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Which Kodak instant cameras are best?

Smartphones are packed with technology, and their built-in cameras have never been of a higher quality than now. However, taking photos through a mobile device removes some of the charm of traditional photography.

If you still want to take photos digitally but long for the days of printed images, then an instant camera is a great option. You still have control over the final image, but it’s produced on paper. The best choice for this is the Kodak Smile Classic Digital Instant Camera.

What to know before you buy a Kodak instant camera

Quality and size of the photo

Keep in mind that the photo’s print quality won’t be the same as when you print it at a photo store. The photo’s size might also be at odd dimensions, due to the size of the paper and the resolution of the image. As for clarity and crispness, it will be inferior to digital cameras but still good enough.

Ink type

There are three different kinds of printing paper available for instant cameras, with Kodak using the Zink (zero ink) technology. The process doesn’t require ink cartridges, as the pigments are already on the paper. When you take a photo, pressure mixes the ink around to create the visuals. This process also slows down the printing when compared to other cameras like Fujifilm or Polaroid.

Paper and film cost

Having a camera that can instantly print photos is great, but be aware of the perpetual cost of operating such a device. The main attraction for instant cameras is the on-the-spot printing process, but the cost of Zink paper translates to about $0.50 per photo.

What to look for in a quality Kodak instant camera

Exposure controls and self-timer

Instant cameras have come a long way from being simple point-and-shoot devices. Since it will be printed immediately, you at least want to make sure that everything is alright. A good-quality Kodak instant camera should have exposure controls. This allows you to regulate the brightness of the final photo, which also influences the sharpness. A self-timer is handy when you want to take a group photo. You can set up the camera, select the timer and pose. 

Size and portability

You probably want to take the instant camera wherever you go and snap as many pictures as possible, but for that, the camera has to be portable. The majority of instant cameras are small enough to fit into a bag, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind what you’ll mostly be using it for. A good-quality Kodak instant camera won’t compromise quality over size. You also don’t want to fiddle with settings and functions, which is why the camera needs to be easy to use.

Photo resolution and battery life

It must be understood that an instant camera won’t be close to the quality of a smartphone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take excellent photos. A quality Kodak instant camera will have a resolution of at least 10 megapixels. This ensures that small details are captured correctly. Battery life is also hugely important. Most instant cameras run on rechargeable batteries, and you should get a handful of photos out before the power runs low.

How much you can expect to spend on a Kodak instant camera

The average price of a Kodak instant camera is largely dependent on the functions and the model. Entry-level instant cameras retail for $40-$60, while the top-tier instant cameras can retail for as high as $80-$100.

Kodak instant camera FAQ

How long does it take to print a photo?

A. This depends on the model of the instant camera. A good guideline is that the photo will be printed and ready to be shared in under a minute.

Can you take a photo without loading paper into the instant camera?

A. Some of Kodak’s instant cameras allow you to take photos even when you don’t have paper loaded. To store the image, you’ll need to insert a microSD card into the slot.

What are the best Kodak instant cameras to buy?

Top Kodak instant camera

Kodak Smile Classic Digital Instant Camera

Kodak Smile Classic Digital Instant Camera

What you need to know: A retro look packed with modern-day technology.

What you’ll love: If you’re looking for an instant camera that prints the largest photos in the Kodak range, Smile will be the one. It features a 16-megapixel camera that prints 3.51-inch by 4.25-inch photos. The Smile can connect to iOS or Android devices through Bluetooth, has a 10-second timer and automatic strobe flash. If you don’t have paper, the camera can store the images on an SD card.

What you should consider: Some users have indicated that the camera can take up to an hour to fully recharge.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Kodak instant camera for the money

Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera

Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera

What you need to know: An affordable option for excellent-quality prints.

What you’ll love: The Printomatic features a five-megapixel sensor with a wide angle f/2 lens. There isn’t much more to it, as you simply point the camera in the right direction and shoot. It’s easy to use, and you can take the next photo while the last is being printed. 

What you should consider: It uses Zink paper, which can be a bit expensive in the long run.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kodak Mini Shot Wireless Instant Digital Camera

Kodak Mini Shot Wireless Instant Digital Camera

What you need to know: A powerful camera that can print photos from your phone.

What you’ll love: The Mini Shot Wireless features a powerful 10-megapixel sensor and prints photos at 2.1 by 3.4 inches. It connects to iOS and Android devices through Bluetooth, and you can even send photos from your mobile photo to the camera for printing. The Mini Shot Wireless has a 1.7-inch viewfinder with autofocus.

What you should consider: Users have indicated that the camera can’t store images onto an SD card; you have to print an image immediately or it will be lost.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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