Polaroid vs Instant Camera: Difference and Comparison

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 and store and cherish them forever.

Different types of cameras are available, like instant, digital, etc., and each type has sub-types. Each type of camera that is used has its pros and cons. Different models come with additional features.

Key Takeaways

  1. Polaroid is an instant camera that produces self-developing prints, while instant cameras can produce prints in various sizes and formats.
  2. Polaroid cameras use a specific type of film, while instant cameras can use different film types or printing technology.
  3. Polaroid cameras were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, while instant cameras have regained popularity recently.

Polaroid vs. Instant Camera

A Polaroid camera is a type of instant camera that uses self-developing film to produce a physical print of the photo you’ve just taken. The camera works by exposing a sheet of film to light. An instant camera is a type of camera that uses digital technology to capture and print photos immediately. With an instant camera, you can take a photo and then print it out on the spot.

Polaroid vs Instant Camera

The 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.

Instant cameras produce a picture chemically imprinted on a film that can self-develop a few seconds after taking the picture.

Comparison Table

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, designed by Samuel Shalafrock.
ModelsOne step +1, step 2, polaroids, 600 box types, etc.All Models of Fujifilm, lomo instant, Kodak, 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 camera that use self-developing films that create chemically developed prints after a few seconds of taking the picture. The Polaroid Corporation first pioneered easy-to-use instant cameras and films.

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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.

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 films need to be taken care of – proper storage, checking expiration dates (within 12 months of production), maintenance of the camera roller, exposure composition, temperature, and recycling of your film cartridges.  


What is Instant Camera?

The instant camera produces a picture chemically imprinted on a film that self-develops itself in a few seconds after clicking an image. The Polaroid Corporation pioneered instant cameras, and then there were several other manufacturers of cameras and films.

Edwin Land, an American scientist, invented the first commercial Polaroid instant camera in 1948. It was known as the model 95 land 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, the photographer had to peel apart the positive from the negative at the end of the developing process 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 (minimal, sticker format), captive (smaller 500 series film in rectangular format), Fuji Instax mini, Polaroid, etc.
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Different kinds of instant cameras or brands –

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

Main Differences Between Polaroid and Instant Camera

  1. Polaroid cameras include Polaroid now, one step +1, Polaroid SX-70, 600 box types, etc. In contrast, instant cameras have different types and models (companies) like Fujifilm Instax mini, lomo instant, Kodak even includes Polaroid, etc.
  2. Polaroid produces their kind of films – i-type, 600 pack, SX-70, etc., whereas instant cameras use various kinds of movies and formats – all kinds of roll films, integral films, Instax, i-zone, etc.
Difference Between Polaroid and Instant Camera
  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

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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