Difference Between Polaroid and Instant Camera

Cameras have been a part of our lives for many years now. Be it mobile phone cameras, instant or DSLR. Cameras have helped us capture memories, store and cherish them forever. Cameras are a part of every occasion, and they help us make every moment even more special.

There are different types of cameras available like instants, digital, etc., and each type has sub-types as well. Each type of camera that is used has its pros and cons. Different models come with different features. There is no end to the new models in today’s time; hence the buyer has a wide variety to choose from according to their needs.

Polaroid vs Instant Camera

The main difference between Polaroid and the instant camera is that Polaroid is a type/ model of an instant camera, whereas the instant camera produces the picture which is chemically imprinted on a film that has the ability to self develop itself just after a few seconds after clicking the picture. Instant cameras include both Polaroid and non-Polaroid cameras.

Polaroid vs Instant Camera

Polaroid camera is a type/ model of the instant camera. These cameras were founded by an American company known as the Polaroid Corporation. They found the company to test the uses of its Polaroid polarizing polymer. This company is best known for its instant films and cameras. Polaroid camera uses films to generate the picture. There are various models under the Polaroid cameras. This company pioneered and patented easy-to-use instant cameras and film.

Instant cameras produce a picture that is chemically imprinted on a film that has the ability to self develop a few seconds after taking the picture. There are both Polaroid and non-Polaroid cameras under instant cameras, and each of them has different models and types. They were very popular earlier and have become famous once again in recent times. The types can be categorized by the film type.

Comparison Table Between Polaroid and Instant Camera

of Comparison
PolaroidInstant Camera
What is itA model/type of instant camera.It uses a film to self-develop itself to create a chemically developed print a few seconds after clicking the photo.
First CameraModel 95 the land camera invented by Edwin Land.Despite the model 95, the land camera, the first-ever instant camera, dates back to 1923, invented by Samuel Shalafrock.
ModelsOne step +1, one step 2, polaroids, 600 box types, etc.All Models of Fujifilm, lomo instant, Kodak, and Polaroid, etc.
Print UsedSX-70, i- type, 600-pack, 8×10 large format.All kinds of film types – zero ink, Instax, Polaroid, other integrals, roll films, etc.
IncludesAs the name suggests, it’s only Polaroid.Includes both Polaroid and non-Polaroid cameras.

What is Polaroid?

Polaroid is a type/ model of instant cameras that use self-developing films that creates chemically developed prints after a few seconds of taking the picture. Easy-to-use instant cameras and films were first pioneered by the Polaroid Corporation. The model 95 land camera was the first commercial camera invented in America in 1948 by scientist Edwin Land. The company Polaroid Corporation was founded by him in 1937, just to explore the uses of Polaroid polarizing polymer.

In 2001 the original Polaroid Corporation declared bankruptcy. Later in 2008, the new Polaroid Company also declared bankruptcy. Impossible project (a company) which started producing instant films for Polaroid cameras in 2008 acquired and became the largest shareholder of the Polaroid Corporation. It was then renamed to Polaroid originals in 2017, and now it is called simply Polaroid. ‘Polavision’ was the name of the instant movie camera that was invented by this company.

There are different types of Polaroid cameras –

  1. Polaroid now camera
  2. Polaroid one step + 1-type camera.
  3. Polaroid 600 box type cameras – Polaroid SLR 680, Polaroid amigo 620 etc.
  4. Polaroid SX-70 cameras.
  5. Etc

Polaroid produces 4 instant film formats – i-type, 600 pack film, SX-70, 8×10 large format. Polaroid films need to be taken care of – proper storage, checking the expiration dates (within 12 months of production), and maintenance of camera roller, exposure composition, temperature, and recycling of your film cartridges.  

What is Instant Camera?

The instant camera produces the picture, which is chemically imprinted on a film that self-develops itself in a few seconds after clicking a picture. Instant cameras were pioneered by the Polaroid Corporation, and then there were several other manufactures of cameras and films. There are both Polaroid and non-Polaroid instant cameras. They vary based on the type of print and body of the model.

Edwin Land, an American scientist, invented the first commercial Polaroid instant camera in 1948. It was known as the model 95 land camera. But the earliest instant camera was invented by Samuel Shalafrock in 1923; it consisted of a portable wet darkroom in a single compartment and a camera.

There are different kinds of films available:

  1. Roll film – they used to come in two rolls (positive and negative) and used to come in three sizes (40, 30, 20 series )
  2. Pack films – in the 100 series pack film, at the end of the developing process, the photographer had to peel apart the positive from the negative to get the final result.
  3. Integral film – SX-70 film, where all the components of the film are contained.
  4. Spectra (rectangular format), I-zone film (very small, sticker format), captive (smaller 500 series film in rectangular format), Fuji Instax mini, Polaroid, etc.

Different kinds of instant cameras or brands –

  1. Lomography
  2. Mint camera
  3. Fujifilm
  4. Kodak (non-compatible with Polaroid’s)
  5. Polaroid
  6. Minolta
  7. Keystone
  8. etc

Main Differences Between Polaroid and Instant Camera

  1. Polaroid is a model/type of instant camera, whereas an instant camera produces a picture that is chemically imprinted on a film that self-develops itself a few seconds after clicking the picture.
  2. The first commercial instant camera by Polaroid Corporation was a model 95, the land camera invented by a scientist Edwin Land in America, whereas the very first instant camera or the idea of it dates back to 1923; it was invented by Samuel Shalafrock.
  3. As the name suggests, all the Polaroid cameras use films, whereas instant cameras are both Polaroid and non-Polaroid cameras ( not compatible with Polaroid).
  4. Polaroid cameras include Polaroid now, one step +1, Polaroid SX-70, 600 box types, etc., whereas instant cameras have different types and models (companies) like Fujifilm Instax mini, lomo instant, Kodak even includes Polaroid, etc.
  5. Polaroid produces their own kind of films – i-type, 600 pack, SX-70, etc., whereas instant cameras use various kinds of films and formats – all kinds of roll films, integral films, Instax, i-zone, etc.
Difference Between Polaroid and Instant Camera


Instant cameras were very famous earlier and have come back in trend; there is a craze, especially amongst teenagers. They all have different features, films, etc. understanding how each of them works is important if you do not want to spoil and waste your film.

The cameras have been changing and evolving for many years. 

There is a wide variety of instant cameras available in the market for the buyer to choose for. They are easy to use (if you understood the film well), portable, and very trendy design. The advancement in this sector will continue and keep astonishing us.


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6tCg3VZeP5wC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=polaroid+&ots=Ptc9vsJjmh&sig=GZ9zot4OZvKy1XmMcnQoIpJlh9M
  2. https://journals.riverpublishers.com/index.php/JMM/article/view/4573

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