The Best Instant Film Cameras with Manual Controls

Few things are as fun as instant film cameras! For the most part, they’re carefree and let you simply capture the most fun moments that you can. Sometimes though, you want a bit more control. And lucky for you, we’ve reviewed pretty much every instant film camera on the market. In this post, we’re ethically rounding up the best instant film cameras that give you manual controls in some way. Take a look at out favorites below.

How We Chose the Best Instant Film Cameras with Manual Controls

Here’s some insight into how we chose the best instant film cameras with manual contols:

  • Our editorial policies state that we can’t talk about products that we haven’t done full tests on. But luckily, we’ve reviewed nearly every instant film camera on the market. And you can see links to our full reviews in each section here.
  • One of these cameras uses Polaroid film. Ethically speaking, we do not support Polaroid due to their previous support of Unsplash, which blindsides many photographers. However, the camera presented here is the best choice to use with Polaroid film.
  • The best instant film cameras here have pretty good build quality. But don’t expect them to last for decades like the vintage ones do.

MiNT Instantkon RF70

Pros

  • Manual controls
  • Rangefinder focusing
  • Aperture priority is an option.
  • Folds down into a compact camera
  • Built in flash for the folks who are into that sort of stuff
  • Lens is pretty sharp when stopped down.
  • Beautiful bokeh

Cons

  • Really odd type of audio jack for flash syncing. I genuinely wish it were either a PC sync port or a standard 3.5mm.
  • Rangefinder focusing screen isn’t coupled to the framing screen and that can throw off composition at times when taking parallax correction into account.
  • Lomography’s glass lenses are much sharper.
  • The bellows is a bit concerning for the long term durability of the product.
  • Be careful when collapsing the camera system: you need to press the button under the lens, focus the lens out to infinity, and then collapse it into the camera body.
  • The instructions should really be on top of the camera and people should read them before taking it out of the box.

In Summary

In our review, we state:

“…the MiNT InstantKon RF70 is the world’s first fully manual Instax Wide camera. It gives you all the controls you want. Even though it only shoots to 1/500th, there is a lens that stops down a lot. The lens’ image quality can be very nice. This camera is also very compact and lightweight. Most photographers who use it will be really happy with its results. For what it’s worth though, this indeed feels like a very first generation product that I believe should have come out years ago. It’s unfortunate that it hadn’t. On that thought, it’s only recently that Instax camera lenses have really improved in quality.”

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MiNT SLR-670

Pros

  • The absolute best image quality I’ve seen from any Instant film camera anywhere. Even a bit better than using a Polaroid Land 185 and Fujifilm’s 100 pack film.
  • Incredibly bright viewfinder
  • Compact folding body
  • Time machine is small
  • Simple to use
  • Folks love being in front of a camera like this.

Cons

  • Really wish the time machine had an audio jack for a studio strobe.
  • While I know it’s tough to do, f5.6 would be nicer than f8.

In Summary

In our review, we state:

“While what I still really want is an Instant film camera with full manual controls, studio strobe control, and high quality glass optics, I really like what’s possible with the SLR-670 camera from Mint. I also really like what the Time Machine allows me to do. In all truthfulness, I feel you will as well. Granted, the camera is $300 and that doesn’t even include the Time Machine, but it’s well worth it and photography is an expensive hobby to begin with.”

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NONS SL42

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight because it’s very plastic
  • It shoots instant film!
  • Beautiful to look at
  • Very fun!
  • Pretty simple controls
  • I actually like how large it is.
  • I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to hold an SLR that shoots Instax film.
  • It goes to sleep!

Cons

  • Incredibly plastic
  • No camera strap comes with it
  • When you put the adapter on to have the lens cover the whole film plane, you can’t see the new image fully through the viewfinder.
  • This thing really needed a split prism finder.
  • Shutter speed dial oddly goes to other positions not marked for shutter speeds
  • I wish it had depth of field preview.

In Summary

In our review, we state:

“The NONS SL42 Mk2 is a fantastic camera that’s surely still got some quirks to be ironed out. But if you’re going to buy any Instax, Instant Film, or SLR camera, this is the one to get. It’s the most innovative one on the market right now.”

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MiNT InstantFlex 2.0

Pros

  • High build quality
  • Bright viewfinder
  • Fairly intuitive controls
  • Aperture control with Aperture priority metering accordingly
  • Lightweight
  • Fun to tote around
  • A true conversation starter in a world where everyone has a camera

Cons

  • Metering can be a bit wonky to work with
  • Magnifier could be easier to work with

In Summary

In our review, we state:

“So how’s the image quality? Honestly, in the best of situations it’s quite awesome. I don’t think that it’s capable of achieving the fullest sharpness that Fujifilm Instax film (or Polaroids, as some of you call them) can render, but it surely is still very capable.”

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.