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.

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How Nir Patel Photographed an Exciting Space Scene

“Regardless of the high-quality camera of my iPhone 13 pro, I wasted more time taking pictures and less time reminiscing over them,” says passionate photographer Nir Patel to The Phoblographer in an interview. “My pricey solution was to purchase an SX-70 Polaroid at around 4$ a shot; I’d be forced to take only worthwhile pictures. From there, a joyful obsession began, where I’d constantly determine if the time and place I was at was perfect enough to savor through a polaroid.” Nir says he doesn’t understand basic photography principles but that shooting Polaroids gives him exactly what he wants. He chooses aesthetics over practicality and, using his beautiful vintage Polaroid SX-70, he created this unique photo of a rocket ship coming to earth. But how?

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3 Small Instant Film Cameras You’ll Love to Shoot With

If you like shooting with instant film, then you probably know how large the cameras can be. Not everyone wants to tote around an elephantine camera. Luckily, there are lots of small instant film cameras out there. And better yet, we’ve reviewed a bunch of them. Some are much better than others. So we’re rounding out some of our favorites in this list.

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6 Examples of the Creative Possibilities with Instant Film (NSFW)

Instant film is the perfect combination of attitudes new and old. It has the classic film vibe while offering the instant gratification today’s society demands. Instant film cameras are awesome ice breakers too. They’re cool for parties, and everyone wants to hang with the person who owns one. However, one shouldn’t confuse them as being merely a gimmick. Photographers have been known to make remarkable work with instants. Don’t believe us? Take a look.

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The Most Modern SLR of 2021. NONS SL42 Mk2 Review

A few years ago, we took a very hard stance on SLR gear. We told manufacturers we wouldn’t review them. We also said we probably wouldn’t report on new news about DSLRs. That’s one of the factors that’s put a strain on a few manufacturer relationships we have. But the industry itself also decided to pivot. The DSLR, in 2021, is for the Luddite. And depending on what side of the table you’re on, the NONS SL42 Mk2 is totally new. It’s the successor to the first SLR-style camera to specifically shoot Instax Mini film. The Mk2 gets a few upgrades from the original. And if you really want full control over your Instax shooting, this is the best chance you’ll have.

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The NONS SL42 Camera: Everything You Wanted to Know

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“The process of shooting film is fascinating”, says Dingsheng WU, Business Development Manager of the NONS SL42 camera line. Having successfully launched their first SL42 camera with Instax film support last year, NONS is back with an updated camera in 2 different colors in 2021. They now support EF mount lenses, which can further be adapted with a plethora of other lens mounts using manual adapters. Backers can get ready to use M42, Nikon F, Contax/Yashica​ C/Y lens and more. Plus, they’ve almost eliminated the heavy vignetting issue that was a mainstay of the 1st release. Our Editor in Chief Chris Gampat bought one of these cameras. He’ll be writing about his experiences with it in a future post.

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Is Polaroid Actually Real Film? Comparing Polaroid, Instax, and Zink

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Instant film is fun in so many different ways. You can shoot a photo of someone and give them the print. You can capture fun memories with it at parties. And you can just plain out have fun while shooting with it. But it’s not all created equal. In fact, some instant film is better than others. So we dove into our archives of reviews to compare Polaroid, Instax, and Zink. Some of it is real film. And some of it is pretty awful and mixed in with terrible marketing. Instant film can make you feel great. But it can also let you down. Here’s some of the truth about it.

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A Love Story: The Instant Film Photowalk for the Dating Photographer

“I didn’t even know what that was, but it sounded fun,” is what she told me.

There have been times where I’d bring around three cameras just for fun. One camera would be digital. But the other two were either Instax or Film. Instant film has always been a big part of my life. I remember seeing Polaroids of me and McDonald’s Grimace together. There’s a Polaroid of Goosebumps author RL Stine and I together too. But a few years ago, I decided that it would be a great way to bring women into that part of my life. The Instant film Photowalk indeed was and always will be one of my favorite activities, with a date or not.

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The 3 Best Instant Film Cameras for Your Next Party

These instant film cameras will shoot photos you and other guests will love.

If you’re going to a party, there’s no reason not to bring instant film cameras. They’re so fun. You point, shoot, and get the photo. What’s better than that? You can then get back to drinking and hang out with those you care about. And better yet, it’s almost impossible for anyone to look bad with instant film. That’s because of just how big the lenses are and how they work with the film. And yes, you’re shooting real instant film–sort of like Polaroids back in the day. Check out this guide on choosing the best instant film cameras.

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Han Chen Made an Awesome Instax Back for the Mamiya RZ67

All images by Han Chen. Used with permission.

“I don’t have my own Zinstax, believe it or not. If I had a spare one, I would always send it to the next customer on the waiting list”, says Han Chen. Currently a student based in Germany, Chen’s brainchild is the aptly named Zinstax – a 3D printed back made for shooting Instax film on a Mamiya RZ67. His love for photography and making new things came together to produce this unit. In 2019 he realized the lack of such a product in the photography world, so he designed and manufactured one himself. As with almost all film photography lately, the results are uniquely unpredictable. The finishing quality of the Zinstax alone has me considering the thought of getting an RZ67 someday.

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KONO!RAMA: The Most Exciting Thing in Instant Photography Right Now

The KONO!RAMA plays off of a very cool, forgotten idea and adds it to Instax film.

Many years ago, photographers put color filters in front of their lenses. It delivered a fun effect if it wasn’t correcting for the lighting. And that’s what the KONO!RAMA is doing in a far more innovative way. The front lens elements of many cameras are various sizes. To get around that problem, you just place the KONO!RAMA right in front of the film pack before loading it up. As you shoot, the effect is applied to the entire pack of film. It breathes new life into your old camera, just in case it’s been in the corner gathering dust. We’ve got more on the KONO!RAMA after the jump.

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How to Break My Heart: SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film Review

SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film is a solid try, but this should have been a black and white film.

The SuperSense One Instant Peel Apart Film is a product that good ol’ Doc made to try to keep Peel Apart film alive. A few years ago, Fujifilm announced that they’d be killing that format. After that, Doc took to Kickstarter with SuperSense to create the One Instant Film pack. Like many who read this site, I bought it on Kickstarter. Mine arrived in September of 2019, and I only got time to test it this June when the conditions were right: it was warm, there was lots of light, and the industry isn’t erupting with one announcement after another. Unfortunately, my heart is broken by the two packs I bought–each with three shots. Supersense can save this by creating a low ISO black and white film. And if they do that, it would be pretty unique. But from my first experience with it, I’m not sure how I feel.

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Video: SuperSense One Instant Packfilm Is a Major Disappointment

The SuperSense One Instant packfilm is disappointing in so many ways.

Years ago, Fujifilm discontinued their peel-apart film–otherwise known as packfilm. It was instant and for years had been used by professionals shooting film to get a preview of their exposures. But, it experienced a bit of a revival when people started to get back into Instant film. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep it alive. And Fujifilm instead does Instax. But, the folks over at SuperSense decided to recreate it themselves. They’re a small team mostly working on a passion project–and it shows. I personally backed their Kickstarter a while back and received my film last year. But we were super busy, and it was frigid out, so summer 2020 just seemed like the best time to test is. So how did it do? Well, I’m pretty sad.

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No, Vegans, Film Photography Is Not Vegan Friendly

The stereotype of someone being a vegan and a film/analog photographer is very counterintuitive.

Unfortunately for many analog shooters, there is still a stigma against us who shoot film. Because we like old school things and we like the actual connection with our subject while not worrying about all the digital things, we are often also associated with vegans. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe they just think it’s part of the culture. But the truth is film photography isn’t vegan-friendly. In fact, it’s pretty far from it.

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Watch This Fun ONE INSTANT “How To” Guide Before You Shoot!

Whether you’re expecting your ONE INSTANT pack film to arrive anytime soon, or it’s already in your hands, make sure you watch this fun how-to guide before you shoot!

Some of you lucky recipients of the “First Run” of ONE INSTANT pack film may already be out having fun and shooting with this landmark instant film. Others with “Early Bird” orders will have theirs soon, and we can just imagine how excited everyone is. To help make sure you make the most out of their pack film, the folks of SUPERSENSE put together a fun and informative instructional video with some important things to know before opening that precious box of instant goodness.

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Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Instax Printer

Fans of Instax Mini prints will appreciate the usability refinements Fujifilm incorporated into their new Instax Mini Link smartphone printer.

Fujifilm’s Instax line of instant cameras and mobile printers have been dominating the instant photography market. Today, they’re unveiling their brand new Instax Mini Link smartphone Instax printer. Instant cameras have seen a massive resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to their ability to capture moments instantly and spontaneously. One thing that sometimes leaves people wanting more with instant cameras is that most of them tend to have plastic lenses. Plastic lenses result in less than stellar image quality. With most smartphones capable of capturing photos with excellent images quality these days, smartphone printers give you the best of both worlds. We had a chance to test out the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link before it’s official launch. Head on after the jump to see whether or not it’s worth the upgrade. Continue reading…

Making Transparencies From Fujifilm Instax and Polaroid Films

It’s a popular project for  Polaroid instant films, but turns out producing transparencies from Fuji Instax films is also possible.

Looking for something creative and experimental with instant film? You might want to try transparency lifts. It’s a project more popular for Polaroid instant films but turns out that you can also do it for Fujifilm Instax films. It’s a permanent alteration of the prints, but maybe it could inspire you to get extra creative and make some interesting images out of it. Last year, Marco Christian Krenn of Analog Things shared how he creates transparencies out of Polaroid black and white films. He followed it up with another cool tutorial for using these transparencies into a multi-layer transparency lightbox using Polaroid black and white instant films. Since then, he’s been getting questions about whether it’s possible to do it with Instax films as well.

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ONE INSTANT Peel Apart Film Production Starts in Early August

It’s finally ‘all systems go’ for the much-awaited ONE INSTANT Peel Apart Film.

In the latest update for the ONE INSTANT Peel Apart Film, we learned the exciting news that the production team is set to begin true production in “T-Minus 1 Week”. We’ve been closely following their updates and have been ecstatic since their “latest (and greatest) tests” showing the film will likely turn out great. So, after training, testing, and working for about a month to familiarize themselves with the entire system, the team is now ready to begin production in early August.

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AGFA is Helping Instant Peel-Apart Film Come Back from the Dead

The hardworking folks behind the ONE INSTANT Peel-Apart Film have found an able ally in AGFA, they say in their latest project update.

A few days ago, backers of the ONE INSTANT Kickstarter campaign were treated to some great news; the passionate folks behind the project have proudly announced the developments of the project so far. Among these developments is their partnership with AGFA in Belgium, getting the prototype design through to the production model, and assembling the One Instant manufacturing team. Exciting times are ahead, as they report things are coming together nicely!

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