Instax Roundup 2016

Let's face it, it seems a little odd that a site called Digital Photography Review would dare take a step backward in to the world of analog photography. But truth be told, we all were delighted by handling physical prints from these cameras. Some of our editors began their careers in a darkroom, and with Instax mini images there's just a little zest of the 'magic' of development as an image first appears. After that's over, you're left with a business-card sized talisman, artwork, souvenir, memory, or whatever else a photograph can become.

It's not just us who are hooked on the smiles and joy instant photography can bring; sales of Fujifilm Instax cameras are expected to reach 5 million units this year, and they're not even the sole manufacturer of cameras that use the format. 

Plus, the affordable options make great gifts, and are some of the cheapest ways to give the gift of photography over the holiday season. So we wondered: which one is best? 

We decided to step into the world of instant for a few days to find out which camera is best for gifting to newcomers, and which is best for a photographer to gift to themselves. We selected eight cameras that all use the Instax mini format – which is now available in color and black and white (purists rejoice!) – and spent a little time with each to find out which is most fun, and which one is most rewarding. 

The contenders are:

Fujifilm Instax mini 8
Fujifilm Instax mini 70
Fujifilm Instax mini 90
Lomography L'instant
Lomography L'instant Automat
Lomography LC-A+ Instant Back
Leica Sofort
MiNT InstantFlex TL70