it is important to consider what battery options the different cameras use.  Typically for the instax mini cameras this will be lithium AA batteries or a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

This is really a personal choice; however we have provided some points for consideration below:

  • AA batteries are relatively cheap and easily replaced, however they are not rechargeable and will need to be replaced approximately every 300 shots.
  • The rechargeable battery has the advantage of being reusable however do bear in mind that if you plan to shoot large numbers of photos you may need to have a spare battery with you which would come at an additional cost.

4. Design

Ergonomics, suitability for purpose, functionality and of course style are important areas of consideration when you are considering the design and features of your instant camera.

To save you the hard work of searching numerous websites to make these comparisons, we have covered all of these key design considerations in our reviews.

5. Size and Weight

The very nature of instant cameras is to have a portable device that can be easily carried around to capture exciting and personal moments as they occur.

It is important, therefore, that the camera you choose is light and compact enough to be easily carried either in your pocket or bag.

This is particularly important for instant cameras as they have the added function of a printer which presents the camera manufacturer with a challenge.

Fortunately, Fujifilm have years of experience with building instant cameras and continue to maintain their excellent reputation for building robust, high quality cameras at reasonable prices.


Checklist for Buying a Cheap Instant Camera

I strongly recommend using a checklist to help you with the process of selecting the best cheap instant camera for you.

The checklist should include the following:

  1. For what purpose am I buying this camera? Is it as a gift, for a wedding, to introduce your child to photography or for capturing precious moments?
  2. Am I looking for a cheap instant camera which is very easy to use or would I prefer one which gives me the option to select the settings manually?
  3. Cameras such as the Fuji Instax Mini 9 are very easy to use while the Instax Mini 90 offers you more manual settings.
  4. Am I looking for a photo size which is bigger than the Instax Mini Film? If yes then the Fuji Instax Wide 300 would be a good option to consider.
  5. Does this Instax Camera fulfil all my requirements? If you are unsure or the answer is no then read the reviews of other Instax Mini Cameras to see if another option would be more suitable for you.
  6. Lastly, how much budget have I allocated for buying my cheap instant camera?  For sure you can get a decent instant camera for under $100, if you are really on a tight budget you can look at cameras such as the Instax Mini 26 and Instax Mini 9 which come in under $60 at the time of writing.

Buying the right cheap instant camera for you will bring you great satisfaction.

Take the time to read the reviews on this website and also customer reviews on Amazon to get a better feel and more insight on which camera to purchase.

Best Place to Buy a Cheap Instant Camera?

There are so many photographers today who are not aware of the best places where they can buy their cheap instant cameras from.

Of those who do know the best places to shop, not all are aware of where to purchase at the most competitive prices.

There are several noteworthy options you should consider when you want to buy your desired instant camera.

One of the best places to go are the online stores that exclusively deal with cameras.

Others, like Amazon and eBay, deal with not only cameras but also other products.

It’s up to you to decide on the best authentic stores where you can buy the best Fuji Instax Mini Cameras to fulfil your photography requirements.

Overall, buying your camera online helps to save you time and money.

If you are within a country which is entitled to free shipping you can enjoy even better savings.

Visit the official websites of those company brands you want to buy from or go to Amazon and place your order.

Benefits when Buying a Cheap Instant Camera on Amazon

There are several benefits that you will be guaranteed of if you buy your cheap instant camera at Amazon.  These are discussed below and they include:

  • Price: there are many online stores to choose from when purchasing your cheap instant camera and it’s important that you check on the price of these stores before placing your order.
  • Amazon has some of the best deals and their prices are very competitive compared to other online stores.
  • Depending on your location you may also benefit from the advantages offered by Amazon Prime.
  • Warranty: Amazon is a reputable business which sells genuine Fuji products and offers the manufacturer’s warranty on your purchase (typically a one-year limited warranty – please check the details carefully for yourself when placing your order).
  • Authorized Dealer: Amazon is an official dealer for Fujifilm and most major cheap instant camera manufacturing companies.

 Final Thoughts

Thanks to advances in technology and increased competition, the price for instant cameras has been coming over the past few years.

As I have shown in this article, finding a cheap instant camera for under $100 is possible.

In answer to readers questions of what is “”where is the best place to buy a Cheap Instant Camera?” 

I think the Instax Mini 26 and Instax Mini 9 are clear winners, with the Mini 26 having a slight edge to due it’s intelligent fill-in flash, adjustable print color brightness, portrait/landscape button and ultimately the fact that it is the same price as the Mini 9 but comes with a pack of 10 sheets of instant film.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a slightly more sophisticated instant camera with more settings options, then I would recommend the Instax Mini 70.

I hope you enjoyed this article and thank you for taking the time to read this far!  If you wish to read customer reviews of these cameras or make a purchase on Amazon you can do so by clicking the links above. 

Doing so won’t cost you anything and it helps me to cover the costs of maintaining this website without pestering you with pop-up ads or other spam.

Emma Johnson

I have loved photography from a young age and more recently started experimenting with Instant Cameras from Polaroid and Instax. I also love dancing and hanging out with my friends :)

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