Are you looking for a cheap Polaroid camera? Then there are some things you need to know before start looking at all those new and old instant photo cameras in the market today. It’s not really hard to find a cheap instant camera. But the problem is not all these cameras are same. There are old vintage cameras which have no film packs available anymore. Also, some models do have film but way too expensive for daily use. Then you have instant digital cameras which use cheap instant film but the camera price is expensive. So first you need to get an idea about what’s in the market and what do you really need.
Difference between Digital Polaroids and Analog Polaroids
Digital instant cameras are the latest cameras issued to market by Polaroid Co. The difference is very simple. Unlike analog instant film cameras with these, you can save photos into a memory card. So basically these have a small digital sensor like in those digital points and shoot cams. Only Polaroid company makes digital instant cameras. There are more than half a dozen models including Polaroid z340, Polaroid Socialmatic Camera, Polaroid Snap etc. These models are bit expensive when you compare with analog Polaroid cams.
Polaroid Co. no longer produce analog instant cameras. Any none digital Polaroid instant film cameras then those are old generation cameras which are a few decades old. Even though you might get these for cheap, instant film price going to be very expensive. But Fujifilm does make new analog instant film cameras under than Fujifilm Instax camera line. Instax series cameras are cheaper when you compare with new Polaroid digital instant cameras. Also, use cheap Instax instant film which made using new technology. When you plan to buy an analog instant photo camera better check some models like Instax 300, Instax Mini 90 or Instax Mini 70 cams.
Polaroid camera and Instant camera are same ?
It’s a very common mistake. Polaroid is just a brand name and cameras are one of the several products they make. So basically a Polaroid camera comes under camera type called instant cameras. Today you can find much cheaper instant photo cameras from Fujifilm Instax series. But like we mentioned above they only produce analog instant photo cameras which do not have the capability of saving images into a memory card. So now you know the difference between Polaroid camera and an instant camera.
Cheap Polaroid Camera or Cheap Instant Camera ?
So here’s the deal. Do you want a cheap Polaroid camera or a cheap instant camera? Since they make only Digital instant cameras you won’t get any analogs cam anymore. Polaroid 300 is the only analog Polaroid film camera available. Even Model 300 is not in production anymore. These digital models cost from $100 – $400 depending on the model. You get to save images into a memory card and move those to another device like a phone or computer. Also, you can move images into the camera and print those. If you have a Polaroid z340 camera then it has a small LCD screen on the back so you can choose which image to print and which to delete. Remember not all instant digital cameras have this feature.
Now if you are looking for a cheap instant camera but not need of these saving into a memory card feature then check Instax series. These are the cheapest in the market. Prices vary on $50 – $150 depending on the model. Photo quality might be even better than any Polaroid camera.
Also, there are Old Polaroid models like Polaroid land cameras or 500 series, 600 series. Even though you can find old cams for every cheap better not buying any unless you are a collector. Either film packs are no longer available or you will have to pay around $3 per photo print.
Why not Buying an Old Polaroid camera?
There are so many reasons for this. The main reason is it’s been a long time since Polaroid Co. has closed down those camera factories as well as film factories. So Any old model available in the market today are at least 15 years old. Most of these cams wouldn’t work at all.
The second reason is finding film packs. You can find film packs for only Polaroid 600 series, Polaroid SX-70 series, and Polaroid Spectra series cameras. The impossible Project Co. make the film for these three series from machines they had salvaged from old film factories. Film cost is around $3 per print. Even though many of us can’t afford that we should be grateful about the effort impossible project Co. make to keep these vintage cameras alive.
Sometimes old Polaroid film packs can be seen in sites like eBay but probably ink and chemicals are already dried out. Also, sellers ask for insane prices for old film packs but don’t provide a grantee or refund option if doesn’t work.
Buying Polaroid Cameras
To find a nice Polaroid camera for cheap, the best place to search is Amazon.com. Usually, they have really nice deals and bargain offers. But it works only for USA or Canada residents or for European Amazon locations. For other locations either shipping is too much or prices are too high.
Next, the best place is finding a location camera store which sells new instant cameras. It might be little hard to find Polaroid models but often you can find Fujifilm Instax cameras all around the world. This is the best choice in my opinion since you get to check the camera before buying, even test it.
I would never use eBay to buy new instant photo cameras. Sellers are not reliable and also many do not agree to refund or take returns if the camera is not working. So it’s a high-risk thing which not worth at all. But if you are a vintage camera collector who interesting in buying old cameras for cheap eBay might give you good opportunities, especially if those cams don’t have to be in working condition. I bought several really nice old vintage models and 50+ years old Polaroid cams for very cheap. None were in working condition but nice stuff for a collector.
Impossible Project Instant Film
Nearly a decade ago when Polaroid Co. decided to close down instant film factories there was a big panic among instant film camera users. There was no other alternative film available so their cameras were going to be useless. Fortunately, Founders of Impossible Project had decided to step in and save the day. The company was started in 2008, they bought production machinery from Polaroid for a sum of 3 million and leased an old Polaroid factory.
Since then Impossible Project film has become the only alternative for old instant film cameras. Sadly they could only salvage machinery for three camera series. There is an only alternative film for Polaroid 600 series, Polaroid SX-70 Series and Polaroid Spectra series film packs.
But both Color film, as well as Black and white film packs, are available. Cost is around $3 per photo print and a pack has 8 exposures. Since it’s next to impossible to find original film and Expired film available in shops have a greater possibility of ending up with a dead film. So for owners of Polaroid 600, Polaroid SX-70 or Polaroid Spectra camera then this is the only alternative you have out there.
New Polaroid Film
There is a huge difference between new Polaroid film and old Polaroid film. Zink Paper film cannot be used for older models such as 600 series, Spectra or any other. One great thing about these new instant film is cheaper prices and durability.
There are credit card size zink photo paper which comes as 2 different versions. Older PoGo photo paper has a white border and new Polaroid Zink media premium paper are borderless. It lets you print the photo on the whole page. Cost per photo print is around 50 cents or less.
Many people have asked if Zink 3×4 photo paper can be used to older models. The answer is the same. These are using totally different technologies and methods. If you are an old Polaroid cam owner then better check if your cam is compatible with Impossible Project film packs.
Be careful about from where you buy these Polaroid film packs. Always buy from a place where film packs get sold often. Even though expired film works fine you don’t want to try your luck with those. Especially when it comes to eBay sellers. These days it’s really hard to find trusted sellers. The best place to buy is your local camera store if they have new items.
Hello Kitty Polaroid Camera
Fujifilm Instax Hello Kitty mini camera is the latest and best Hello Kitty instant camera in the market today. It’s cheap and beautiful. Price is even less than $100! The coolest thing about Fujifilm Instax Hello Kitty camera is the design. Unlike all other cameras in this theme, this one has unique Hello Kitty Design. It’s a 100% girlie camera which comes in pink and cute. A perfect gift for any Hello Kitty fan or any girl who likes pink stuff or Polaroid cameras.
Polaroid hasn’t made any Hello Kitty themed cameras so there isn’t a single Hello Kitty Polaroid camera in the market. Only Fujifilm models are in the market. Even then all those older models are Instax Mini 25 cameras with Hello Kitty stickers.
Lomography is not just a brand but also an art movement which was founded by a group of Viennese students back in 1992. They discovered Lomo LC-A camera which was made in the old Soviet Union and started using those for creating unpredictable photo artwork. When it comes to photography perfection and control over the photo are the most important things but in Lomography, it’s the total opposite. You rely on cameras inability to produce perfect images and using unpredictability to create artwork.
Because of this, all types of cheap SLR cameras can be used for Lomography. Lomo cameras are fairly expensive but there are plenty of alternatives out there too such as Diana cameras. There are so many unorthodox methods and techniques used in Lomography. rainbow-colored flashes, camera models with extreme optical distortions and light leaks etc. Their motto is “Don’t Think, Just Shoot.”
A few years back Lomography Co. has released an instant photo camera called Lomography Lomo’Instant Camera. Remember it’s a Lomography-Instant camera. It’s not for those who expect perfect, really like photo prints. It can be bought from their own website and also from Amazon. Lomo’Instant Camera uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film for photo prints.