Which Camera do I buy?

The budget choice: Fujifilm Instax mini 70

Instant cameras make great gifts, especially for those who can't be trusted with a digital camera yet. Plus, they can be fun for even the most seasoned digital photographer, especially on occasions like parties where the 'big' camera might be overkill.

If you're looking to share the joy of photography with an instant camera, our recommendation is the Fujifilm mini 70. It strikes the right balance of settings and automation, ensuring fewer wasted shots, and operation that is easy to figure out.

Not only that, but it has some of the best ergonomics, and it might even come in your giftee's favorite color.

We recommend it over the less expensive mini 8 for a few reasons: the mini 70 feels better made and has better ergonomics than both the mini 8 and mini 90, especially for those with smaller hands. Its self-portrait and macro modes extend the usability of the camera in the real-world. As well as offering a bit more usability, it keeps the setup simple so there's less to accidentally get wrong, which makes it the best choice for complete amateurs as well.

The photographer's choice: MiNT InstantFlex TL70

Not looking for a gift? Want a new toy for yourself? Is money not an object?

If you can afford it, the MiNT InstantFlex TL70 is the instant shooting experience we've always longed for. The TLR style body takes us back to the film days, but without all the time spent getting film processed. No, it isn't perfect, but right now there isn't any other instant camera that offers this level of precise usability.

Also consider...

For the rest of us cash-strapped enthusiasts, the results, creative opportunities and price of the Lomo'Instant three-lens kit represents the best balance overall. The Fujifilm options don't provide enough decoupling of various settings to really get creative, and the additional lenses available for the Lomo'Instant open up a whole world of opportunities to get weird, and just plain have fun.