Polaroids: The Bandwagon
As of writing this article, the best selling camera on Amazon is a Fuji Instax Mini 9. The instant film craze isn't new and undoubtedly popular. I'm proposing you try something different though- get a real old Polaroid camera.
Why You Should Get A Classic Polaroid Camera
1. Real Polaroid Cameras Are Cheap
There were a lot of instant cameras sold over the decades, and you can find them used for as little as $25 (or less at your local garage sales). I found the OneStep shown in this article for $40 at a local camera store in great condition. If you plan on getting a modern Fuji Instax, you'll be looking at $50 and up.
2. The Photos Are Bigger
A typical old Polaroid is 3.5"x4.25", this is much larger than the Instax Mini film at only 54mmx86mm (about 2.1"x3.4"). To get bigger photos you have to go for Fuji Instax WIDE, which is still only 86mmx108mm (3.4"x 4.25), and the cameras start around $90. I personally really prefer the larger image size, it looks a lot nicer when you display them because you can see them from further than 3 feet away.
3. No Batteries!
Polaroid cameras have batteries inside the film packs, so unless you have a flash bar on your camera, you don't have to worry about running out of batteries in your camera!
4. The Cameras Look Cooler
This one is totally subjective, but I think the old camera styles are much nicer than the bulby-rounded look of the newer Instax cameras.
Why You May Not Want A Classic Polaroid Camera
Some caution before the hipster excitement overwhelms you- Instant film is expensive. If you scoffed at the cost of Fuji Instax film, be prepared for major sticker shock. The only options for old Polaroid cameras now are outdated packs you can find on the internet which might work, or film from the Impossible Project (now known as Polaroid Originals) which runs around $20 for 8 shots. Yes, you'll be paying between 2-3$ per shot. However, if you consider that you are getting a larger print than the Fuji Instax, it's not the worst thing in the world (and prices are coming down).
Where can I get one?
While Ebay is an obvious place to look for old cameras, I personally recommend checking out keh.com. They are extremely conservative with their condition ratings, excellent condition really means excellent. I've made several purchases through them and have been immensely satisfied each time. Etsy appears to have a good selection but I haven't purchased through them before. Local garage sales can be an excellent place to find ones as well for very cheap, so don't count them out either!
Do you have an Instax camera or an old Polaroid? Share your experiences with them in the comments!