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Polaroid VS Instax: Which Instant Film Is Best?

Polaroid VS Instax: Which Instant Film Is Best? A complete break down of the differences in film, camera options to choose from and the best ways to experiment with each film type.

1. Polaroid Film vs Instax Film




2. Polaroid Cameras vs Instax Cameras

Best Cameras

Cameras with Advanced Features

Polaroid Experimental Photography

Instax Experimental Photography

Instant photography has gained significant traction over the past few years!

With Polaroid’s revival from the Impossible Project in 2017, instant photography is a popular hobby, once again. The most widely available products are manufactured by Polaroid and FujiFilm Instax.

Polaroid and FujiFilm Instax are two completely different films in terms of aesthetics, size, price and artist freedoms. When choosing which instant film is best for your photography, it is important to consider the differences between Polaroid vs. Fuji Instax film.

Instax Film vs. Polaroid Film

Polaroid vs. Instax Aesthetic

Polaroid is known best for its soft, romantic, vintage aesthetic that plays on our nostalgia. FujiFilm Instax, a modern analog instant film, is a sharper film that has overall better dynamic range. Instax brings a more photojournalistic aesthetic and is a perfect film for colorful photos and documenting memories.

Keep in mind that Polaroid film is light and temperature sensitive! How Polaroid film is stored and what temperature you are shooting in, will play heavily into the aesthetic of your final image. Cold polaroids tint blue. Hot Polaroids tint magenta. Polaroid performs best between 55 - 82 °F (13 - 28 °C) and should be refrigerated at 41 - 65 °F (4 - 18 °C) Instax film is not light or temperature sensitive and develops in only 1-2 minutes!

Polaroid vs. Instax Size

Polaroid vs. Instax Price

Fuji Instax is more affordable than Polaroid film. Polaroid film is sold for a range of $16 - $20 for a single pack. Instax film ranges from $15 - $19 for a pack of two 10 film cartridges.

Polaroid Cameras vs. Instax Cameras

The most important aspect to consider when getting started with instant photography might sound a little counterintuitive at first: you need to pick the right film before choosing the right camera.

Once you have decided on your film type, it's time to dive into finding the right camera(s) for you! Polaroid and Fuji have multiple cameras to choose from. Below are some specs to consider.

Polaroid Cameras:

  1. Polaroid Go Camera - The worlds smallest instant film camera. Perfect for capturing memories on the go.

  2. Polaroid Now Camera - Point, shoot, and keep: it’s that simple with the Polaroid Now. This series is an evolution of the original Polaroid OneStep cameras from the ‘70s that made photography effortless for everyone. The Now takes that simplicity and adds greater creative control, clean design, and vibrant color. Special features of the Polaroid Now: Auto focus 2 lens system, built in double exposure, self timer, accurate flash, rechargeable battery, shoots I-Type and 600 film.

  3. Polaroid Now+ Camera - Polaroid's most creative modern analog camera yet. Polaroid Now+ is our revamped analog instant camera with even more creative tools. 5 new lens filters, and unlock two extra tools — aperture priority and tripod mode — inside the Polaroid mobile app. Try light painting, double exposure, manual mode and more. Plus a tripod mount!

  4. Polaroid 600 Box-Type Cameras - From the bare-bones Polaroid Amigo to the exquisite Polaroid SLR680, and a ton of options in between, such as the 636 Close-up, Sun660,, Supercolor 635, Spirit 600 - just to name a few! The Polaroid 600 camera was designed to make instant photography as simple as possible for photographers.. Polaroid 600 series cameras can shoot under almost any conditions. With high-speed film, one-click focus (auto or fixed) and automatic flash settings (with manual override options), simplicity and ease-of-use are at the forefront of every 600 camera’s design.

  5. Polaroid SX-70 Cameras - The Polaroid SX-70 is a pretty complex instant camera. Knowing a little bit about basic photographic principles will help you to achieve more consistent results when shooting with it. That being said, the only adjustable variables are the focus wheel (which is pretty intuitive) and the exposure compensation wheel (which is less intuitive).

The exposure compensation wheel on the SX-70 needs to be adjusted for every single exposure – 1/3 towards darken is Polaroid's general rule.

I personally photograph with a built out Mamiya Universal Press with a Rezivot back that attaches to a deconstructed impossible lab. This set up gives me full manual control, lens options, and i can shoot all polaroid film types. Because the film comes out upside down, it is normal to see me shooting Polaroid collages upside down!

I also shoot Polaroid instant film collages with a Polaroid SX-70 that i had converted to shoot Polaroid 600 film by Retrospekt

FujiFilm Instax Cameras:

  1. FujiFilm Instax Wide 300 - Capture beautiful things close up with the WIDE 300’s handy lens attachment. Simply fit and get up close and personal with subjects only 40 cm away. Perfect for creating lots of togetherness fun with group selfies.

  2. Instax Square SQ1 - Never miss a moment. Or compromise on quality. The SQ1’s built in sensors automatically calculate the brightness of your environment and adjusts the shutter speed accordingly.

  3. Instax Square SQ6 - the INSTAX SQUARE SQ6 is all-out stunning. Showcasing a modern, minimal and clean design in Ruby Red, Aqua Blue, Metallic Blue, Pearl White, Blush Gold or Graphite Grey. Make every shot into your next masterpiece with the Instax Square SQ6! Special features include: Double exposure mode to superimpose two images into one frame or Lighten/Darken modes to adjust exposure.

  4. Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic - The INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic offers a variety of shooting modes and enhanced creative capabilities. Show off your playful side with a click of a button. Pop the Mini 90 into double exposure mode, press the shutter button twice and superimpose two different images into a single artistic photo.

  5. Instax Mini Evo Hybrid - FujiFilm's newest addition to their camera collection is the Evo Hybrid. The INSTAX MINI EVO camera prints instant photos at 600DPI for a stunning image quality. Select INSTAX-Rich Mode for a bright and immersive look, or INSTAX-Natural mode for a cool and classic look. Either way, you can capture it all, then print what you love. A digital screen is on the back making this camera a hybrid digital analog camera. For those seeking more of the true analog, vintage feel, i would recommend the Instax Wide, MIni 90, SQ6, SQ1.

Experimental Photography - Polaroid vs. Instax

Polaroid development, temperature, and emulsion sensitivity allows the most room for experimentation with instant film photography. Instax is a much stronger film because it has extra protective layers in the film to make it heat and light resistant. With a lot of extra work and dedication, you can make emulsion lifts with instax film. The process is difficult and you need a steady hand to remove a thin layer protective emulsion, but it is possible. You can also etch instax film with a pen or a key and find a rainbow of colors. Whereas, when etching Polaroids, you mainly get a shift in emulsion or straight black marks.

Below is a list of experimental possibilities with instant film I highly recommend incorporating some experimentation with instant film photography for some incredible outcomes that are fully manual and created in camera or created upon development.

  • Polaroid & Instax Collaging

  • Polaroid Decay

  • Emulsion Lifts

  • Instant Film Etching

  • Instant Film Embroidery

  • Microwaved Polaroids

  • Burning Instant Film

  • Light Painting

  • Long Exposures

  • Double Exposure

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